Energy Storage Systems
Energy storage systems (ESS) are growing in popularity and present numerous benefits to consumers, including resilience in the face of extreme weather or other causes of power outages. ESS can also help the electric grid accommodate growing amounts of renewable energy, like solar and wind, by storing the energy from these variable sources for use when it is most needed.
This site compiles numerous resources to assist diverse stakeholders in working more effectively with energy storage and addressing code and technical challenges to ESS deployment. Read on for an overview of the energy storage resources available.
SEAC has several working groups actively developing solutions to various barriers to the development and use of energy storage projects:
Energy Storage Codes and Standards
The Storage Snapshot Working Group addresses the fact that authorities having jurisdiction (AHJs), such as electrical inspectors and code officials, as well as contractors and installers, often lack familiarity with ESS requirements in codes and standards. This group is developing resources like fact sheets and white papers to address common misunderstandings or gaps in knowledge related to ESS issues that are already addressed by current or forthcoming codes and standards.
Energy Storage Fire Detection Requirements
The Storage Fire Detection Working Group is addressing the fact that new codes require an interconnected heat detector in residential garages with ESS. This was a code language error. There is confusion on when a listed solution might be available, the requirements for installation, and which standards apply.
The group recently proposed to update the International Fire Code to update the reference to “heat detector” to “heat alarm.” Read its recommendation here:
- Recommendations to Clarify Heat Detector Requirements in the International Fire Code – SEAC recommendation to the International Code Council (ICC) to improve the clarity of code requirements in the 2021 International Fire Code for heat detectors in garages with energy storage systems (ESS).
AHJs and installers are interpreting some ESS standards differently. The ESS Standards Working Group is investigating ESS Standards that are resulting in different interpretations and making recommendations on how to address the issues.
- Comments on Proposals to UL 1973, Standard for Batteries for Use in Stationary, Vehicle Auxiliary Power and Light Electric Rail Applications – These comments respond to proposals to UL 1973, Standard for Batteries for Use in Stationary, Vehicle Auxiliary Power and Light Electric Rail Applications.
ESS Vehicle Impact Protection
The Vehicle Impact Protection Working Group is developing recommendations to clarify the requirements for protection of energy storage systems from vehicle impact in residential garages. Related resources include:
- Vehicle Impact Recommendation for the 2021 International Fire Code – This recommendation to the International Code Council (ICC) seeks to clarify the requirements for protection of storage systems from vehicle impact in residential garages in the 2021 International Fire Code.
Providing Clarity in the National Electrical Code
Additionally, the National Electrical Code (NEC) Working Group is contributing to revisions to the National Electrical Code with a focus on sustainable energy issues. Some of these revisions may relate to energy storage systems. Related resources include:
- Comment on National Electrical Code Proposal for Article 231 – This comment responds to a proposal to the National Electrical Code, Article 231.
- Comment on National Electrical Code Proposal for Section 705.1 – This comment responds to a proposal to revise the National Electrical Code, Section 705.1.
- Comment on National Electrical Code Proposal for Section 705.20 – This comment responds to a proposal to the National Electrical Code, Section 705.20.
Simplified Permit Guidelines for Residential Solar and Storage
SEAC has approved the latest edition of the National Simplified Residential PV and Energy Storage Permit Guidelines, revised in September 2021. These state-of-the-art guidelines are intended to help local governments develop an efficient and streamlined permit process for typical solar PV and storage projects. They will allow communities to reduce unnecessary delays and cost while ensuring compliance with nationally recognized safety standards.
The guidelines were published by SolSmart, a national program led by IREC that helps local governments make it faster, easier, and more affordable to solar. SolSmart provides no-cost technical assistance to help municipalities and counties address permitting, planning and zoning, and other challenges that affect solar energy development.