The best location to install a solar battery is inside your garage. Garages are well-insulated from factors such as heat, moisture and dust. Importantly, unlike most other residential areas, they have the space to comply with safety regulations.
The best solar battery location for commercial properties is a room with similar conditions to a garage. When possible, solar batteries should be installed in close proximity to other solar system equipment to minimise electricity losses and maximise efficiency.
Where should solar batteries be stored?
Solar batteries should be stored somewhere safe for the battery and residents. This may be outdoors or indoors, depending on the battery and options you have available. The best guidelines to use for battery storage are the manufacturer’s instructions, the Clean Energy Council regulations, and the battery Ingress Protection (IP) ratings.
Because solar batteries differ in technological makeup and characteristics, battery manufacturers test models to uncover the ideal conditions for safe and effective function. This allows each battery to come with instructions outlining the recommended installation locations.
Australian Standards for the installation of battery systems
The most recent version of the Australian Standards is the AS 5139:2019. These outline areas inside and outside of the house where batteries should not be installed.
- Batteries shouldn't be installed where you can expect damage from external influences.
- Hazardous areas as defined by the AS 3000 shouldn’t be used for battery installation.
- Batteries shouldn't be installed within 600mm horizontally or 900mm below a window or vent leading to a habitable room.
- Passageways, walkway exits or evacuation routes should not contain a battery.
- Batteries should not be installed below entrance or exit walkways, staircases, escape routes or passageways internal or external to a building.
- Roofs, ceiling spaces and wall cavities should not contain a solar battery.
- Locations that prohibit the installation of switchboards or generation systems should not be used for battery installation.
- Electrical appliances may not be closer than 600mm horizontally or 900mm above the solar battery.
- Non-combustible barriers should be installed between solar batteries and any walls within 300mm that have habitable rooms on the other side.
- Manufacturers prohibit battery installation in specific locations. (These are specific to the manufacturer so make sure you’re aware of any additional restrictions.)
Ingress Protection (IP) ratings
Ingress Protection (IP) ratings gauge a battery’s resistance to liquids and solids. IP ratings range from 0 (virtually no protection) to 6 (strong protection). There are separate ratings for liquids and solids. A battery with low IP ratings in one or both categories should be stored somewhere without exposure to these risks.
Do solar batteries need ventilation?
Yes, solar batteries need ventilation for optimal function. Different types of solar batteries have differing ventilation requirements. For example, flooded solar batteries (a type of lead-acid battery) need adequate ventilation because they produce potentially hazardous gases towards the end of their lifespan. Lithium-ion batteries don’t emit gases; however, they can experience temperature increases. Ventilation provides lithium-ion batteries with additional cooling to mitigate the risks of overheating.
Should you install your solar battery on the wall or the floor?
Solar batteries can be installed as wall-mounted or floor-standing. Performance isn’t impacted by which of these installation types you choose, but wall-mounting a battery is popular in flood-prone areas (for obvious reasons). Installation of heavier batteries tends to be at ground level.
What is the ideal distance between a solar panel and a battery?
The distance between your solar panels and the battery should be as short as possible. Energy losses occur as electricity travels along the system’s wires. This is primarily due to heat dissipation and the wires’ electrical resistance. Therefore, the longer the electricity needs to travel from your panels to your battery, the more electricity is lost. Minor differences in efficiency can accumulate into noticeable savings for a homeowner.
Where is the best place for an inverter and battery?
The best place for a battery in relation to an inverter depends on the type of coupling your solar system uses. Coupling refers to how your solar panels are linked to the rest of the solar system. For example, in DC coupling, a single inverter manages the power from solar panels and the battery. This means the battery should be as close to the inverter as possible. For AC coupling, the panels and batteries have separate inverters: the battery inverter needs to be close to the battery, whereas the solar inverter does not.
You can learn more by reading our article on solar inverters and battery storage.
Can a solar battery be installed inside your home?
Solar batteries can be installed indoors but must comply with the appropriate installation guidelines. As mentioned, installation should follow the Clean Energy Council’s AS5139:2019.
Important things to consider when installing a solar battery indoors are avoiding frequently habited rooms and passageways, and exits. This minimises any risks for residents. Rooms with quality airflow, climate control, and temperature stability are the best. There are advantages to installing a solar battery indoors – the increased protection from heat, dust, debris, and moisture, as well as an overall decrease in risk of damage.
The locations where a pre-assembled integrated battery energy storage system (BESS) should not be installed are:
- Ceiling spaces
- Wall cavities
- Roofs that aren’t specifically deemed suitable
- Under stairways or access walkways
In areas of domestic or residential electrical installation, pre-assembled, integrated BESS shall not be installed in habitable rooms. For residential electrical installation, BESS should not be installed in habitable rooms, which, as defined by the AS 5139:2019, include but are not limited to:
- Living rooms
- Entertainment rooms
Suitable areas to install a BESS may include:
- Storage rooms
- Dedicated battery system rooms
Installing solar batteries outside
Where or if to install your solar battery external to your home depends on the particular battery and environmental conditions. The benefits of external storage are increased ventilation and space. The risk is that the battery is exposed to the climate.
Like most technology, a solar battery’s internal temperature rises when operating. Therefore, long periods of work, coupled with high climate temperatures, can result in a battery overheating.
Overheating damages and shortens the lifespan of solar batteries. To lower the risk of overheating, install your battery out of direct sunlight, such as under a veranda. This is primarily a concern for those who live in extremely hot climates.
Moisture harms the internal structure of solar batteries. It can come from rainfall and high humidity levels in the surrounding air. Batteries with low IP ratings for liquids should be installed indoors to avoid damage from moisture.
Dust and debris
Dust and debris cause damage to a battery’s cells, making them less efficient and increasing the risk of short-circuiting or overheating. Therefore, batteries with low IP ratings for solids should be installed inside, especially in dusty environments.
Batteries shouldn’t be placed directly on combustible material. For example, wood is a combustible material present in home builds. Accordingly, a solar battery should not be installed directly on wood. On the contrary, bricks are not flammable so a solar battery can be installed directly onto a brick wall.
Where is the best place to install a residential solar battery?
The best place to install a residential solar battery is typically the garage. Garages are non-habitable rooms, which minimises risks for residents and batteries alike. Typically, they have adequate temperature regulation and suitable space. However, owners need to mitigate any risks of cars hitting the battery. Many homeowners install bollards in front of their batteries for this purpose.
Where is the best place to install a commercial solar battery?
The best place to install a commercial solar battery varies as commercial buildings differ in layout and structure. In addition, commercial solar systems are typically larger than residential systems, meaning more space is required for multiple batteries. However, like residential installation, installing your battery in a spacious, non-habitable room with heat insulation is best.
Solar batteries can help small and big businesses save money on their electrical bills long-term, not to mention the peace of mind of continuing to run your business through rolling blackouts.
Not sure how much a solar battery could save you? Have a look at our Solar Savings Calculator to get a better idea. Alternatively, you can chat with one of the switched-on Plico team members or fill out the form below.