Batteries should not be fitted in lofts or escape routes

In his latest article, Mark Allison reflects on this year’s InstallerSHOW, and looks at some changes in the electrical industry including the new PAS 63100.

Before I get into changes we have seen in the electrical industry this last three months or so – in particular related to the solar and battery storage sector – I simply cannot ignore the epic event that was InstallerSHOW 2024! I have visited countless events over the years and this one did not disappoint. Packed full of visitors and exhibitors, it was brilliant.

Full credit to the event team for organising such a huge show but with real attention to detail on the smaller things. I also have to send a personal thanks for the space provided for the Safe Isolation stand and meeting space for the monthly meeting. That kindness will never be forgotten.

It was great to see solar and renewables featuring both in terms of brands and CPD with good attendance from electricians. Personally, I had a great time in the InstallerTRADES area, demonstrating tools, workwear and getting to spend time on the Safe Isolation stand.

Back to the subject matter for this month’s article and it revolves around two recent changes or incoming ones to regulations and standards. The latter is the new PAS 63100 which offers some clear industry best practice on battery storage systems in residential homes. It has some key qualifying criteria in terms of property size and the headline content is that batteries should not be fitted in lofts/escape routes.

However, we also need to keep batteries, when possible, in outdoor locations. With some key requirements to be at least 1m from any window or doorway in those outdoor areas. Something that can present a challenge on more than a few homes of the UK! As such indoor areas can still be used but they should not be in escape routes, lofts, sleeping areas and such. Extra consideration should also be given to fire detection when indoor areas are utilised even in locations outside areas of the normal dwelling such as garages/stores. Sam and I went into this on the renewables podcast recently here:

On top of that we also have an amendment to the wiring regulations going through draft for public comment ready to be released. With a short one-month window to offer comment we are now awaiting the final version prerelease soon.

The main content within the amendment is around bidirectional power flow in RCDs and over current protective devices. Some uni directional devices can be damaged when power flow goes in the opposite direction to normal. Such as when solar PV is generating or battery storage systems discharging. The changes centre of clear instruction to use bidirectional devices in those circumstances and how the products should be marked/identified. I have made reference to this issue since we entered the solar sector. It is the reason we use Proteus Switchgear as those products have had this feature for years. Unlike many other brands now reacting to the changes out in industry.

It should be noted the amendment does not require a new book or training, it will be issued as a free download to add into the existing brown book.

We are now in the thick of peak solar installs over the summer, we have some exciting to projects to share in coming articles. From 3 phase large scale battery storage systems to micro inverters and ground mount arrays!

Thanks for reading and to all those who came to say hello during InstallerSHOW, it was great to meet you.

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