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Author Dr. Yuan Fang-wei
Updated April 22, 2022

Statistically, is energy storage dangerous?

On March 3, 2022, explosion of a residential energy storage facility drew much attention in Southern Germany, for residential ESS carries much greater risks to people than outdoor ESS. According to statistics compiled by InfoLink, there have been at least 12 ESS fire accidents since 2021, among which three of them involve residential ESS in Europe. The incidence is low, comparing with 1.5 million of installed residential storage facilities in 2021. Therefore, residential energy storage is fairly safe.

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Energy storage safety in Germany

Electrochemical ESS has potential risks, either FTM or BTM. Minimizing the occurrence of accidents and casualties is the ultimate goal of ESS development, which must be achieved with strict safety standards. In Germany, the installation of residential ESS requires not only building permits, but also conformity to ESS standards. Data provided by TÜV show Europe / Germany has complete testing standards for cell, PCS, system, grid connection, and safety. Some commonly seen standards include IEC 62933, IEC 62619, etc.

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Source: TÜVRheinland
 

Residential ESS in Germany

Electricity prices in Germany has been rising for more than a decade. In the second half of 2021, households paid EUR 0.31/kWh on average, the most expensive among G20 countries. High electricity prices make residential energy storage economical. Meanwhile, homes equipped with PV panels brace for ESS, with over 70% of residential solar being integrated with ESS. As the government pushing actively, Germany saw its the BTM-ESS market grow by 56.9% of compound growth rate during 2015 and 2020, accumulating 2.3 GWh of residential ESS capacity in 2020, which translates to 8.5 kWh of average installed capacity. The number of installations increased from 100,000 in 2020 to 145,000 in 2021, meaning 40,000 households have installed ESS.

Despite impacts the pandemic and raw material price hikes have on the FTM ESS market and C&I sectors, residential ESS still see fast upward momentum. This year, InfoLink expects Germany to see 170,000 of ESS installations and nearly 75% of residential solar systems integrating with ESS. 
 

Developments and accidents co-exist

As energy storage rapidly develops, and numbers of projects and users increase, the occurrence of accidents would be more frequent. No one can ensure an energy storage facility never explodes. But the risk shall not be an impediment, but rather, a motivation for the industry to advance further. By learning from previous accidents and mistakes, beefing up controls and regulations, providing proper warranty and insurance, we can reduce incidents, casualties, and economic losses. Just like dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic, we cannot stop it, but we can contain the damage it has and strive for greater progresses and breakthroughs.
 

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Conclusion

No one is happy to see ESS fire accidents. Therefore, the industry-university-institute alliance has been dedicating themselves to the ESS market, stepping up scrutiny and establishing standards.

The European Union Centre in Taiwan, the ECCT LCI, and TÜV Rheinland will co-host the 2022 Energy Storage Forum on May 19 in Taipei. Co-organized by InfoLink, the forum provides in-depth analysis on market trends, regulations, and applied scenarios of the energy storage industry.

For more about ESS development around the world, check out our energy storage market reports.