Canadian Manufacturing

An Essential Guide to Safety Evaluation for Grid-Connected Energy Storage in North America

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—Sponsored article by CSA Group

The arrival of Energy Storage Systems (ESS) is helping solve a long-standing problem in the power sector—decoupling generation from consumption of electricity. System operators need the flexibility to store energy and dispatch it when required, and ESS can enable that. ESS also helps communities reap the benefits of clean power and make the grid more resilient by providing reliable back-up power during outages. These advantages are why ESS are among the fastest growing electrical power system products, but as a relatively new technology, it is critical that steps be taken to ensure safety is embedded into the design, testing, installation, commissioning, operation, maintenance, and decommissioning of these systems.



While battery-based ESS is a proven and attractive technology, it can present safety hazards by itself or in association with other complex electrical systems. These include fire, explosion, leakage of electrolytes, venting of combustible and toxic gasses, burns from excessive temperature, as well as the potential for electrical shock and arc flash. Pressure, noise, moving parts, and sharp edges can pose mechanical risks. Toxic or hazardous substances are sources of risks related to chemical exposure, and unsafe chemical concentrations can present physical injury, explosion, and fire hazards.

A thorough understanding of ESS safety requirements and proper application is essential to help ensure risks are effectively identified and addressed to meet safety requirements.



All participants in ESS projects are responsible for safety, and playing a role in each of the four steps of ESS evaluation and testing during the inspection or certification process to help ensure risks are effectively considered. This process begins in the design phase and continues right through manufacturing, installation, and operation & maintenance.

  1. Identify and understand potential hazards and all applicable safety standards, codes, and other requirements in the initial planning stage and develop a formal safety evaluation plan.
  2. Conduct an in-depth review of the formal system design to establish specifications for qualifying system components and proper installation practices.
  3. Test and certify batteries, inverters, or other system components individually to confirm they meet applicable product safety requirements, before they are used in the final system.
  4. Enlist the help of a qualified testing organization to conduct a field evaluation at the installation site to confirm that the final system conforms to the applicable safety requirements. A review of operational instructions, inspection labeling, test reports, and other documentation is also performed at this stage to support AHJs during regulatory approval.



To effectively manage safety risks associated with battery-based ESS projects requires an understanding of the following key standards in addition to various national, state, and local installation codes:

  • UL 9540 Standard for Energy Storage Systems and Equipment—This bi-national standard applies to all types of ESS. It identifies functional safety requirements, measures for evaluating system design and performance, and how the system interfaces with infrastructure.
  • IEEE 1547 Series and CA Rule 21/HI Rule 14/UL 1741 SA—These standards for grid interconnection focus on construction, safety, grid protection, and power quality requirements.
  • UL 1973 Standard for Batteries for Use in Light Electrical Rail Applications and Stationary Applications—This standard outlines specific safety, construction, and testing criteria for cells, modules, and battery systems used in stationary applications.
  • C22.2 107.1 Power Conversion Equipment and UL 1741 Standard for Inverters, Converters, Controllers and Interconnection System Equipment—These standards outline the safety requirements for power conversion equipment used with distributed energy resources.



CSA Group has extensive technical expertise in ESS evaluation and can help you identify, understand, and properly apply the applicable standards and codes to ensure product conformity. We are a world leader in testing & certification of primary and secondary batteries, as well as power conversion devices and other electrical system components.

Contact CSA Group to learn how we can support your ESS project.

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