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Switchgear Batteries

The battery backup system primarily powers switchgear operation and control. Choosing the correct battery is critical to the safe and reliable operation of your substation.

The importance of high-quality batteries in switchgear

The battery backup system primarily powers switchgear operation and control. The protection will not operate if this battery fails, potentially leading to serious results. In large systems, the batteries are often redundant; for smaller systems such as heavy industry, hospitals, and large buildings, they are most often single battery strings, making them even more critical for safe operation. Therefore, choosing a high-quality battery is not just important; it’s a matter of safety. Battery technology options such as nickel-cadmium (NiCd),  flooded lead-acid (LA), valve-regulated GEL (VRLA GEL), and valve-regulated lead-acid absorbed glass mat (VRLA AGM) are among the best choices for ensuring the safety of your switchgear system. Each type of battery has its benefits and drawbacks depending on the type of switchgear system.

Choosing the right battery technology for switchgear

NiCd (Nickel-Cadmium)

Nickel-cadmium batteries usually consist of steel pocket plates containing the active materials cadmium and nickel in a strong potassium hydroxide solution, which helps protect the plates from corrosion. They are known and trusted for their strength, durability, and reliability. While they are relatively expensive and require some maintenance, low-maintenance versions are available, further enhancing their reliability.

Saft Uptimax

Saft Block Battery

LA (Flooded Lead-Acid)

Flooded lead-acid batteries comprise lead plates pasted with lead oxide and sponge lead as the active materials in a strong sulphuric acid solution. They are a durable option and less expensive than Nickel-Cadmium batteries, but they require maintenance, and corrosion can be an issue.

GNB Classic OPZS

VRLA-GEL (Valve-Regulated GEL)

VRLA-GEL batteries use a silica gelling agent to thicken the acid solution and a one-way valve to let out gas pressure and prevent the entry of the outside atmosphere (i.e., keeping oxygen molecules out of the battery, not depolarizing the negative plates). VRLA-GEL batteries can be durable, even superior to standard lead-acid batteries, with a minimal price premium and requiring minimal maintenance.

Sonnenschein A600

VRLA-AGM (Valve Regulated Lead-Acid Absorbed Glass Mat)

VRLA AGM batteries are similar in design to VRLA-GEL batteries but have minimal acid absorbed into a glass mat separator between the plates. While it may incorporate special separators and alloys, these batteries are likely the most at risk for various failure modes and will require extra monitoring and checking.

Marathon L and XL

Absolyte GP

Here at Advanced Battery Systems, we can provide the types of batteries that best suit your application. Battery type should be chosen based on reliability but also considering client needs, such as low-maintenance types if maintenance can be an issue.

Industry-specific switchgear battery solutions and expertise

We specialize in providing dependable batteries for essential switchgear across industries, including wind, solar, hydro, large industrial buildings, oil and gas, and more.

Whatever your sector, our specialists will collaborate to deliver the best battery solution for your project and employ IEEE sizing for accurate load profile assessment.

Power Generation Facilities

Wind Farms, Solar Farms, Hydro

Power Generation facilities employ large systems that involve a high-voltage transformer, which feeds through high-voltage circuit breakers and disconnect switches to connect to high-voltage power transmission lines.

Advanced Battery Systems offers a complete portfolio of batteries suited for the power generation industry, from switchgear to main substations and generation sites. Our 12, 15, and 20-22 year design life batteries are installed in more than 60 solar and wind farms across North America to provide reliable grid connections. Our batteries are designed for high reliability and are suitable for providing backup power to critical emergency lube oil pumps for gas turbine generation sites and their associated switchgear equipment.

Our products include proven, tried-and-true flooded lead-acid batteries for large-scale installations in Hydro generation facilities ranging from 50Ah to 10,000Ah. We also provide custom and specialized solutions for hydro applications, such as high seismic applications in dams, including the latest IEEE 693 rack design.

Remember, it is essential to regularly test batteries by doing a discharge test according to IEEE standards. Green power generators will also know that they have to follow NERC testing standards if they want to connect to the grid, and ABS ensures that our batteries can comply with all your needs.


Hospitals, Universities, Penitentiaries

For a hospital, the best option is typically a high-quality VRLA-GEL battery, as maintenance personnel with significant battery knowledge will not likely be available at the facility. It would be catastrophic for a hospital to be left with no power because of a battery failure.

Switchgear Installation

Utility Providers

Telecom, Electrical, Water

Utility providers aim to maximize the electrical grid’s efficiency and sustainability while ensuring reliable customer service. Specifying the correct backup battery minimizes downtime during power disturbances or outages. 


In the telecom industry, the typical battery used would have a 5 to 15-year design life, and the batteries are installed in thousands of locations, some being very remote and difficult to access. We have previously switched our clients to advanced technology 15-year design batteries for this application.  If they were using only a 5-year design life battery, it would have to be changed 3x during the same period as a 15-year design life battery, which means 3x the labour cost of going to the site and installation and 3x during the life where the battery is approaching end-of-life with risk of failure.  So we have proven, with thousands of sites, significant cost savings to the clients, much longer life and more reliable battery, and most importantly to any telecom client, improved reliability in the overall telecommunications system.


OEMs, Large Manufacturing Facilities

Maintenance personnel at large manufacturing facilities must maintain a well-functioning electrical system to minimize system outages and keep production at full capacity. Switchgear is a crucial component for controlling, protecting, and isolating electrical equipment and circuits. Specifying the right battery backup for your unique system can help minimize maintenance and upkeep while improving system operation, reliability, and safety.

Consulting engineers play a critical role in choosing suitable switchgear batteries. They determine the best type for a given project based on common sense and the client’s needs. They also specify a plan for inspecting and testing the batteries and ensuring the plan is implemented.

Advanced Battery Systems can work alongside engineers designing the system, and the electricians installing the switchgear. Our specialists will collaborate to deliver the best battery solution for your project.

Switchgear battery solutions from Advanced Battery Systems

Do you need help navigating the seas of battery information flooding the market? Turn to the experts at Advanced Battery Systems. With 35 years of experience, we’ve meticulously scoured the global battery landscape to curate a portfolio of the most dependable options.

Our selection continually adapts to industry advancement, ensuring we offer only the finest products after rigorous testing. When you partner with ABS, rest assured that you’re investing in premium, trustworthy batteries.

Choosing the right switchgear batteries

Advanced Battery System is proud to be featured in the March/April 2024 issue of Canadian Consulting Engineer. Our director of engineering and technical sales, Dan Czosnek, details how to choose the right switchgear batteries.

The ABS Advantage

Global Battery Market Expertise

We meticulously search the global battery market to identify and test the latest and greatest technologies, so you don’t have to. Our mission is to bring you the best cleaning machine batteries.

Unbiased Technical Guidance

ABS offers honest and transparent technical advice and testing of your battery fleet, completely free of charge. We are here to only sell you products that ensure success with your cleaning machines.

Rigorous Quality Assurance

We go the extra mile by testing 100% of our incoming shipments to guarantee that manufacturer claims are not just words but proven facts. We even monitor our stock by testing and re-charging our batteries as they age to avoid deterioration. Your peace of mind is our priority.

Unmatched Expertise

We take pride in having the highest percentage of technical battery experts employed in the industry. When you work with ABS, you’re partnering with true professionals who understand your challenges inside and out.