Since the tsunami last year and the resulting Fukushima nuclear plant disaster in Japan, grid instability has been a major issue while renewable energy installations have grown rapidly. In an effort to tie together both a need for more residential-side energy generation and smooth out grid stability, Kyocera has introduced a new home energy management system that integrates solar panels for power generation and a lithium-ion battery for power storage, all overseen and regulated with its energy software.
Hoping to reduce its dependence on nuclear power, the Japanese government has encouraged solar power installations by establishing feed-in tariffs and allowing home owners to sell back their surplus power to the grid. These efforts have worked and residential solar installations have taken off. Typically, these solar power systems will shut down during blackouts to protect utility workers fixing infrastructure, but with this new system from Kyocera, Japanese homes can continue generating and storing power, operating off-grid until problems are fixed.
Kyocera's system uses its own rooftop solar panels, energy management software, power inverter and a lithium-ion storage unit from Nichicon with a capacity of 7.1 kWh. In the event of a natural disaster or black-out, the system automatically switches over to run independently of the grid, but it also helps to regulate energy fluctuations during day-to-day life like traditional home energy management systems. Users can choose between modes that prioritize energy bill savings or a guaranteed electricity supply and the system uses consumption patterns to optimize the energy efficiency of the home.
The system will go on sale in Japan this summer.