Firms to Test Centralized Control of Solar Generation, Batteries

2013/12/19 09:34
Shinichi Kato, Nikkei BP CleanTech Institute
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Five companies announced Dec 17, 2013, that they will start a field test of centralized control of solar power generation and storage batteries for the first time in Japan in the winter of 2013.

They are Seven Eleven Japan Co Ltd, Mitsui & Co Plant Systems Ltd, Mitsui & Co Ltd, Kyocera Corp and Kyocera Communication Systems (KCCS) Co Ltd. They will install solar power generation facilities and storage batteries at about 50 retail stores including Seven-Eleven stores and stores run by Mitsui's business partners in the service area of Tokyo Electric Power Company Inc (TEPCO).

They plan not only to level power consumption at each store but to reduce the power consumptions of the stores across the area by transmitting power from the storage battery of each store to the store when the power supply-demand balance is tight.

The field test will be conducted because Mitsui & Co Plant Systems' "Field Test With Introduction of Centralized Control System for Information on Solar Power Generation and Storage Batteries for Retail Stores Especially Convenience Stores" was selected for Japan's Ministry of the Environment's "Green Community Promotion Field Test Project by Using Waste Heat, etc for Fiscal 2013 (Promotion of Centralized Control of Renewable Energies and Storage Batteries)." The other four companies participate in the project as partners. The project is scheduled to be completed in March 2016 (three years).

With the power generation facilities, power consumption during daylight hours is leveled to reduce electricity cost. Solar electricity that has not been used for the store is stored in the rechargeable battery. And it is used for the store especially during a period when a large amount of power is consumed in summer and hours when the demand for electricity provided by the power company peaks. Through those measures, the companies aim to loosen electricity supply-demand balance for the power company.

In addition, the companies plan to verify the effects of supplying electricity from the storage battery to the refrigerators and freezers in the store at the time of disaster in the aim of enhancing the value of the retail stores as local infrastructures.

Specifically, they aim to realize (1) 10% or higher peak cut (the reduction of electricity demand at the time when the supply-demand balance is tight), (2) higher than 10% peak shift (shifting load from the time of tight supply-demand balance to the time of loose supply-demand balance and (3) the ability to supply electricity to refrigerators and freezers in convenience stores for about six hours at the time of disaster and longer hours when solar power generation is available).

Mitsui & Co Plant Systems manages the entire project and provides solar power generation facilities and rechargeable battery-related services to the retail stores. Mitsui will establish a business model by combining renewable energies and storage batteries and examine the feasibility of the business on the assumption that it is run on a larger scale.

Kyocera and KCCS design and supply solar power generation systems and storage batteries, design a system to be used at the time of disaster, establish a centralized data management system, operate the systems and analyze data. Seven Eleven Japan will provide stores to be tested and data on each store's power consumption.