The "Smart Energy System" is a SANYO energy management system that includes clean, renewable energy generation, energy storage using lithium-ion batteries, smart & energy efficient appliances, cooling systems, and an energy management system that uses the energy generated and stored efficiently.

Sanyo Smart Energy System

Arturo Zarate | Solar & Smart Energy Division, SANYO North America Corporation

1. What exactly is a "Smart Energy System"?

The "Smart Energy System" is a SANYO energy management system that includes clean, renewable energy generation, energy storage using lithium-ion batteries, smart & energy efficient appliances, cooling systems, and an energy management system that uses the energy generated and stored efficiently.

2. Why is this type of solution needed now?

With power demand expected to increase dramatically in the near and long term, energy management combined with so-called "Smart Grids" will become increasingly important. The traditional power grid is not as efficient as it could be, especially given the knowledge of power management that exists in the world today. Smart Grids are a way to make more power generation and distribution local to where the power is used. Additionally, with peak demand hour schemes emerging to help handle peak demand, an energy management system combining batteries may help to offset some of the peak hour usage, reducing the burden on utilities while saving overall costs in a number of ways.

3. What are the applications of the system?

The system has a wide range of applications, from utility-scale use of solar panels for alternative energy generation and batteries for ancillary purposes, to commercial factories and office spaces where a lot of energy is needed and back-up power is necessary, to homes.

4. What is the primary market for the system and who will benefit the most from its implementation?

The primary markets from SANYO's perspective are the residential, commercial, telecom, enterprise (Green Data Center), and utility markets. This is because the utilities are really in the best position to benefit from batteries being installed to help offset power needs at times and to make renewable energy more fully integrated into the power grid (store power at night when windmills are collecting power and demand is low to offset peak demand during the day, etc.).

5. Are there any new technologies used in the system or is it more of a strategic combination of existing technologies?

The system generally uses existing technologies, but it does offer some new ways to manage power through energy management and energy controlling components. Also, the combination of multiple lithium-ion battery modules to act as a single battery is not a new concept but it is a new product made possible through these advanced energy management components.

6. How important is the storage aspect of the system and why?

Storage offers a way to stabilize power and provide back-up power in the case of emergencies.

Since the output of a solar or wind farm depends on the sun or wind, the power they produce is intermittent. That causes problems for the grid operators on a number of levels. Wind farms produce most of their power at night, but that's when demand for power is lowest. Energy from solar farms using photovoltaics can drop off substantially when the sun disappears behind clouds. Energy storage is one of the ways that utilities and grid operators can address this intermittency. By having some extra electricity on hand, they can smooth out the bumps caused by these renewables.In addition, energy storage has the ability to provide fast-acting regulation ancillary services (e.g. frequency regulation, demand response, etc.) that enhance grid reliability.

7. Is the system scalable from utility scale to commercial scale to residential scale?

Yes, but not cost effective yet for residential scale. Cost-effectiveness will come as the scale of battery and component production goes up.

8. When will the system be available for purchase?

Currently there is no specific date set for purchase, although SANYO is working with a number of institutions to bring this to market as soon as possible.

9. What are the economic justifications for installing a Smart Energy System?

Smart Energy Systems empower consumers by providing them with the information they need to realize benefits through making more informed choices, such as changing energy consumption patterns and reducing energy consumption. In addition, Smart Energy Systems can be an energy source (i.e. solar, wind, and fuel cell), and serve as emergency power (i.e. energy storage).

10. In the upcoming merger with Panasonic, what can we expect to see with these Smart Energy Systems?

It is too early to tell what changes will be made, but we feel confident that being a part of Panasonic will allow us greater resources to develop this business, and since both of us are leaders in batteries, we feel that there will be many opportunities to enhance this business.

The content & opinions in this article are the author’s and do not necessarily represent the views of AltEnergyMag

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