Solar modules coupled with a hybrid inverter, power management system and battery unit form the complete solutions being offered by a range of suppliers at PV Expo in Tokyo.
Major Chinese suppliers such as Yingli and Trina, along with solar companies and power electronic producers like Tabuchi and Ingeteam have all displayed integrated product sets.
After the Fukushima-Daiichi disaster in 2011, some parts of Japan were subjected to rolling blackouts as nuclear generating capacity went offline and electricity demand far outweighed supply. Yingli Solars Julian Itagaki says that during this period the fragility of electricity supply in the country helped many people in Japan realize the role backup power supply can play.
To meet this demand, Yingli released its Kiwami smarthome solution that it will introduce to the Japanese market. The name can be loosely translated to mean "ultimate" or "endless," given the high-level nature of the offering. A bidirectional inverter is integrated with a Yingli rooftop array, smart fuse box and battery system in the solution. Given the relatively high battery prices, Yingli reports that Kiwami can be installed without the battery, making it "battery ready" for storage to be retrofitted. An O&M service is included.
Yingli says that the Kiwami product can provide backup power for households in the event of blackouts, with users able to select which household items should remain powered. It is well suited to deal with temporary outages in the range of three to four hours, Yingli reports. Yingli targets 20 MW of residential installations in 2015 with the product.
Similarly, Sharp is presenting its new Cloud Battery Storage system at PV Expo. It's designed to be coupled with a Sharp hybrid inverter and a lithium ion battery that can be sized either at 4.8 kWh or 9.6 kWh. The battery system Sharp employs is remarkably small given its capacity, meaning that concrete foundations are not required to mount the battery.
Sharps Cloud system, as the name denotes, is managed remotely and can draw on weather data to optimize battery charging. It can also anticipate extreme weather events, and will charge the battery fully in anticipation of resultant power outages. For homeowners, this means it is somewhat of a high tech equivalent of stocking up on candles and fresh water before a storm hits.
Sharp is also displaying its range of square or trapezoidal modules tailored for the Japanese rooftop market, which can be used on small or pitched roofs. Sharps inverter can handle up to three strings as standard, or four with an add on, facilitating four-roof arrays.
Event organizers are expecting 80,000 visitors across the three days at World Smart Energy Week, of which PV Expo is a part. Day one saw relatively heavy traffic in the two sections of the show that up and downstream PV suppliers occupied. PV Expo will continue until Friday.
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