The World's #1 Renewable Energy Network for News, Information, and Companies.
Untitled Document

Fighting Blackouts: Japan Residential PV and Energy Storage Market Flourishing

In the past, a PV system with battery storage was associated with the off-grid system — not connected to the utility grid. The battery stores the energy produced by the PV system and when the sun goes down, electricity is drawn from the battery. In Japan, the battery became attractive to store electricity from "the grid," to reduce electricity bills.

After the devastation of the Tsunami and nuclear meltdown in Mach 2011, Japan became painfully aware of the importance of both safety and maintaining a steady supply of electricity. The combination of a PV system and battery storage gives consumers the ability to produce, store and supply electricity throughout the day at their own home for power outages and emergencies. However, the system can bring economic benefits — electricity bill reduction — during normal days.

Like California, utilities in Japan offer Time-of Use (TOU) rates. How homeowners can reduce electricity bills can be illustrated by using Tokyo Electric Power Company’s (TEPCO) current (non-summer) TOU rates for all-electric homes with a PV system.

  • Purchase and store electricity from the grid at off-peak hour (11 pm – 7 am) at ¥11.82/kWh [US $0.12]
  • Sell PV-generated electricity to the utility at the FIT premium rate of ¥38.0/kWh [US $0.38]
  • Use PV-generated electricity during day time, otherwise paying at ¥30.77 (10 am – 5 pm) [US $0.31] and use stored electricity between 7 and 10 am and between 5 and 11 pm, otherwise paying ¥25.2/kWh [US $0.25]

With the battery storage, PV homeowners can ultimately buy electricity at the lowest rate (¥11.82/kWh or $0.12/kWh) and sell at the highest price (¥38/kWh or $0.38/kWh).

The key domestic PV makers, Panasonic, Kyocera and Sharp, all now offer lithium-ion battery storage along with a PV home system to meet consumers’ demand. Their goal is to move beyond PV and expand into a total Home Energy Management System (HEMS3) arena.

Kyocera started offering PV plus lithium-ion battery storage to homeowners in early 2012 with a target of selling 10,000 units from April 2012 to March 2013. Panasonic also released home battery storage systems that can be connected to Sanyo’s (now Panasonic) HIT PV system. The battery has a capacity of 4.65 kWh and is priced at ¥1.218 million MSRP [US $11,984].

In April, Kyocera released the largest residential lithium-ion battery in Japan. The battery has the capacity of 14.4 kWh, which is priced at an MSRP of ¥4.45million [US $43,784]. This large capacity allows it to power a home refrigerator, TV, computers, lights and cell phone chargers for up to 24 hours.

Kyocera has teamed up with Rakuten, Inc., which operates the nation’s largest internet shopping site, to offer a PV system (poly-Si) and a lithium battery (7.2 kWh) set for homeowners at an affordable price. Rakuten provides options with different sizes of PV systems with the battery, and installed system price (after tax) varies from ¥2.94 million ($29,730) with a-2.28 kW system to ¥4.168 million ($42,153) with a 6.27-kW system. These systems are installed by one of the nation’s largest installers, Nippon Ecosystem, which is part of Itochu Corp.

Residential battery systems remain expensive to average homeowners. To solve this issue, One Energy Corp. has just begun the nation’s first residential energy storage leasing service. Like SolarCity or SunRun’s PV leasing service in the U.S., this requires zero upfront payment to homeowners. The company is a joint venture between Orix, NEC and Epco. NEC provides lithium batteries, whose technology is used for Nissan Leaf electric vehicles.

Besides the energy storage leasing service, One Energy also offers “Yanekari (PV rooftop space leasing)” service. A homeowner can lease a storage system with 5.53 kWh of capacity at between ¥3,045 ($31) to ¥5,145 ($52) a month from One Energy while offering the roof-space to One Energy, making a monthly revenue of ¥2,500 ($25).  The image below illustrates how a customer could use an energy storage system to offset the high cost of purchasing energy during peak times.

One Energy currently offers this leasing service in the TEPCO region only and is planning to expand to the Kansai region by the second half of this fiscal year and eventually expand nationwide.

NEC started mass production of residential storage systems in February. Besides partnering with One Energy, the company sells home batteries directly to homebuilders and building material distributors with the goal of selling 15,000 units during this fiscal year.

The company stated that PV homeowners will start storing PV electricity in batteries even more as the FIT rate gets lower in the future, creating a more self-sufficient and less grid-dependent environment.

It is declining, but the national government provides upfront, capacity-based rebates (¥15-20/kW) and a net FIT of ¥38/kWh on excess electricity generation for 10 years) for PV home systems. The government also currently provides a subsidy for lithium-ion battery storage for homeowners. The subsidy is one third of the installed system cost or up to ¥1 million ($10,823).

The hot and humid summer is approaching in Japan. Some of the nation’s utilities have just raised electricity rates and many of them will request that consumers limit and/or shift electricity consumption from peak to off-peak to control raising fossil fuel cost caused by the shutdown of nuclear power plants. With PV + battery systems, homeowners are moving to take energy matters into their own hands in defense against rolling blackouts and rising electricity bills.

Lead image: House with light via Shutterstock

Untitled Document

RELATED ARTICLES

Campus Flora Fuels Research into Bioenergy-Inspired Energy Storage

Joe McCune, Missouri S&T Dr. Umit Koylu, a professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at Missouri University of Science and Technology,...

Global Renewable Energy Roundup: China, Kenya, Turkey, India Seeking More Renewables

Bloomberg News Editors China is being encouraged by three industry groups to double the nation’s solar-power goal for 2020 to make up for sh...

Why Smarter Grids Demand Smarter Communications Networks

Mark Madden

Historically, utility networks and communications networks have had little in common.

Don’t Like Obama’s Clean Power Plan? Fine, Here’s Cap and Trade

Mark Drajem and Lynn Doan, Bloomberg Republican governors who boycott the Obama administration’s new power-plant regulations may instead get an offer they...

PRESS RELEASES

Array Technologies’ DuraTrack HZ v3 Continues to (R)evolutionize at SPI

Array Technologies, Inc. (ATI) prepares to showcase its recently launched tracking syst...

Appalachian's Energy Center assists counties with landfill gas to energy projects

The Appalachian Energy Center at Appalachian State University recently completed a proj...

Early Bird Registration Deadline for GRC Annual Meeting is This Week

The deadline for early-bird rates for registration for the biggest annual geothermal ev...

Redesigned HydroWorld.com Video Gallery

Hydropower news and information, and interesting promotional announcements are now avai...

FEATURED BLOGS

Transitioning to Net-Zero Living

Judith and Jeffrey adore living in Belfast, Maine – a quaint harbor town of Belfast, Maine. They previously res...

The True Cost of Electric Vehicles in Australia

In order to avoid increased congestion, further greenhouse warming and lessen Australia’s reliance on imported ...

The Coming Multi-trillion Dollar Energy Investment Drive

In coming years, a multi-trillion dollar low-emission energy investment drive will get underway. Three catalysts wil...

The Perfect Elevator Pitch

The elevator pitch is a concise statement that grabs attention and communicates value, ideally leading to a next step...

FINANCIAL NEWS

Junko Movellan is a Solar Industry expert who writes and analyzes the US and Japan PV downstream markets. She has more than 15 years of experience in the PV industry, analyzing industry trends and developing business strategies for global companie...

CURRENT MAGAZINE ISSUE

Volume 18, Issue 4
1507REW_C11

STAY CONNECTED

To register for our free
e-Newsletters, subscribe today:

SOCIAL ACTIVITY

Tweet the Editors! @jennrunyon

FEATURED PARTNERS



EVENTS

Intersolar Europe 2016

Exhibition: June 22-24, 2016; Conference: June 21-22, 2016 Intersolar Eu...

ees Europe 2016

Exhibition: June 22-24, 2016; Conference: June 21-22, 2016 ees Europe 20...

Intersolar India 2015

Exhibition and Conference: November 18-20, 2015 Intersolar India 2015 I...

COMPANY BLOGS

Less Is More

When you’re giving a presentation, one of the easiest things to do...

Captivology

One of the biggest challenges we face as efficiency sales professionals ...

How To Optimize Your Meeting Schedule

Do you spend more time in meetings than you do actually working? While m...

NEWSLETTERS

Renewable Energy: Subscribe Now

Solar Energy: Subscribe Now

Wind Energy: Subscribe Now

Geothermal Energy: Subscribe Now

Bioenergy: Subscribe Now  

 

FEATURED PARTNERS