19 September 2012
Kyocera Corporation, the New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organisation (NEDO) of Japan and a number of other companies, research institutes and local governments announced the beginning of operations of a state-of-the-art, international smart-grid demonstration project in Los Alamos, New Mexico (US). The New Mexico project is first international collaboration in the US to use solar energy to provide a significant portion of residential power needs
The project is a collaborative effort between NEDO, the New Mexico state government, the Los Alamos Department of Public Utilities and the Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL)—a national research centre which is run under the umbrella of the US Department of Energy. It aims for a wider implementation of renewable energy and the promotion of energy conservation through the use of smart-grid-related technologies: specifically, technologies that can provide a significant portion of renewable power for the electric grid to meet a community’s residential need. Data collection and analysis is set to run until March 2014, at which time opportunities will be provided for other companies and institutions to utilise the resources to conduct further academic research and product testing.
On 17 September 2012, a ribbon-cutting ceremony was held to mark the launch of the project, which was attended by: Susana Martinez, governor of New Mexico; Kazuo Furukawa, chairman of NEDO; US Congressman Ben Ray Luján (Democrat of New Mexico); Dr. Charles McMillan, director of LANL; Tatsumi Maeda, vice president of Kyocera and general manager of its Solar Energy Group; and a number of other prominent public and private sector leaders.
The project is located at three sites in Los Alamos and Albuquerque, of which Kyocera is participating in two: the Smart-Grid Demonstration and the Smart House Demonstration, both in Los Alamos. Furthermore, Kyocera will be commissioned to lead Evaluation of Distributed Energy Resource (photovoltaics (PV), etc.) within the Collective Research portion of the overall project.
• Smart-Grid Demonstration in Los Alamos: This portion of the project consists of a power supply micro-grid that uses power distribution lines from a large-scale solar power plant to utilise related technologies and performance and to minimise the effects of power output fluctuations. Kyocera supplied a 910 kilowatt (kW) multicrystalline silicon solar module array. (The full solar power generating system is 1 megawatt (MW); the remaining 90kW is comprised of nine other 10kW systems in order to compare the performance of different types of solar modules.) Furthermore, as the site of the solar power plant will be built over a reclaimed waste-disposal landfill (i.e., a brownfield), Kyocera applied its expertise in selecting and installing base mounting optimised for dynamic soil conditions.
• Smart House Demonstration in Los Alamos: Kyocera constructed a hybrid energy management system that uses a 3.4kW residential solar power generating system, a 24 kilowatt-hour (kWh) lithium-ion (Li-ion) storage battery and an energy-efficient heat storage unit. By operating a Home Energy Management System (HEMS) equipped with communications equipment and sensors, the Smart House helps to optimise energy usage from the solar power generating system, storage battery, power grid and smart appliances that allow for electric demand in the house to be responsive to smart-grid signals.
“In this project, we will demonstrate how a smart house can play an important role from the demand side in a smart grid, where renewable energy such as solar power will be significantly implemented in the future,” stated Kyocera’s Maeda during a speech at the ribbon-cutting ceremony. “This smart house project was established to demonstrate the next generation of energy management by using the newest technologies.”