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Panasonic's Power Supply Container: A solar power plant in a box

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March 25, 2014

Panasonic's Power Supply Container is a self-contained solar power plant designed for deve...

Panasonic's Power Supply Container is a self-contained solar power plant designed for developing countries and remote areas

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In an effort to bring reliable electricity supplies to emerging regions and remote island communities, Panasonic has developed an expandable, portable, self-contained photovoltaic system. The "Power Supply Container" comes equipped with 12 of Panasonic's HIT240 solar modules on the roof and generates approximately 3 kW of electricity, with 24 lead-acid batteries capable of storing 17.2 kWh of energy used to store excess electricity.

In the container, Panasonic’s new Power Supply Control Unit (PSCU) monitors and manages the remaining electricity in the system’s lead-acid batteries and is also responsible for controlling supply and demand. Panasonic says this reduces deterioration of the batteries, thereby extending their lifespan while reducing maintenance and replacement costs. The system and its associated energy capabilities can also be expanded by incorporating additional containers into a network arrangement.

Each Power Supply Container is capable of generating approximately 3 kW of electricity and...

The self-contained units were designed to be portable, easy to assemble and not require any professional construction work to get them up and running. Panasonic also notes the container’s form allows it to be moved with relative ease. They are being manufactured by PT. Panasonic Gobel ES Manufacturing Indonesia, which is aiming to lower the price of the units through mass production.

As part of Indonesia’s “Educational Environment Improvement Policy for Isolated Islands,” the first location set by Panasonic for trials of the Power Supply Container is the National Elementary School in Karimunjawa, an archipelago of 27 islands in the Java Sea, Indonesia. Panasonic chose Indonesia as a test region because of the country’s approximately 13,000 islands, many of which either lack electricity altogether because of power generation and development issues or whose access to reliable electricity is limited.

For example, in Karimunjawa, noisy, smelly diesel generators meet most of the area’s night time electricity needs, but in the daytime no power is available. In order for emerging nations like Indonesia to remain competitive and to create a functional learning environment, its students need to have access to critical learning tools like computers, projectors, lights, televisions, etc. To rectify this problem and improve daytime learning, Panasonic is set to introduce a Power Supply Container to Karimunjawa in July of this year.

According to Panasonic, power to the school will be sourced from the energy-generating containers during the day, but excess electricity generated outside of school hours will be supplied to the local community. Over the next few years, Panasonic plans to continue developing and implementing its Power Supply Container program in an effort to bring secure and reliable, 24 hour electricity to other Asian countries and emerging regions.

Source: Panasonic

About the Author
Angus MacKenzie Born on the cold, barren Canadian plains of Calgary, Alberta, Angus MacKenzie couldn’t decide between marketing, automotives or an entrepreneurial path - so he chose all three. When not writing, Angus has for the past six years been Editor-in-Chief for elemente, an internationally recognized architecture/design magazine.   All articles by Angus MacKenzie
11 Comments

I'd like one of these. How much are they going to be? Where will they be available?

Sherry Friedrichs
26th March, 2014 @ 08:16 am PDT

This is brilliant. A portable power source that can be installed where it's needed, and expandable too. I wonder why lead acid batteries are used instead of LiFePo4 units. There must've been a reason.

Kudos to Panasonic.

owlbeyou
26th March, 2014 @ 08:40 am PDT

This kind of system is a good way to cut installation costs which is now bigger than the panel prices. Also in many places it won't even require a permit, just put it in and plug it in to a dryer outlet, plug and play style.

My version would be either a useable shed or just a trailer with the Panels on it, just tow home and plug in.

For those who want solar now, just buy your system/kit from sunelec or other places for about $1.50/wt and have a local electrician to install what you can't. In most places this is cheaper than utility power. especially if offgrid even including storage costs.

jerryd
26th March, 2014 @ 09:10 am PDT

The is probably one of the most neglected parts of solar. Numerous universities and companies spend countless hours trying to improve things panel manufacturing and efficiency but if you were to install a solar rig capable of powering your home the panels themselves are only about half the total cost. The other half of the cost is the kit required for store and make use of the power and products in that space are still pretty niche and expensive.

Daishi
26th March, 2014 @ 10:30 am PDT

Solar thermal could provide hot water, refrigeration, and electricity.

Slowburn
26th March, 2014 @ 12:22 pm PDT

Future Modular Solar/Battery solutions will only get less expensive and more popular as better technology makes them more cost effective. These units will soon be used not only in remote locations but everywhere that there are homeowners and businesses that want to maximize their return from their own Solar systems instead of adding their Energy into the Grid and then having their Utilities only reimburse them with a fraction of its true value. This will shorten payback periods and make adding these units, a must have option, especially if these people also have one or more eVehicles whose batteries will increase the efficiency of these Solar Modular Energy Units (Solar MEU or better yet, Solar Modular Energy (SOME).

CaptD
26th March, 2014 @ 01:17 pm PDT

There are numerous companies building RAPS units in sea containers which can be loaded on a truck and require no assembly.

I saw 100kVA fold-out panel units back in the nineties.

nutcase
26th March, 2014 @ 03:03 pm PDT

12 modules of 240 watt would be total of around 2.48 KW. This size of modules would produce around 9 to 10 kWh of electricity in a day and not 3 KWs as reported in the article.

Pls. clarify on this.

Also please indicate the price of this kit c.i.f. India port.

Thanks

Kamal Garg

KAMAL GARG
26th March, 2014 @ 09:51 pm PDT

RMI claims stand alone solar voltaic is cost effective in Hawaii now. But their cost is higher than most states. I would convert the moment I could get 90% back just to be free of the monopoly. Energy independence is one step we can take to freedom while weakening the state.

voluntaryist
27th March, 2014 @ 02:45 am PDT

I'd buy a couple of these and power a house. Where can I get them?

David Frederick
27th March, 2014 @ 07:49 pm PDT

Other sites list a 4 kW system as being about 350 sq.ft. You can see from the door on this container it's about 5 by 10 feet, so I see no way it could be a 3 kW system. And those lead acid batteries won't last long being used every nite. An auto battery only gets a few small discharges ( not deep discharges) per day, and they'll usually last a few years. Lead acid batteries also need to be refilled with distilled water on a regular basis, where you gonna get that in rural areas? And the WEIGHT of those batteries! You'll need a truck and crane to unload the assembly.

Norm Frey
30th March, 2014 @ 02:27 am PDT
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