Mitsubishi plugs in smart-grid pilot project

Mitsubishi Electric to demonstrate distributed energy systems built around solar, batteries, and digital communications as part of push for smart-grid tech.

Mitsubishi Electric on Monday said it will invest about $76 million in a smart-grid project, part of a companywide push into equipment for modernizing the electricity grid.

The company will create two installations--a residential-size building and a commercial facility--which will have on-site power generation through photovoltaic panels and local energy storage with rechargeable batteries. The flow of energy will be managed and optimized by power electronics and smart meters to test the performance of the equipment.

A diagram of a small, solar-powered power plant and a residential smart-grid installation to be tested by Mitsubishi this year. Mitsubishi Electric

Mitsubishi Electric said the projects are part of a corporatewide push to supply smart-grid technologies for the electric power industry and meet global demand for low-carbon energy.

In one experiment, Mitsubishi Electric will set up a mini-power station built around a four-megawatt solar array. It will include equipment, such as switches and smart meters, to manage the flow of energy and a battery.

The residential-scale system will feature a 200-kilowatt photovoltaic array with a home energy-management system, which uses a smart meter and network-connected appliances.

The home system recalls work being done by Panasonic in this area . The industrial giant is developing a line of energy systems for the home, including energy-efficient TVs and appliances, solar panels, batteries, fuel-cell hot water heating systems, and a home energy-management dashboard.

Samsung, another company well known for its electronics, last week announced that it plans to invest $20 billion in energy and health care over the next 10 years. Meanwhile, an executive from battery supplier BYD said last month that the company plans to supply a combination of equipment, including solar panels and batteries, to homeowners.

 

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