Batteries

Published on September 15th, 2015 | by William Steel

17

Panasonic To Roll Out Residential Battery To Europe, Starting With Germany

September 15th, 2015 by  

Panasonic is preparing for launch of its “Residential Storage Battery System” into European markets. The news was confirmed by Panasonic Europe CEO Laurent Abadie at the IFA consumer electronics show in Berlin at the beginning of September.

European rollout will begin in Germany, with the UK, France and others to follow afterwards, although precise launch dates haven’t yet been confirmed.

Panasonic pilot storage Reid

Photo Credit: Panasonic Australia’s Managing Director Paul Reid, via Panasonic.

The storage device — the LJ-SK84A — is a system based on lithium-ion batteries, with a storage capacity of 8 kWh and an output of 2 kW. Thus, fully charged, the storage battery can supply a 2 kW output for up to 4 hours.

Like other storage systems in the residential class, the Panasonic system is designed to provide an efficient baseload for PV-installed households during peak periods, a capacity that optimises use of residential energy generation by storing excess electricity for later use.

Additionally, the system features a “battery storage demand response control” which will allow owners to customise different charge/discharge programs suited to their own preferences. The control will empower users to decide when and how their systems operate, and adjust parameters for distributed storage throughout the day according to their own circumstances.

Panasonic Storage self-consumption

Schematic from Panasonic illustrating how residential generation from solar panels is complemented by storage technologies. Image reproduced from the Panasonic LJ-SK84A product brochure.

The complete battery unit measures 1380 mm high by 966 mm wide by 279 mm deep and weighs in at 159 kg. The storage units will be manufactured by Panasonic in Japan.

On Australia Pilot Scheme Partnerships

The plans for taking the technology to market are a little further advanced in Australia than Europe. In June, Panasonic announced partnerships with several Australian energy companies (ActewAGL, Snowy Hydro’s Red Energy, and Ergon Energy) to install its storage technology in solar-installed homes for the first time under pilot schemes.

At the announcement, Panasonic Australia Managing Director Paul Reid said: “For consumers, it means access to clean solar energy during the evening peak and potentially a lower energy bill. For the retailer, we can provide a levelling out of costs and potential competitive advantage with customers.”

Panasonic’s analysis of the Australian market has shown that the system could increase the self-consumption rate of solar generation from 30% up to as much as 60%.

Panasonic Rivalling Battery Friend Tesla

Panasonic’s move adds significant information to an emerging picture of what early residential storage markets might look like. Panasonic of course is itself not new to lithium-ion batteries at all. Most recently, it has been supplying Tesla with battery cells for the company’s vehicles, and will continue to do so as a major stakeholder in Tesla’s forthcoming lithium-ion battery production facility — the Gigafactory. Indeed, the relations between the two companies are historically very productive.

However, in developing a residential storage system of its own, it is positioning itself as a direct competitor to Tesla Energy, which launched the Powerwall residential storage unit in April. Both companies have sights firmly set on Germany on account of its high levels of PV capacity, which marks it out in Europe as a lucrative market for storage systems.

With reservations for the Tesla Powerwall already having exceeded supply, it’s not clear when we might begin to see its units available at scale across Europe.

So, Panasonic is perhaps ahead of the curve, motivated no doubt by being well aware of the high stakes and high profits of the storage market. According to the company’s calculations, Panasonic may soon generate revenues of $83 million for its home storage sector outside of Japan by 2018.

You can watch a YouTube video from Panasonic about the LJ-SK84A Residential Storage Battery System here:



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  • Ra

    Can these be used in an off grid 12 volt home?

  • neroden

    I had read that Tesla and Panasonic had agreed to give Panasonic the Euro market and Tesla the North American market. Unclear whether this is true, but it would fit.

    • Stephen YCheck

      Would that be legal? Or would it be seen as price fixing/anti something = lawsuit.

  • Jouni Valkonen

    Notice the branding:

    Tesla: “Powerwall”

    Panasonic: “LJ-SK84A”

    btw, Panasonic and also Tesla should have inverter included. Today Samsung SDI ESS All-in-One batteries are superior market leaders as Samsung fitted complete inverter and MPP trackers to the battery unit. Therefore just connect solar panels to battery and battery to the home AC grid and you are good to go.

    • nakedChimp

      Sounds like a nice fire&forget solution.
      Probably chainable too..
      Way of the future.

  • Harry Johnson

    With renewable energy now cheaper than fossil fuel, battery storage will be the best way to encourage people to use less energy just as they do with their EV. We waste so much energy only because it’s obviously too cheap and “invisible.”

  • Marion Meads

    The 18 kWh batteries of the Volt is nowhere big as that and it already has an active liquid based cooling system. How come the 8 kWh unit from Panasonic is gargantuan? Are they creating the impression that because it is supermassive it will justify its high cost?

    Back to the drawing board please!

    • nitpicker357

      An air-cooled system is cheaper, but bigger.

      • eveee

        An air cooled system is a bad idea, IMO. Temperature control is essential to lithium lifetime and performance.

        Nissan made that mistake with the Leaf. Look to success.

        • Philip W

          Are you really comparing stationary battery storage with a car battery? What is a bad idea for a car doesn’t necessarily have to be a bad idea for residential battery storage.

          • eveee

            No. The lithium battery needs are the same. Temperature control is a must for good lifetime performance. The only applications that don’t need are low power, in environments that are already temperature controlled.

            Anything with real power drain and an uncontrolled external environment needs this. Remember, PowerWall may and PowerPack may not just be mounted in internal, temperature controlled environments. They might be outside where they have to fend for themselves.

            Fundamentally, liquid cooling has the advantage of being a better heat transfer medium than air and having a thermal mass, too, to damp sudden thermal transients.

            Power tools can get away with air cooling because their rpm is high and any usage forces a lot of air cooling. Anything in your hand cannot get that hot or you would drop it. Also because their usage is usually not not stop for hours.

            When the application needs to be portable and cheap and the power needs are brief, air cooling can be the best response.

        • Ronald Brakels

          It’s power output is 2 kilowatts so it may produce a maximum of under 40 watts of heat while a Leaf battery pack might at times produce 4,000 or more watts of heat.

          • eveee

            Yes. Thats quite a difference, isn’t it? Not that you can’t fry a power tool battery. But thats a bit easier to deal with and replace than an EV battery.

            I try to explain to people how serious a 400V 60kwhr battery pack is, but its difficult. You could easily weld metal with a 30kwhr LiFeP battery pack, but probably not controllably.

            I can attest to the fact than you can blast holes in a pair of pliers with a single 60 watt hour LiFeP prismatic cell. A pack is over a hundred of these.

            While the Tesla cell is small, there are thousands of cells. Thats a lot of juice.

            Thats precisely why I prefer water cooling for battery performance.
            Water cooling is a bit more hassle, but worth the resulting enhanced performance and reliability.

          • nakedChimp

            You can melt metal with a simple 12V 100Ah starter LAB from your ICE car.. what’s your point?

            Please look at the power draw profiles of a car vs a home energy storage system and then tell me which one will likely push them harder.
            And please remind yourself that at higher power draws, the efficiency goes down and you get more losses.
            Those HEES will be regulated and cap what they deliver to stay within their cooling capabilty.. as for a car, they do this too as we could read from people driving Teslas, just there the ceiling is higher because of better cooling.
            But that extra cost and failure prone stuff is not really needed for a HEES.

          • eveee

            Depends on what you mean by HEES. I guess you mean emergency storage. In that case, the energy and current drain is lower than a normal house, because there needs to be a separate breaker and circuit for emergency only loads. The general method is not to switch directly to batteries for the whole house, because air conditioning and other loads can be extremely high power, which puts a stress on the system and is not necessary for emergencies.

            If its a home system for load shifting, it can be quite stressful on a battery, possibly as much or more so than a car, but it depends on the system capacity and the load.

            Most very large current draws on a car are transient acceleration that doesn’t last long. Batteries can handle that without much extra cooling. But extended use is another matter. There cooling matters.

            The worst a car sees is high speed for extended time. Take a look at this curve of kw vs speed.

            http://www.solarjourneyusa.com/Pictures/PowervsSpeed.jpg

            At 75 mph, the draw is 25 kw. For a 400V pack, thats 62.5 A.

            Not that one would do this, but an air conditioner, electric dryer, and a few other household loads can add up to 20kw.

            http://iaeimagazine.org/images/2013_05/13c_CHunterTB1.jpg

            Chances are that these loads wouldn’t always happen at the same time, but its a load a battery pack might have to deal with for residential.

            If a household never uses those larger loads from battery storage, the battery might not be as stressed as a car, but as long as it drives all the usual household loads like air conditioner, it will come close to a car continuous power demand.

            Emergency storage does not require extended life, so for that, it might be optional, but other residential requirements ought to have better cooling if they need long battery life.

            FYI, heres a picture of the Tesla PowerPack. Not saying I know this from gospel, but those blue cables are probably liquid cooling. There are orange cables for electrical. And a fan in front of the door for the heat exchanger.

            Just like the car.

            PowerPack is utility use, so it must be robust for that.

            I have no pictures or ideas of the inside of PowerWall used for residential.

            http://www.wired.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/LW3A1486-1024×768.jpg

          • eveee

            Looking at the PowerWall, its large flat vertical surface, and no visible fans, its possible it is air cooled. The PowerWall may have more surface area than a Model S power pack. It takes about ten of them to equal one Model S power pack. So you may be right. Done that way, the batteries could be air cooled, if the environment is relatively climate controlled. Its still not a good idea in outdoor or temperature extreme environments. Deserts and northern climes come to mind.

            The Model S power pack thermostatically controls temperature to a smaller range than ambient.

            https://www.reddit.com/r/teslamotors/comments/2jrx1v/are_tesla_batteries_temperature_controlled_when/

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