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.
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.
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: