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