Panasonic to Release HEMS-compatible Residential Distribution Board

2014/02/25 13:03
Kenji Kaneko, Nikkei BP CleanTech Institute
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Panasonic Corp announced that it will release a residential distribution board supporting HEMS (home energy management systems) May 21, 2014.

Panasonic announced the "Smart HEMS(R)" in October 2012 in the aim of promoting the use of HEMS in the "Smart Grid" society. The new product, "Smart Cosmo," supports the Smart HEMS and functions as a core of the distribution and information systems, the company said.

The Smart Cosmo has a branch current sensor in all the circuits inside the distribution board to visualize energy flow. It also supports solar power generation systems, "Ene-Farm" fuel cell cogeneration systems and Panasonic's residential storage battery systems that are installed at the time of building a house.

If such facilities are installed several years after building a house, it is possible to add interconnection breakers inside the distribution board. Because it does not require any additional box, it can be installed with less installation work and without harming the appearance of the space, Panasonic said.

Panasonic will release the new distribution board in view of the full liberalization of the retail electricity market in Japan, which is scheduled in 2016, as well as smart meters that are expected to be used at each and every house in Japan in the early 2020s.

When the Smart Cosmo is combined with a smart meter, it becomes possible to optimally control home appliances and residential facilities for each time slot, reduce peak power demand by using a demand-response scheme and shift demand peaks, contributing to ensuring power supply-demand balance and preventing major power outages.

The manufacturer's suggested retail price (excluding tax and installation fee) of the Smart Cosmo ranges from ¥27,400 to 204,000 (approx US$267-1,991), depending on the master capacity, number of branch circuits, presences of AiSEG wireless adapter and interconnection and primary breakers, etc. Panasonic aims to sell 80,000 units per year in fiscal 2015.