Panasonic is building on its lithium-ion (Li-ion) battery-based energy storage business line and getting more deeply involved in the distributed energy resource (DER) and smart grid management market spaces. Panasonic Eco Solutions unveiled Green Tower – billed as a comprehensive Energy-as-a-Service (EaaS) solution – at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona February 22.
Green Tower’s launch illustrates the central role that latest information and communications technology (ICT) is playing in the transition from centralized, fossil fuel-based power to much more locally focused distributed generation and distribution centered on renewable energy resources. The integrated distributed energy resource management system (DERM) is the latest entry into what’s become a crowded, competitive market segment – Cloud-based ICT platforms that make it seem deceptively simple and easy to manage a power grid made up of distributed assets.
Integrated Distributed Energy Resource Management – as a Service
Green Tower, Panasonic Eco Solutions explains in a press release ¨leverages remote and on-site hardware and software to communicate with and intelligently operate on-site assets (battery, generator, HVAC, etc.) from one centralized Network Operations Center.¨
¨Integrating Li-ion energy storage, solar energy generation, satellite communications and real-time monitoring and control, Green Tower represents a paradigm shift from traditional static power systems to remotely managed intelligent infrastructure,¨ management continues.
Panasonic’s not alone. Ericsson introduced a similar ¨Smart Metering as a Service¨ (SMaaS) platform at CES 2016 in Las Vegas in January. In addition to Panasonic and Ericsson, a growing line-up of companies – from young startups to well-established, global players in the power and electronics industries – have developed similar offerings. AES Energy Storage, NEC Energy Solutions, RES Americas, Younicos, Sharp, Greensmith, Green Charge Networks, S&C Electric are included in Navigant’s recent Energy Storage Systems Leaderboard.
Highly reliable, secure broadband network connectivity and automated machine-to-machine communications (M2M) – aka Internet of Things (IoT) – are elements common and key to these innovative distributed energy storage/resource management systems.
“The Green Tower platform is designed to bolster the resiliency of legacy wireless network infrastructure and meet increasing demands for improved performance and anywhere, anytime wireless access,” Panasonic Enterprise Solutions’ VP Phil Herman stated.
Panasonic summarizes the key functionality and features of its new EaaS platform as follows:
- Eliminates energy supply downtime with advanced energy management and network redundancy to keep first responder critical communications infrastructure up and running when it is needed most
- Allows cell sites, 80-85 percent of which rely on the grid, with energy infrastructure beyond grid power availability through lithium-ion battery energy storage, solar PV energy generation and optional satellite connectivity
- Intelligently manages site services and assets, extending their useful life and enabling customers to lower operating costs, 10-15 percent of which are associated with energy infrastructure and services
- Provides configurable size and weight advantages for deployment at restricted sites, including rooftops
- Improves a tower’s environmental footprint through the use of clean, renewable energy in lieu of diesel generators and toxic lead acid batteries
- Manages capital through performance enhancements that more than pay for operating expenditures
Green Tower is up at running at various sites serving various purposes, according to Panasonic. It’s deployed ¨at critical safety sites in Northern Europe, weak grid sites in Southeast Asia and grid-connected sites in North America and Europe.
Andrew is a well seasoned and traveled freelance reporter and editor, covering the the nexus where new energy technology, markets, ecosystems and political economy intersect and overlap.