Japan’s NEDO group selects Kyocera to join in smart-grid demo project in New Mexico

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Japan’s New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO) initiative has commissioned Kyocera to participate in a smart-grid demonstration project in New Mexico, with the aim of bypassing the difficulties encountered in conducting such studies in Japan due to the difference in pre-existing power grids. Kyocera will provide around 1MW of solar modules, base mounting systems and a data collection system as part of its role in the demo project, and will also spearhead the Evaluation of Distributed Energy Resource taskforce within the Collective Research portion of the overall project.

The NEDO project will be conducted until March 2014. The first phase of the agreement ends in March 2012; NEDO will carry out a mid-term survey to determine terms of renewal for its participating companies.
Kyocera had been officially selected in June 2010 to take part in the project, which is a collaborative effort between NEDO, the New Mexico state government, Los Alamos Department of Public Utilities, and an unnamed national research centre that comes under the auspices of the US DOE. The aim of the project is to encourage a more widespread uptake of renewable energy via live demonstrations of smart-grid related technologies.

NEDO carried out a survey of companies in November 2009 as part of a public bidding call, and selected Kyocera – among others – to participate. Kyocera will supply a 910kW multicrystalline silicon solar module system as well as nine 10kW systems that will serve the purpose of offering a comparison between different module types. The company will also engage in selection and installation of base mounting systems optimized for dynamic soil conditions, as well as constructing a data collection system to develop a method for system fault analysis at isolated facilities.

The three-pronged project will be located across three sites in Los Alamos and Albuquerque; Kyocera will take part in two of these, namely, the Smart-Grid Demonstration and the Smart House Demonstration in Los Alamos. The former will see the construction of a power supply microgrid using power distribution lines from a large-scale solar power plant to demonstrate technologies and performance while also minimizing the effects of power output fluctuations. The Smart House Demonstration will see Kyocera lead the construction of a hybrid energy management system using a 3.3kW residential solar power generating system, 20kW storage battery and heat storage unit.

“With the growing expectation for smart-grid technology seen in recent years, Kyocera is extremely happy to have been commissioned for part of NEDO's important Japan-U.S. Smart-Grid Demonstration Project,” said Kyocera’s president Tetsuo Kuba. “Using our solar energy technology as a foundation, we will aim to utilize our participation in this project to supply smart-grid related products and develop energy management technologies to create new business opportunities.”

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