Smart Grid

September 19, 2012

Fusion Again at Los Alamos, As Joint U.S.-Japan Smart Grid Tests Begin

A $53-million joint U.S.-Japan state-of-the-art smart grid testbed project has begun operations in Los Alamos, Mexico. 

The initiative represents a collaborative effort among Kyoto, Japan-based Kyocera (News - Alert) Corporation, the New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO) of Japan, the U.S. Energy Department’s Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL), the State of New Mexico, and the Los Alamos County Department of Public Utilities.  

The goal is to provide renewable power for the electric grid, in order to satisfy a significant amount of the community's residential needs. Data collection and analysis are set to run until March 2014 – at which time opportunities will be provided for other organizations to conduct further academic research and product testing.

On September 17, a ribbon-cutting ceremony was held to mark the launch of the project, and was attended by New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez, NEDO Chairman Kazuo Furukawa, U.S. Representative Ben Ray Lujan (R-NM), LANL Director Charles McMillan, Kyocera Vice President Tatsumi Maeda and a number of other prominent public and private sector figures.

Kyocera, a global supplier of solar power generating systems, is participating at two out of three of the project sites:  the Smart-Grid Demonstration and the Smart House Demonstration. In addition, Kyocera will be commissioned to lead the Evaluation of Distributed Energy Resource (e.g., photovoltaics) within the Collective Research portion of the overall project.

The Smart-Grid Demonstration in Los Alamos comprises a power supply micro-grid that uses power distribution lines from a large-scale solar power plant to operate and monitor technologies and performance, and to minimize power fluctuations.

Kyocera supplied a 910-kilowatt (kW) multicrystalline silicon solar module array. (The full solar power generating system is 1 megawatt (MW); the remaining 90kW comprises nine other 10kW systems, to provide a comparison of the performance of different types of solar modules.)

Image via Shutterstock

 Furthermore, as the site of the solar power plant will be built over a reclaimed waste disposal landfill, Kyocera applied its expertise in selecting and installing base mounting optimized for dynamic soil conditions.

For the Smart House Demonstration in Los Alamos, Kyocera constructed a hybrid energy management system, which uses:

  • A 3.-kW residential solar power generating system
  • A 24-kilowatt hour (kWh) lithium-ion storage battery
  • An energy-efficient heat storage unit
  • A home energy management system (HEMS)

The home energy management system is equipped with communication equipment and sensors, which will facilitate optimal energy usage at the Smart House from the solar power generating system, storage battery and power grid; as well as from smart appliances that are responsive to smart grid signals.

"In this project, we will demonstrate how a smart house can play an important role from the demand side in a smart grid, where renewable energy, such as solar power, will be significantly implemented in the future," stated Tatsumi Maeda, Kyocera Corporation vice president and general manager of the company's Solar Energy Group, during a speech at the ribbon-cutting ceremony. "This smart house project was established to demonstrate the next generation of energy management by using the newest technologies."

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Edited by Braden Becker