Promoting Smart Houses, Taking into Account Energy-Efficiency
Photovoltaic (PV) power generation (solar power generation) is a method that uses solar energy as renewable energy. This is a power generation method that directly converts sunlight into electricity, which helps mitigate peak demand for electricity during the daytime and reduce CO2 emissions. For that reason, Japan’s demand for PV power generation has been rapidly increasing after the Great East Japan Earthquake.
At present, many of the detached houses whose installed power generation capacity is less than 10 kW are able to use their solar-generated electricity at home and sell the remaining electricity to electric power companies. Therefore, the number of new houses equipped with energy-saving products, such as storage batteries and HEMS (*1) combined with solar power (so-called “smart houses (*2)”) has been increasing. The Japanese government has been implementing subsidies and measures for the installation of HEMS in all households by 2030.
(*1) Home Energy Management System (HEMS) is an energy management system that serves to reduce domestic energy consumption. HEMS manages energy usage in a centralized manner by connecting home appliances and electrical equipment to visualize energy and gas usage on a monitor or by automatically controlling home appliances.
(*2) A concept for houses proposed in the United States in 1980s in which a wide variety of services are provided according to users’ needs under optimal control involving the networking together of home appliances and facilities equipment.
Demonstration Experiments for Constructing HEMS That Can Control Output
Fujitsu is cooperating with Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings (TEPCO) in conducting a verification test to construct an efficient HEMS in a short period in the Emergent Verification Project for Output Control with Next-generation Bi-directional Communication (*3) by the Agency for Natural Resources and Energy of Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI), while monitoring the situation of PV power generation in real time.
In this verification test, in order to construct an efficient HEMS in a short period, the plug-in technology provided by Fujitsu’s “Smart Sensing Platform (SSPF),” (*4) which controls networks involving home appliances and energy equipment, is used to standardize interfaces between multiple different protocols and manufacturers, which enables the construction of a cloud-based HEMS that controls equipment from the cloud with a shared interface. Fujitsu will establish a system integrated with HEMS using technologies on Fujitsu Laboratories’ Open ADR (*5) to support this verification testing and verify the effectiveness of network solutions.
(*3) This is a project to verify the effectiveness of output control commands linked with power generation forecasts (such forecasts are based on supply and demand information monitored by general electric power suppliers and weather information for PV power generation). The objective of this is to efficiently control the output from the PV power generation facilities whose future operation is anticipated. In addition, technical verification and other necessary investigations are performed on the themes that have been requested from a medium- and long-term viewpoint.
(*4) Software that facilitates the construction of energy-management systems for living environments such as homes and shops by simplifying the operation of network controls for home appliances and energy equipment.
(*5) Open automated demand response: An international standardized protocol to automatically restrict electric power consumption in response to a request for a supply and demand adjustment in an instance where electricity demand becomes too heavy when the electricity supply is limited.
Automatically Controlling Home Appliances in Response to Daytime and Nighttime Electricity Rates
The use of HEMS can realize a stable electricity supply and comfortable living spaces with a central theme of energy saving. HEMS enables the remote control of home appliances from outside the home and automatically controls appliances in response to changes in electricity rates. HEMS enables automatic power-saving by allowing users to operate a washing machine or dishwasher midnight when electricity rates are low or lower the temperature setting of air conditioning during the daytime when electricity rates are high. It also allows users to use electricity in accordance with their individual lifestyles, such as heating a room by turning on the air conditioner before coming back home.
Based on this verification test, Fujitsu will provide efficient and high-quality systems to control all field equipment, as well as home appliances. In the future, Fujitsu will expand its HEMS-related business and provide network solutions for industrial fields by incorporating the results of and know-how gained from this verification.