Old dog solar panel manufacturer, Panasonic, learning new home storage tricks

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Panasonic has been entertaining in your home for a long time already, but now they want to be your home’s source of electricity – 24 hours a day. pv magazine USA met with the company at their booth while at Solar Power International in Utah to learn about their new energy storage offerings, and get an update on their solar module work.

The above image, and this article’s featured image, is of Panasonic’s new EverVolt residential home energy storage offering. The hardware comes in two flavors – AC coupled and DC coupled – each coupled with one, two or three 5.7 kWh units (which are actually made of two 2.85 kW units) allowing for a total of just over 17 kWh of energy capacity per unit. The energy storage inverter can easily be coupled with a second unit, bringing the total to 34 kWh – which is just larger than the average US household’s daily electricity usage of ~30 kWh. As well, if you really want to stack it – three inverters can be coupled to bring you over 100 kWh. Add in some solar modules, and you can comfortably live indefinitely without a power grid.

The company chose to design the hardware with with smaller pieces specifically for the residential market, as the units can be carried and installed by a single installer. The battery packages weigh approximately 50 pounds each, and the case holding them weighs 60 pounds.

The company also has an app, image from SPI show below, that allows you to understand what’s going on with your solar electricity generation, and the available energy in your storage solution.

With the hardware having both an AC and a DC coupled mode, you can upgrade your current solar system and existing inverter, or start fresh with a new system that is a bit more efficiency and DC coupled. Anyone using SolarEdge or Enphase will have to use the AC coupled version of the unit.

Panasonic makes the battery cells, in fact, they’re among the world’s largest manufacturers of energy storage with 23 GWh of factory capacity. They have a very close relationship with Tesla, being the technology underpinning the Nevada Gigafactory. The company also manufacturers solar modules in Tesla’s Buffalo factory.

And speaking of their solar modules, the company makes some of the highest quality products, the heterojunction with intrinsic thin layer (HIT) solar module that was doing bifaciality and heterojunction long before it was cool, available on the market. Currently available products range from 325 up to 340 watts, as well, come in AC-module versions that have Enphase inverters installed to the back of them in the factory.

What was really interesting to see at the show was some of their future products (below image) in the pipeline. The company sees a back contact 66 cell 410 W / 60 cell 375 W module that will touch 22% efficiency. Coupled with the industries lowest temperature coefficient (production loss as temperatures increase), it’ll be another quality component to consider.