After AlphaGo won the World Go Championship and artificial intelligence (AI) becomes the hottest topic, what will happen if these technologies integrate with solar power? Kyocera recently launched the whole new home energy management system (HEMS), using AI as a home energy housekeeper.
Kyocera’s HEMS – NAVIfitz can automatically control and adjust a solar power generation system, energy storage system and heat pump water heater. NAVIfitz can also deal with different situations using different modes. For example, the AI-based “Omakase (automatic) Operation Mode” can automatically forecast weather and power consumption as well as calculate the amount of power generated by solar panels and the surplus electricity of a battery. This mode can propose the power solution with the best efficiency and automatically control the conversion of electricity through AI.
In addition, the “Omakase (automatic) Operation Mode” can also change the energy management program anytime according to the actual operation, leading to higher residential energy efficiency.
NAVIfitz also has other modes, including the “self-consumption mode”, “solar power sale mode”, and “timer setting mode”. The main purpose of the “self-consumption mode” is to help household to achieve 100% utilization; the “solar power sale mode” focuses more on the sale of solar power to earn FiT income; lastly, the “timer setting mode” allows users to manually set the time slot for each piece of equipment according to their own lifestyle.
The manufacturer’s suggested retail price of the product’s main unit is ¥85,000 (excluding tax). Consumers can also purchase eight types of monitoring screens, with each cost ¥43,000 (excluding tax). The “self-consumption mode”, “solar power sale mode”, and “timer setting mode” are now on sale. The “Omakase (automatic Operation Mode” will be available after a free update scheduled in August 2017.
Japan aggressively promotes ZEH, stimulating the related technology development
While the Japanese market witnessed weaker PV demand recently, its solar application development still takes the lead in the world. Operating in coordination of lower FiT policy and higher electricity price expectation, the Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry (METI) plans to introduce a new home called (Zero-Energy House) in 2030, hoping to promote residential environmental protection and at the same time prepare energy supply when there are natural disasters.
For average home user, how to effectively use the power generated by solar panels will be the key to whether ZEH will work or not. Battery and heating equipment as well as HEMS will then become useful. EnergyTrend noticed that top-tier Japanese makers, such as Panasonic, Sharp, and Mitsubishi, have continually come up with HEMS solutions after 2014. Kyocera’s use of AI is the whole new development in the HEMS area after introducing the industry’s smallest 12kWh hybrid home energy storage system.
According to Topology Research Institute statistics, machine learning is the most powerful development of AI. The scope of application ranges from marketing, finance, security, transportation, and health care. As the Japanese government aggressively promotes ZEH, HEMS may be another development opportunity for AI.