Panasonic Corporation recently announced that it has developed “eneloop solar storage,” a small-scale power storage system that provides LED lighting for areas without mains electricity. The product will be shipped to regions in Asia and Africa from November 2015.The product is a compact power harvesting, storage, and lighting system. Electric power generated by solar cells during the day is stored in a nickel-metal hydride battery unit. This can then be used as a selectable night light and power source for charging small items of equipment, such as cellphones.
At present, 1.3 billion people worldwide*1 live in areas with no or intermittent mains electricity. This means that approximately 20% of the world’s population (one person in five)*1 lives without enjoying the advantages of electricity. In most non-electrified areas, people use kerosene lamps, rechargeable lanterns, diesel generators, etc., to provide lighting. However, these forms of lighting equipment have numerous drawbacks, including toxic exhaust, low levels of illumination, and high running costs. Cellphone networks are, however, widespread in these areas, despite the lack of an equipment-recharging infrastructure.
Panasonic is committed to the reliable supply of clean and safe light and power. This commitment led to the production of its “Solar Lantern” in 2013-a portable lantern that provides non-electrified areas with the light that people need. Now the company has added “eneloop solar storage” to its lineup of products. The product comes with a straight tube LED and a bulb-type LED, which deliver bright, high-quality light, and the unit can also be used as a high-capacity power source for charging multiple cellphones. The new product will be marketed not only through existing sales dealers but also via international organizations such as NPOs and NGOs that are helping people living in non-electrified areas to develop a better standard of living environment.
1.Equipped with two types of LED lamps with 1.5 W (bulb-type) and 5 W (straight tube) power output.
2.Expected life for approximately 5 years,*2 thanks to the Panasonic nickel- metal hydride battery.
3.Fully charges in about 5 hours*3 with power from a high-power solar panel.
The product can be used for lighting in homes, hospitals, schools, stores, etc., and as a power source for recharging small-scale equipment, such as cellphones.
Countries*4 for product release
Africa – Ethiopia, Tanzania, etc.
Asia – Myanmar, the Philippines, Vietnam, Indonesia, Thailand, etc.
The product has been selected as one of the Good Design Best 100 among the winners of the Good Design Prize 2015 by the Japan Institute of Design Promotion.
*1 Source: 2014 World Energy Outlook (IEA)
*2 This is the lifespan estimated by Panasonic, assuming that the product will be charged and discharged at 20°C once a day. The lifespan varies according to the conditions under which it is used.
*3 This is the charge time required in sunny conditions in an outdoor environment, assuming that a completely flat battery is being fully recharged. The charge time varies according to the remaining battery capacity, ambient temperature, etc.
*4 Panasonic is also planning to release the product in other regions, but there are currently no plans to sell it in the Japanese market.
Features in Detail
1. Equipped with two types of LED lamps offering 1.5 W (bulb-type) and 5 W (straight tube) power output
The product comes with a 1.5 W bulb-type LED and a 5 W dimmable straight-tube LED. The LEDs are fitted with a 5 m cable that enables the lamps to be used in different rooms.When the product is fully charged, this combination of LEDs can provide uninterrupted light for approximately 5 – 24 hours.*5
2. Expected life for approximately 5 years, thanks to the Panasonic nickel- metal hydride battery.
Panasonic has adopted highly durable nickel-metal hydride battery cells that have also been utilized for backup devices, such as uninterruptible power supplies (UPSs). Thanks to these battery cells, it has achieved an expected product lifespan of about 5 years.
3. Fully charges in about 5 hours with power from the high-power solar panel.
The built-in nickel-metal hydride battery can be fully charged in about 5 hours using the power from the 15 W high-power solar panel.
4. Equipped with a USB socket that enables the product to charge cellphones, smartphones, etc.
The product is also equipped with a 1 A USB socket that allows the fully-charged product to charge up to three smartphones.*6
5. Dust proof/spray proof structure equivalent to protection grade IP52*7 specified in the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) standards
The main unit and the LED lamps have a dust proof/spray proof structure equivalent to IEC protection grade IP52, a structure that is resistant to dust and rain. The solar panel, which is exposed to the outdoor environment, has a dust proof/spray proof structure equivalent to IEC protection grade IP54.
*5 This service time is ensured when the product is fully charged at room temperature. The service time of the LED lamps varies depending on ambient temperature.
*6 Assuming that the smartphone is completely drained of power, 1400 mAh built-in batteries can be fully recharged.
Actual charge times and the number of charge cycles vary depending on various factors, such as the use status of the battery, ambient temperature, and operation status of the smartphone.The USB cords used for charging individual mobile devices vary according to the cellphone company and device to be charged. Check your USB cord to see if it is the correct one, and if not, obtain a suitable type.Some mobile devices may not be rechargeable because of their specific input voltages, output plug shapes, and other miscellaneous reasons.
*7 Protection grade IP52 refers to a structure in which ingress of dust is not entirely prevented, but it does not enter in sufficient quantity to interfere with the satisfactory operation of the equipment; and vertically dripping water has no harmful effect when the enclosure is tilted at an angle up to 15° from its normal position.Protection grade IP54 refers to a structure that is protected from limited dust ingress and which is protected from water spray from any direction.