Toyota Releases Home Energy Storage System
Toyota Motor Corporation has released a home energy storage system that can utilize energy from electric vehicles to power homes in the event of a power outage.
The system can be used along with a solar panel to optimize electricity supply to homes during daytime or nighttime hours and even in a power outage. The battery system can even tap into power stored by electric vehicles (EVs) at 100 V alternating current (AC) to provide power to homes in an emergency when power is not so readily available. The O-Uchi Kyuden system can be pre-ordered and sales in Japan will begin in August through home builders and general construction companies. Gouda Co., Ltd. was selected as Japan's first authorized retailer of Toyota’s "home power supply system."
An example installation of Toyota’s “home power supply system.” Image used courtesy of Toyota
What are the Benefits of Home Storage Battery Systems?
Renewable energy sources such as solar, wind, and hydroelectric power are intermittent because they depend on natural factors like the weather, meaning the amount of power generated by these sources can vary considerably from day to day.
The intermittency of renewable energy sources is a challenge for the grid because it needs to provide a consistent power supply to customers. The grid can deal with this challenge by storing excess electricity generated by renewables and using demand response programs.
Home storage battery systems can benefit society by reducing reliance on the power grid. Consumers no longer need to worry about blackouts or grid shortages because they can use stored energy from their home storage battery system to keep electricity flowing.
To provide reliable power, power systems engineers need to have a deep understanding of the energy grid. They also need to know how to use the grid effectively and efficiently. The more they understand the grid, the more they can contribute in terms of optimizing it.
One way that power systems engineers can optimize the grid is by installing localized battery storage systems. These allow them to store energy when there is an excess supply and release it when there is excess demand. This provides a way for engineers to maintain a steady supply of power throughout the day. Although Toyota’s O-Uchi Kyuden System is intended for residential use, a system like this could be used by power system engineers in an industrial context.
The O-Uchi Kyuden System
Toyota’s home storage battery system can be charged from a 100V outlet from battery electric vehicles (BEVs), plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs), fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs), and HEVs. This capability ensures an additional backup power supply should a power outage occur that has been caused by adverse weather conditions or another natural disaster. The technology uses EV battery technology such as Toyota's battery control to provide a rated capacity of 8.7 kWh and a rated output of 5.5 kWh.
A configuration diagram for the O-Uchi Kyuden System. Image used courtesy of Toyota
A wireless local area network (LAN) router is connected to a hybrid power conditioner to allow for storage capacity, operation mode (smart mode, storage mode, normal mode, or energy saving mode), and other settings to be visualized and set up in real-time from a dedicated app.
A depiction of a smartphone being used to view power supply generation. Image used courtesy of Toyota
Customers can use the app on a smartphone or tablet (which is currently only available in Japanese) to check their power supply status, self-sufficiency rate, the amount of electricity sold, and more.