Panasonic and the government of Singapore are working to create Asia's first public-housing test bed for technology designed to provide total energy solutions and, ultimately, link to a smart grid.
The plan involves a block of public housing units in Punggol Eco-Town. Singapore wants to transform the former fishing and farming village into the country's first green community, and last year it began remaking the town as a living laboratory for green technology.
In Singapore, public housing is open to the middle class, and more than 80 percent of residents live in government-developed housing. A pilot in such an environment is expected to provide a good example of how effective sweeping energy-saving systems would be among the general public.
Panasonic is providing the technology for the project, which is expected to be one of several — involving a variety of companies — that will seek to address better management of energy and water use, pollution and carbon emissions, as well as the evolution of a smarter grid, transportation and buildings -- a scenario that illustrates the concept of VERGE.
The total energy solutions pilot, which is scheduled to be underway by year's end and conclude in 2013, will feature solar, storage and efficiency systems from Panasonic including:
- Solar Power: Rooftop photovoltaic panels are to power building services like elevators, lighting and water pumps. The goal is to bring the commonly operated areas as close to zero emissions as possible.
- Energy Storage: Lithium-ion batteries will enable energy from the solar power system to be stored for use at night.
- Smart Meters, Monitoring and Demand Response: By connecting government-owned smart meters to Panasonic's Home Energy Management System and its Smart Energy Gateway, residents will have an in-home tool to help them reduce energy use and ease their draw on the power grid during times of peak demand.
Panasonic's President Fumio Ohtsubo and other executives outlined the plan earlier this month. Here is a video clip of their presentation:
Panasonic's push into home energy management comes as IT giants Google, Microsoft and Cisco back away from the market. The move is the latest effort by Panasonic in a campaign to become the top green innovator in electronics by 2018, when the company celebrates its 100th anniversary.
Top image of Punggol from the Singapore Housing and Development Board. Video by Panasonic.