Shikoku Electric Power Co Inc (Yonden) and Shikoku Research Institute Inc (Takamatsu City), which is affiliated with Yonden, announced May 22, 2019, that they will test a remote control method to use solar electricity for heating water with electric water heaters installed at residential houses.
The test period will be about a year, starting from the fall of 2019. In the test, the amount of solar electricity generated on the following day in the Shikoku region will be predicted based on weather forecasts. By shifting part of the water-heating operations of electric water heaters and "EcoCute" water heaters from nighttime hours to daytime hours on the next day, the companies will effectively use solar electricity and improve the supply-demand balance of power.
Control signals that Shikoku Research Institute transmits via a 3G/LTE network will be sent to the reception unit of each household's water heater at one time by broadcast-type wireless communication via relay stations. In the test, Yonden and Shikoku Research Institute will check the demand-response (DR) technology developed by Shikoku Research Institute and evaluate the effect of the technology and its influence on customers' convenience.
The two companies will call for participants in the test from their customers and collect, analyze and evaluate data from 40 houses that have targeted electric water heater products and are located in Takamatsu City, Chusan District or Seisan District. Based on knowledge obtained from the test and opinions from the participants, they will examine the possibility of the commercialization of the technology.