Leading Japanese residential solar and storage provider ITOCHU used Lunar Energy’s Gridshare platform to increase savings and resiliency for households with the ITOCHU Smart Star Energy Storage System (ESS).
We’re working with ITOCHU to deploy tens of thousands of home batteries with AI-powered Lunar Gridshare software to maximize savings and deliver reliable back-up power during grid outages.
The Opportunity: Unlocking value from ITOCHU’s home battery
ITOCHU is one of the largest Japanese general trading companies with a strong pedigree in residential energy storage. ITOCHU saw an opportunity to provide greater value for its customers by customizing and automating how its 9.8 kilowatt-hour (kWh) Smart Star ESS charge and discharge. In the face of climate change-triggered typhoons, blizzards and rising electricity prices, the company enabled its batteries to help customers reduce grid demand during expensive on-peak periods while also providing better resilience when the grid is down.
Simultaneously optimizing savings for thousands of individual devices requires advanced software that is reliable, flexible, and scalable, and ITOCHU chose Lunar Gridshare to empower its customers to maximize the value of their batteries.
The Lunar Solution
Lunar Gridshare is a cloud-based, device-agnostic software platform for distributed energy resources (DER). Using artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML), Gridshare optimizes DER behavior to save customers money, reduce carbon emissions, and prepare homes for incoming storms. With 59,000 DERs connected across Asia, Europe, and North America, Lunar Gridshare has a proven track record for delivering dynamic and responsive energy solutions.
Personalized daily optimization
The Lunar team deployed Gridshare across tens of thousands of ITOCHU Smart Star ESS to deliver optimal device control and achieve the best possible bill savings.
Using machine learning, the platform creates solar generation and energy consumption predictions for every home based on its previous behavior and weather forecasts. With these inputs, and considering the customer’s time-of-use tariff and minimum backup reserve, Gridshare then generates a personalized charging plan every day for every customer. This approach ensures that the battery is doing the right thing for the customer on that specific day in order to reduce their bill as much as possible.
Intelligent backup power
Beyond daily optimization of Smart Star ESS, Gridshare also actively tracks severe weather alerts from the Japanese Meteorological Agency to ensure the batteries can deliver whole-home backup during a grid outage. When a severe weather alert is received for a particular region, Gridshare tells devices in that area to automatically charge to and hold at 100% in anticipation of any potential outage. The battery is kept at full charge as long as the weather alerts continue, and then the software releases the battery back to its AI-driven optimization mode after the weather threat has ended.
Smart Star owners with Lunar Gridshare can track how self-sufficient their energy usage is, as well as adjust charging settings on a mobile app through the Gridshare Customer API.
The Result: 14% additional savings and reliable back-up power during natural disasters
In total, ITOCHU has deployed Lunar Gridshare across more than 35,000 Smart Star batteries in Japan. Lunar Gridshare delivers an additional 14% savings for the average ITOCHU customer beyond what they would have saved with a home battery and its default operating modes.
ITOCHU is now using a full suite of Gridshare products, including Gridshare Partner for fleet management and the API for their end customer app. Gridshare Partner gives ITOCHU visibility into generated savings for customers, detailed device level details to assist customer queries and an understanding of fleet-level power flows and analytics.
Lunar Gridshare’s weather backup function proved critical on September 20th, 2022. Typhoon Nanmadol hit the southwestern Japanese island of Kyushu, where more than 3,000 ITOCHU Smart Star owners live. By 10PM on September 19th, around 500 customers with the batteries in the area that opted in to have weather alerting had automatically entered back-up mode to ensure they were 100% charged before the typhoon was predicted to hit. As the island weathered the storm the next day, all 3,000+ ITOCHU devices continued to intelligently charge when connected to grid power, and then provided back-up power when the grid went down. Some households lost grid connection for several days, but thanks to Lunar Gridshare, ITOCHU batteries were able to balance household consumption, solar energy production, and battery state of charge, ensuring continuous backup power. Once the storm passed, all Smart Star ESS then returned to their daily Gridshare optimization mode.
Looking forward: Even more value from VPPs in Japan
As residential ESS continue to be deployed across Japan, markets will continue to develop that allow for distributed energy resources (DERs) — like ITOCHU’s Smart Star ESS products — to become active participants and benefit from new revenue sources.
By using smart technology solutions like Gridshare, households with intelligent batteries will be able to actively participate in the electricity system by charging off solar or when rates are low, and reducing grid consumption. Known as virtual power plants (VPPs), these dynamic systems are key to unlocking even more value for ITOCHU, its customers, and the grid.
With over 35,000 ITOCHU devices on the Gridshare platform already, Lunar is ready to start delivering this value.
"Lunar Gridshare has helped our customers to get more value from their home batteries and safeguard their homes from unfortunate weather events. Solutions like this enable Japan's low-carbon transition and we at ITOCHU are very proud to be leading the charge by growing the energy storage market and enabling more energy prosumer propositions."
– Maiko Mori, Business Development Coordinator, ITOCHU
- 35,000+ Japanese-owned residential batteries connected
- 14% savings for ITOCHU customers beyond default battery modes
- Automated weather backup functionality
- 100% uptime of the opt-in systems during outage after a storm
- Fleet tools for customer and device management
- Future-ready for upcoming VPP programs