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Case Study

ITOCHU and Gridshare: facilitating the green transition in Japan

ITOCHU and Gridshare

We are proud to continue working with ITOCHU to decarbonize Japan’s power market

With the aim to become climate neutral by 2050, the Japanese government is actively promoting decarbonization and digitalization of its economy, paving the way for a net-zero future.

ITOCHU, a leading Japanese trading house with business interests and holdings worldwide, is at the forefront of Japan’s green transition. The company is committed to helping decarbonize the grid by ensuring a quick and seamless rollout of its Smart Star ESS, an advanced 9.8kWh energy storage system that ITOCHU offers alongside solar PV.

The company wanted to enable its customers to make the most of their self-generated energy and maximize carbon savings. ITOCHU also needed tools to allow device rollout at scale, such as fleet management tools to be able to control and provide customer support.

ITOCHU chose Gridshare as their software provider to unlock more value to the end customer and support the deployment of their Smart Star ESS. With our technology, ITOCHU arguably has the largest connected battery fleet globally, reaching the milestone of over 35,000 residential batteries connected to our Gridshare platform.

Key achievements:

Gridshare software’s optimization at a device-level

Gridshare has been integrated with the Smart Star ESS to enable device-level optimization across the entire fleet. This AI-driven platform identifies a home’s solar generation and consumption patterns alongside weather forecast data and import and export tariffs. Based on all these inputs, Gridshare generates a personalized daily charging plan for each customer, which is optimized to cover a household’s electricity need at the lowest cost possible using rooftop solar generation and off-peak energy. ITOCHU customers can monitor their battery’s performance in their customized app, which were localized for Japanese users.

Our analysis shows that the addition of Gridshare’s AI optimization saves the average ITOCHU customer an additional 14% on top of what they would have saved from having a battery without smart control.

Integrating with local weather alerts

Protecting against grid outages

Due to climate change, extreme weather events such as typhoons and blizzards are becoming increasingly frequent in Japan and often cause severe damage. Therefore, another critical element of the value of an ESS in the country is protection against grid outages. Gridshare actively monitors weather alert systems — integrating with local weather alerts from the Japanese Meteorological Agency — to provide a whole-home backup.

When a severe weather alert is received for a particular region, devices in that area are automatically charged to and held 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.

Providing fleet management tools

As well as AI optimization and end-user apps, we provided ITOCHU with fleet management tools that have been critical to their significant device rollout. We have integrated their customer onboarding process into the Gridshare platform and provided detailed tooling for the management of customers and their batteries.

Our Gridshare platform gives ITOCHU visibility of the savings we generate for their customers, maps for assessing their flexibility resources in a given area, and an understanding of live power flows and energy analytics over time.

Preparing for grid services with residential participation in Japan

Due to the intermittent nature of renewable energy sources, we need more flexibility on the grid to respond to increasingly volatile generation. As the residential energy storage system market is gaining momentum, flexibility markets that allow distributed energy resources (DERs) to participate are going to become more established in the next few years.

By using smart technology solutions like Gridshare software, households with intelligent batteries will be able to actively participate in the electricity system, creating virtual power plants (VPPs). VPPs are key to unlocking residential flexibility as they can aggregate a large number of small assets and coordinate a change in behavior to respond to grid signals. These VPP-provided services will help improve the resilience and reliability of renewable energy on the grid through more local energy management.

In Japan, while VPPs containing large industrial assets have begun to participate in some markets, residential participation in grid services is expected to begin in 2024, with some trials due to be rolled out soon. With over 35,000 ITOCHU devices on the Gridshare platform already, it is clear that VPPs of distributed assets will play a key role in grid management once markets allow it. We are poised and ready to generate value for the grid and for consumers when this reality arrives.

Highlights

  • Over 35,000 residential batteries connected to our Gridshare platform in Japan
  • Optimizing devices and planning for backup power
  • Additional savings of 14% with Gridshare’s optimization
  • Fleet tools for customer and device management

About ITOCHU

ITOCHU is a leading Japanese general trading company engaged in import/export, textiles, machinery, metals, minerals, energy, chemicals, food, general products, realty, ICT, and finance.  ITOCHU was founded in 1858, has approximately 120 bases in 63 countries, and had revenues of $100.919B as of March 31, 2021.

ITOCHU has also invested in several internationally recognized brands, including Hunting World, LeSportsac, and Mila Schon, and trademark rights for Converse in Japan. It invested in Paul Smith Group Holdings Limited in 2006 based on a longtime license relationship and invested in Kwik-Fit, the UK automotive specialist, in 2011.

"Moixa has pioneered battery management, and we are proud to be investing and working together to target the rapidly growing energy storage market in Japan. Moixa’s Gridshare will help our customers get more value for their home batteries and will offer solutions to help our partners manage Japan’s low-carbon transition."
Koji Hasegawa, General Manager, Industrial Chemicals, ITOCHU