In an effort to help pave the way forward for alternative energy in everyday consumer life in Japan, Sanyo has recently begun installing solar powered e-bike (electric bicycle hybrid) charging stations for daily commuters. The charging stations act as parking lots and are able to store and charge up to 40 electric bicycles, with an estimated total daily capacity of 100 bicycles.
The charging stations at first resemble many standard parking lots found throughout the area that have been in operation for years, yet on the roof is housed a 7.56kW solar panel measuring roughly 46 square meters (roughly 500 square feet). The solar panels are then directly linked to a li-ion battery storage system that can allow for users to have access to energy both day and night as well as in poor weather conditions. These batteries provide direct user access for charging personal bicycles in addition to powering the LED lights illuminating the lot and other emergency power ports allowing for electrical access should other power be unavailable for some reason.
Although the parking lots/charging stations have come with some hefty initial costs to Sanyo they have been hailed by all as a great success thanks to their ease of usage, security and additional emergency power provision features built-in to the hardy design. As of right now two such lots are currently found in Japan’s Setagaya city near subway lines, with an additional third lot planned for construction soon. Current concerns over production limiting widespread usage are the costs associated with the installation of the HIT solar panels used to provide the power in addition to the li-ion battery packs used for energy storage as well as the overall security of the installed materials to protect them from thieves or vandals, however even with Sanyo’s slow expansion plan they should be found in more and more locations over the coming years as well as in other countries should this prove ultimately successful in Japan’s initial market.
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