Sony makes DC microgrid software open source


Sony is making available its DC microgrid Autonomous Power Interchange System (APIS) software module freely available for use.

The APIS is the power interchange management software that comprises the core module of Sony Computer Science Laboratories’ microgrid Open Energy System and the proprietary peer-to-peer power interchange technology.

The Open Energy System is designed for use in DC microgrids in which decentralised energy resources such as solar, which have a DC output, are directly connected to the grid. With the transition from the AC infrastructure of the traditional grid to a growing decentralised DC infrastructure, DC microgrids are attracting increasing interest in Europe and elsewhere.

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Sony CSL says it has been trialling Open Energy System based microgrid technologies in Okinawa in Japan and locations in Africa for five years, which has confirmed the technology to be stable and practical.

In the Okinawa pilot at the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology (OIST), 19 faculty residences have been operating on solar panels and batteries controlled with the APIS technology since December 2014. The system has provided approximately 10 hours of continuous power, even when the regular AC power supply has been shut down for inspection. Furthermore, it has provided up to almost two-thirds of the daily power supply, with an annual average of one-third of the total power supply from renewables.

Hiroaki Kitano, Sony CSL President and CEO, says the decision to release the software as open source is based on the company’s mission to ‘carry out research for the future of humanity’.

“When it comes to climate change, we need to take actions which proceed on the assumption that we are already in danger of ‘climate departure’, where the climate undergoes irreversible change. With this in mind, it is vital that we are able to provide stable supplies of power in unstable environments through the swift and widespread adoption of renewable energy systems. By making OES/APIS open source, we hope to increase the number of stakeholders in this project and contribute to the realisation of a sustainable society.”

Features offered by the Open Energy System include scalability and the efficient use of renewables in a system with a high degree of resilience, according to the statement. The APIS functionality enables P2P power interchange autonomously and flexibly, in response to the needs of individual residences and facilities within the community and to the fluctuations of the renewable supply.

As the supply, demand balance within the community is carefully regulated, greater energy independence results, the statement says.