Sanyo’s packaged life off-grid

New Noah-san
New Noah-san

Once upon a time off-grid living was about existing on your own terms, independent of ‘the system’.  But one of the great strengths of capitalism is its ability to absorb new, even threatening ideas and turn them into a business opportunity.  So it is no great surprise to learn that Sanyo, the world’s largest solar panel manufacturer, says it has begun selling onventional homes that can be taken off-grid at the flick of a switch.

Sanyo Homes, the electrical giant’s domestic arm in Japan, is marketing all-electric homes equipped with lithium ion batteries for back up for when demand exceeds solar generating capacity or the grid fails.

Most of its power comes from a 3.78kw solar power system. But each home will also be kitted out with 1. 57kw lithium ion batteries made by parent Sanyo Electric Co. (TSE:6764). They ensure that power is available at night and during prolongedperiods of rain when the solar panels don’t function. During power failures, the homes will automatically switch to battery power.

The homes are also fitted with a heat-pump water heater that uses solar energy and 10 LED light fixtures that run on direct-current power to minimize power loss.
As you might expect such neat packaging doesn’t come cheap. According to Sanyo the total cost of the energy-saving specifications in the homes amounts to about $62,000.

But they do qualify, in Japan at least, for $30,000 in government subsidies. So a 132 sq. meter home will cost $354,000 or $324,000 after the subsidy. Sanyo didn’t respond to questions about when their off-grid packaged homes would be available in the US and Europe.

3 Responses

  1. I would like to mention that to buy a home of that size, for that price in japan, you’d have to live in the farthest remote areas, because that price would barely get you a one-room apartment in Tokyo

  2. 3.78kW would still fall a long way short of the average European’s daily demand of 125kWh (UNDP, 2007), and the size and expense of solar arrays to provide capacity will depend on the intensity of solar insolation at the site. So not everyone will benefit in the same way. As such, Sanyo’s product remains a bit of a gimmick until we drastically cut demand by increasing energy conservation and efficiency. Even then, off-gridding may only suit a few who can afford the set-up costs.

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