We already saw some of the ways that the Eco Ideas Home saves energy, but in order to become totally emission-free, the home would also need to generate its own energy. Our tour guide showed us Panasonic’s 3-pronged plan to accomplish this: during the day, solar power would be collected via the home’s rooftop array, while at night, Panasonic fuel cells would generate electricity by using hydrogen and oxygen and energy stored in the home’s lithium-ion storage batteries could be used.
Next, we actually got to see the home’s 5060w solar array in action. The array is made up of 22 Panasonic HIT solar panels, which are slightly translucent and can absorb sunlight via both their fronts and their backs (meaning that if you had a white roof, you could collect even more solar power when sunlight is reflected off on your rooftop onto the backs of the panels). We were curious as to why the array appeared to be missing two panels (as you can see in the previous photo) and Panasonic Vice President Peter Fannon and Media Relations Manager Akira Kadota explained that the reason was that since the company’s latest solar panels are even more efficient, they were able to use less panels and generate the same amount of power.