Japanese electronics giant Panasonic is set to retrofit its Welsh manufacturing factory via the use of hydrogen fuel cells, solar PV and battery storage.
The company announced yesterday (14 November) it would allocate around €130 million (£113 million) over two years into the launch of its RE100 demonstration production facility in Cardiff, Wales, subject to planning consent.
For the site, the company will combine 21 of its own hydrogen fuel cell generators, which have a total output of 105kW, with 290kW of solar PV panels and 1MWh of battery energy storage. Once operational, Panasonic said it will “help to reduce excess and wasted electricity and heat energy whilst simultaneously ensuring a stable supply of renewable power”.
It is hoped that this retrofit would be completed in 2024.
The firm also hinted at a similar pilot project that is set to be developed in another European location later next year. It is also worth noting that a RE100 demonstration facility is already in place in Japan.
Panasonic declared that its primary goal for the retrofit is to showcase that the site, which is used to manufacture microwave ovens and small appliances, can be fully powered via renewable sources.
Masahiro Shinada, CEO of Panasonic, said: “With a mission to contribute to the wellbeing of people, society and the planet, Panasonic takes a medium- to long-term view of its business, aiming to create a society that achieves both wellbeing and sustainability.
“By demonstrating the RE100 solution at our factory in the UK, we hope to create a new business that contributes to UK society and the fight against climate change. In addition, we aim to develop our business in the long term to achieve a hydrogen society and carbon neutrality.”
The Welsh government minister for the Economy, Vaughan Gething added that he was “thrilled” that Panasonic continues to invest in the nation and that it is a “momentous occasion” for the UK.
Gething said: “For decades, Wales has invested in strong partnerships with Japanese businesses, and I want to extend my sincere thanks to Panasonic for cementing their ongoing commitment to the workforce in Cardiff and to the wider Welsh economy.
“I’m delighted Panasonic continue to invest in Wales and our shared ambitions for strong economic growth. Not only are they bringing innovative, groundbreaking technology to the Welsh capital but also supporting the Welsh government’s journey to net zero by 2050. Meeting those targets requires active industrial policy and a commitment to partners, such as Panasonic. This is how we can deliver the technologies, infrastructure and projects that bring about a stronger, fairer, and greener Wales.”