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Thursday - October 29, 2020

Japan Weather Association and MinebeaMitsumi Aim to Improve Weather Prediction Accuracy by Utilizing Smart Lighting Data

Japan Weather Association (Headquarters: Toshima-ku, Tokyo, Director General: Futoshi Osada, hereinafter referred as the “JWA”) and MinebeaMitsumi Inc. (Headquarters: Kitasaku-gun, Nagano, Representative Director, CEO&COO: Yoshihisa Kainuma, hereinafter referred as “MinebeaMitsumi”) are working together to improve the accuracy of weather forecasts by utilizing “smart lighting data”. As one of the practical efforts, we started a demonstration experiment for improving the accuracy of solar radiation / photovoltaic output forecasting from September 2020 to March 2021.

Background

“Smart Lighting” is an outdoor lighting technology, which combined IoT technologies on street lights owned by local governments. This technology saves energy and reduces CO2 emissions by adjusting LEDs and lighting. By analyzing the sensor information of smart lighting in real time, we expect that it can be used in various ways, such as improving the prediction accuracy of weather information. Smart lighting can be regarded as one of the energy optimization initiatives in smart cities*1, and is expected to be widely used by local governments.

Purpose of Cooperation

We aim to develop new smart city solutions by combining the advanced weather forecasting technologies of JWA and smart lighting that MinebeaMitsumi prepares to introduce.

JWA has a highly precise weather forecasting technology. By utilizing smart lighting data from smart cities, we expect to have further improvement in prediction accuracy.

MinebeaMitsumi has developed its own smart lighting as smart city solutions. This smart lighting enables not only lighting management but also real-time collection of temperature, illuminance, and other data from the attached sensors. Widespread use of smart lighting to a smart city enables collection of detailed sensor data in the entire region of the smart city.

Through these efforts, JWA and MinebeaMitsumi will contribute to the realization of smart cities and Society 5.0*2, which enable advanced energy management.

Collaboration image (example: Sophistication of solar radiation / photovoltaic output forecast)

Outline of Demonstration Experience

As one of the initiatives in which JWA and MinebeaMitsumi collaborate, we conduct a demonstration experiment in “operations related to improving the accuracy of solar radiation forecasting using smart lighting data” (hereinafter referred as “demonstration experiment”) from September 2020 to March 2021. This was commissioned by Mitsubishi Research Institute, Inc., the leading operator, that conducts the “Year 2020 Consignment Business on Examination and Verification regarding Measures for Establishing a Digital Data Infrastructure Utilizing the Existing Infrastructure in Region (Street Lights, etc.)” publicly solicited by the Ministry of the Environment, Government of Japan.

In this demonstration experiment, we use smart lighting that combined “high-efficiency LED street light with wireless function (Photo 1)” and the “environment sensor (Photo 2)” originally developed by MinebeaMitsumi. Data is collected by MinebeaMitsumi and JWA analyze data and verify the possibility of improving the accuracy of solar radiation prediction.

MinebeaMitsumi and JWA have been studying how to utilize this environmental sensor as an IoT small weather sensor. Using a development stage prototype, we conducted field observations and long-term observation tests and confirmed that good results can be obtained.

*1: Smart city

A sustainable city or district where management (planning, maintenance, management / operations, etc.) is carried out by utilizing new technologies such as ICT to aim for overall optimization and for the purpose of solving various urban issues.

*2: Society 5.0

A future society following the information society (Society 4.0), proposed in the 5th Science and Technology Basic Plan drafted by the Government of Japan.

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