Intersolar North America: Tabuchi’s market entry points to increasing internationalization

The Intersolar North America trade show continued today in San Francisco, with the increasing competition and internationalization of the U.S. inverter market becoming increasingly apparent. Japan’s Tabuchi is exhibiting at Intersolar North America for the first time and is offering a battery system and a commercial-scale inverter to the North American market.

Tabuchi’s 10kWh EneTelus Intelligent Battery System (EIBS) was presented to the U.S. market for the first time this week. The battery system utilizes Panasonic’s lithium ion technology and the company claims that as it is an integrated unit, with power conversion and power electronics integrated into the product, it is an easier install.

The EIBS storage unit is designed for the residential storage market, with the battery able to provide back up power in the event of a power outage, a key driver of the U.S. storage market where net metering applies in over 40 states. Despite the limiting influence of net metering, battery storage is a major talking point at this year’s show. Tabuchi founded its U.S. operation two years ago as a precursor to entering the market, after a number of years of thriving on the back of the Japanese PV boom.

The Japanese company, which has around 25 years of experience in the Japanese power electronics market, said that its batteries can be pooled to provide grid services. It said that in Toronto, Canada it has supplied a project in which 30 of its battery units have been coupled to a substation to support the grid.

Tabuchi’s second product for the U.S. market is its EneTelus Mega Value System (EMVAS). The EMVAS 25kW inverter is targeted at the commercial rooftop PV market, and employs a six-string design, which can continue to deliver PV energy particularly in applications where shading may be a factor. Tabuchi claims that the EMVS can deliver up to 20% more production when compared to conventional inverters in these circumstances.

“When people hear Japanese manufacturer they think reliable and high quality. But they also react that products must be expensive,” Tabuchi’s America head Harumi McClure told pv magazine. “But Tabuchi’s long history in OEM has helped it to ‘sharped our pencil’ and reduce costs.”

Both units are being manufactured in Tabuchi facilities in Japan and Thailand.

pv magazine has published a special storage free download for Intersolar 2015, covering a number of market and technical developments in the battery field, along with a selection of 20 technologies turning heads.