Hisayoshi Kobayashi
Senior Executive Officer
TMEIC
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View from the Top

More than an Inverter, a Power and Control System

Fri, 02/01/2019 - 13:07

Q: What makes TMEIC the perfect partner for project developers installing PV parks in Mexico?

A: We have a strong and wide expertise developing PV inverters. The first PV inverter that we installed outside of Japan, 30 years ago in Arizona, is still working properly. It is interesting to see how it was actually the panel component of the system that degraded and had to be changed. Since then, we strongly increased our manufacturing capacity. During 2012 we had the capacity to manufacture 100 units per month and in 2013 this jumped to 400 units. We have provided inverters all over the world to a wide array of projects.
We have seen a staggering amount of renewable energy plants, especially in terms of PV parks, being developed all around the world. In that sense, we are happy to see that Mexico has jumped on board, especially due to the good solar conditions present in the country. Our interest in Mexico was raised approximately two years ago as we started doing market research in the US and saw the tremendous potential of Mexico, with many plants already installed and many more in the pipeline. I am excited to help Mexico reach its clean energy commitments with our high-quality products.
Q: What makes TMEIC’s PV inverters the best option in the industry?

A: While for a PV park the panels are the key component to generate power, we like to consider that the heart of the park is the inverter, because without an inverter the change from DC to AC cannot happen, so nothing will work in the park. Because of this and the advanced engineering we place behind each of our products we do not call our products inverters, but Power and Control System (PCS). Our PCSs do not only offer the traditional inverting capacity of any inverter in the market, but also support with grid stability, voltage drop and frequency control capabilities, meaning it goes above and beyond and truly becomes the most important element of the PV park. Our PCSs are also ready to work together with Power Plant Controllers (PPCs), to have full control of the entire state of the PV park.

Q: How does TMEIC bridge higher CAPEX costs with the long-term benefits of high-quality inverter systems?
A: For us, excellent quality, reliability and durability are always set as a minimum standard along with the specific requirements of our clients. We are aware that a PCS is vital and cannot stop working for the proper functioning of the PV park, and because of that, we always aim toward delivering products that work non-stop. Of course, quality like that has a price that may be higher at the moment, but considering all the benefits of our systems the total cost of ownership sinks, together with the entire LCOE. The higher benefit for the customer is always at the forefront for us and we aim to meet and even surpass their expectations. That is our culture.
Q: How does TMEIC ensure its systems are properly installed to ensure they offer the greatest benefits?

A: We can provide EPC solutions related to the inverters, depending on the client requirements and state of the local value chain. In some countries, customers have required us to provide EPC services for the entire installation of the inverter, while in others, we simply deliver the system and tell the clients how to connect. It is up to the clients to choose which service to select, and so we are on the same page, we always maintain close communication with them. In that sense, we think globally but act locally. In Mexico, we have received a purchase order to supply 300MW of inverters. The installation will start soon, and we are in charge of supervising the installation, while the actual installation will be done by the customer.
Q: What role will batteries have in the development of PV parks in the future?

A: Batteries will be a really important element of the PV parks. We are already starting to work with these systems; in Japan we will provide a 100MW battery system along with 700MW from our PCS. The system will be useful to offer back-up power during short intervals when power is lost.