(Bloomberg) — A venture between Toshiba Corp. and
Mitsubishi Electric Corp. is more than doubling capacity to
produce a key solar device, tracking growth in Asia and the U.S.
Production of inverters, which allow solar power to be fed
into grids, will begin at a factory in Texas in late July and at
a plant in Yancheng, China, as early as October, said Hidehiko
Kikuchi, head of the power electronics systems division at
Toshiba Mitsubishi-Electric Industrial Systems Corp. TMEIC has
been making inverters at three plants in Tokyo, Shanghai and
“We need to become a local player to become global,”
Kikuchi said in an interview. “Our idea is to build a factory
where there is a big market.”
TMEIC’s annual production capacity will increase to 6.5
gigawatts by March 2016, from 2.9 gigawatts in early 2014,
according to the company.
The 50-50 venture between Toshiba and Mitsubishi Electric
has been increasing inverter shipments in the last few years,
buoyed by Japan’s clean energy incentive program introduced in
July 2012, according to Kikuchi.
The maker of inverters for large-scale solar plants saw
shipments more than triple to 1.6 gigawatts in fiscal 2013 from
a year ago. Shipment rose to 2.5 gigawatts last year.
TMEIC will ship more than 3.5 gigawatts this year,
according to company estimates. It is projecting the ratio of
overseas shipment will keep rising to 70 percent by fiscal 2018
from this year’s 25 percent with a focus on the U.S., India and
China, according to Hisayoshi Kobayashi, who oversees TMEIC’s
TMEIC ranked fifth in production volume for inverters of
all sizes, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance. SMA Solar
Technology AG, the top maker, is seeing its share shrink as
rivals such as Sungrow Power Supply Co., ABB Ltd. and TMEIC
increase production, according to BNEF data.
Kikuchi said TMEIC wants a 20 percent share of the global
inverter market by 2020.
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Reed Landberg at
Iain Wilson at
Iain Wilson, Indranil Ghosh