New ‘Ene-Farm’ Home Fuel Cell System is More Affordable and Easier to Install

January 17, 2013 by Jeff Shepard

Tokyo Gas Co., Ltd. and Panasonic Corporation have jointly developed a new version of their 'Ene-Farm' home fuel cell. The price of the new system will be 1,995,000 yen (with the standard backup heat source; including tax; excluding installation fee). This is about 760,000 yen less (about 27%) than the recommended retail price of the "Ene-Farm" model currently on the market, made possible by a reduction in the number of components.

It is the first time that the recommended retail price of an "Ene-Farm" product in Japan has been less than 2 million yen. Due to a reduction in the size of the equipment, the required installation depth has been decreased from 900 mm to 750 mm. Since the backup heat source has also been separated from the hot water unit, the systems can now be even more easily installed in a wider variety of places. The new design has achieved an overall efficiency of 95.0% (LHV).

This is the first time that an "Ene-Farm" product in Japan includes a remote control with color display as a standard feature. Since the size of the screen is also larger, the text and graphics are even easier to view. Panasonic manufactures the fuel cell unit and supplies it to Tokyo Gas in combination with a hot water unit and backup heat source produced by Gastar Co., Ltd., a subsidiary of Tokyo Gas. The new model will be sold by Tokyo Gas from April 1, 2013.

The new systems will be available to the general public in three models, jointly developed by Tokyo Gas and Panasonic. Since the world's first 'Ene-Farm' systems were put on general sale in May 2009, Panasonic has now shipped a total of about 21,000 units throughout Japan as of the end of December 2012, of which about 15,000 have been sold by Tokyo Gas.

For FY2013, Panasonic will complete a production setup to enable an annual production capacity 50% greater than its current annual production forecast to more than 15,000 units, while Tokyo Gas will aim for annual sales of 12,000 units - 70% more than the FY2012 sales target of 7,100 units.