At Schneider Electric, customer centricity is at the core of all its activities

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In Conversation with Mr. Anurag Garg,Vice President Solar & Energy Storage Business Schneider Electric India

1. Let’s begin with a glimpse of your company’s presence and offerings in India?

At Schneider Electric, our expertise are in solar power conversion and energy management. We have complete solution for photovoltaic integration and connection including power conversion (inverters, transformers and switchgear), electrical distribution, monitoring, supervision and technical support. We work as partners with our customers leveraging our project management capabilities with a comprehensive portfolio of Electrical Balance of Systems for solar energy, backed by a global service network.

We have powered more than 2 Giga watts (GW) of solar capacity in India through our diverse product range of inverters, transformers and other medium -voltage equipment commissioned across solar projects in India under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission (JNNSM) & other schemes. India’s cumulative solar capacity has crossed 12,000 MW, 20% of which is flowing through Schneider Electric’s equipment. 

Currently, Schneider Electric is supplying Solar equipment and products from four plants, namely at Bangalore, Baroda, Kolkata & Hyderabad, where we manufacture solar equipment such as Solar Inverters, Ring Main Units upto 33kV, Inverter Trafo, Power Trafo, Medium Voltage HT Panels upto 33kV, and Charge controllers. 

2. Being a leading manufacturer in the global PV inverter industry what makes your product offering different from others?

At Schneider Electric, customer centricity is at the core of all its activities. Our efforts are focused towards constant innovation with an aim to offer our customers best-in-class solutions, to achieve Lowest Cost of Energy over lifecycle of the Plant (LCOE). We invest 5% of our revenues annually in R&D initiatives. 

With digitization and Internet Of Things spearheading every industry today, we are well entrenched with the trends.  Our latest offering, Conext SmartGen, a 1500-volt utility scale power conversion system, provides greater efficiency in power generation with lower short-term and long-term costs, and far longer service life. It is the first power conversion platform for renewable energies that fully leverages the power of cloud connectivity and analytics.

Conext SmartGen™ records and stores its own operations and service history, has self-diagnostic capabilities and can send proactive service warnings and reports to the cloud. With Connectivity integrating the whole Energy Value Chain, we can truly make energy safe, reliable, efficient and sustainable. 

Our  products have been operating successfully for past several years in  harsh & stringent climatic conditions that prevail in India, especially in areas where Solar Plants are located. Manufactured locally in India at our state of art global manufacturing facility, the products are based on proven and tested global technology and references.

3. A brief on your growth in the past year and some milestones you wish to achieve this year.

Over the past one year our presence in the solar sector has grown over 50 percent. Last year, we supplied equipment for more than 500 MW of solar capacity, as against 1.5 GW in last four years. For 2017, our target is to supply and commission equipment for more than 500 MW solar projects. 

We are present across locations with our projects in the states of Punjab, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Chattisgarh, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Odisha, Bihar, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and TamilNadu

4. What have been the latest trends in demand for Solar Inverter market in India? Where do you see the next demand growth coming from?

Given the Government’s commitment of achieving a target of 100 GW of solar power by 2022 and its focus on clean sources of energy and reducing carbon emissions, we are expecting the future of solar inverter market to be favorable. Recent trends have been increase in size of Ground Mounted Solar Projects with more focus on Solar Parks.  The increase in the rooftop solar power has also led to a growth in demand of the product from commercial and residential sector. The market for industrial/commercial solar inverters has remained highly concentrated amongst majority of organized players manufacturing large capacity solar inverters especially for big commercial level usage. 

5. What have been the latest technology trends in solar inverter market globally & in India?

With increasing demands on inverter functions, there’s a lot of opportunity for innovation. Still,  many challenges remain, including price pressure. But companies are continuously innovating there offers to meet such challenges.  

Other key technology trends which are being adopted by Solar market are DC/AC ratio optimization, increased voltages & power blocks, intelligent &cloud connected Inverters with longer design life going upto 30 years are a few of the means by which inverter manufacturers are helping their customers keep costs down and increase efficiency. Also, we feel that this effort to reduce price (capex and opex) will accelerate the technology shift from 1000 V to 1500V components.

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