Friday, December 15, 2017

POWERZONE

Schneider is a firm believer of solar potential not only in India but globally

 

Within a short span of time Schneider Electric has assumed a leadership position in the India’s solar sector. Going forward the company is looking to increase its emphasis on research and development and offering innovative products and solutions in order to achieve growth. ANURAG GARG, VICE PRESIDENT, SOLAR BUSINESS, SCHNEIDER ELECTRIC-INDIA fielded queries from CONSTRUCTION OPPORTUNITIES

 

The emphasis in the National Action plan is on solar energy. Give us a sense of the emphasis Schneider India places on solar energy as part of its renewable thrust?  What is your company specifically doing in the solar space?

 

Schneider Electric offers both USLC and rooftop and off grid and also solar pumps. We would like to be present in the entire space of solar for which we have products and solutions, but we do not target any specific segment. The targeted applications for Schneider Electric in solar are large utility scale solar farms, small and large commercial, rooftop applications for residential, micro grids and rural solar applications including solar pumps.

 

Which are the important projects you are supporting and who are your main clients?

 

As of now we have an installed base of almost 150 MW. This is within one year of operation and we are expecting another 150 MW to be installed before the end of this financial year. Almost 115 MW is installed in Rajasthan and is generating very good CUF despite the harsh environment in the deserts of Rajasthan. Our installed base is a combination of inverters, Solar Inverter Sub-stations (SISS) and few projects executed by Schneider Electric. We also have installation of our string inverters and charge controllers in telecom towers, off grid and rooftop in various parts of country and in various applications like hospitals, hotels, schools etc.

 

How are you looking to improve your market share in the solar segment?

 

Schneider Electric has taken a dominant and leadership position in the solar industry in India within a very short period of time. This growth has been supported by performance and efficiency of our products and solutions which have been well recognised by our customers. Manufacture of the latest range of central inverters in state-of-the-art factories locally has also helped us achieve growth and a leadership position.

 

It is being assessed that if we use just 1 per cent of India's geographical area for solar the energy benefits will accrue till 2030 and that we will be self reliant on energy.  Is that actionable? What is the business opportunity Schneider sees here?

 

It is true that India has huge potential to develop solar energy considering the good irradiation levels we have in many parts of our country, and also the availability of lands in such areas. It seems actionable if all the related stakeholders of the energy sector come together to support the solar industry. You must have read the news of large GW  Solar Power Plants Plans by Central Energy companies within a short period of time which is very good news.  Schneider is a firm believer of solar potential not only in India but globally. Thus the more it happens, the better it is for us. It will also help us invest more in R&D and keep innovating our products and solutions for solar industry growth.

 

In the Indian context cost of solar energy can come down even more because of savings which could accrue if some of the equipments are actually manufactured in India. Solar energy projects will become more viable if we can bring costs down to a significant extent. What is Schneider doing to bring down the cost of equipment?

 

We have already invested in manufacturing our large size central inverters locally and we not only manufacture inverters for the India market but also export same inverters to our global customers. We have also invested in development of our unique solar inverter substation in India, which helps developers and EPC with various features and advantages. As regards other products like transformers and switchgears, we already have had these products made in India for the power sector in general since decades.

 

What are the challenges you face in the solar space

 

Some policy issues, confidence of financial institutions in terms of funding solar projects, land clearances and land availability are some of the challenges faced by the solar sector currently.

 

From a Schneider perspective what are your demands from the new government in 2014?

 

The government has been amending its policies and incentives from time to time to attract investment in this sector which have been well accepted by developers. In some states the response has been very encouraging. However, as we move forward, it appears much more needs to be done to reach the NSM Targets of Solar Power by 2017 and 2022. The government needs to look into barriers and processes causing delay after award of project to developers and help developers with policies which can speed up the implementation of projects – for example acquisition of land, allotment of land in solar parks, financing by Indian banks, evacuation issues for large projects etc. Also some minimum guidelines for tariff should be issued and state policies should have similarities to promote solar across the country. The states with less solar irradiation and higher demand for power should have additional incentives. While there have been differential tariffs for developers with and without accelerated depreciation, tariffs could also be differentiated by the size of the project as larger projects have advantages of economies of scale vs small size projects and can help promote distributed energy through small size projects. At Schneider Electric, we would always like to provide innovative products and solutions to our customers which help them make the most of their energy and provide services which are best in class to reduce downtime of our customer plants.

 

We believe it is important to have state-of-the-art products and services to establish long term relationship with our customers.

 

SCHNEIDER’S LIST

 

Schneider Electric offers products and services in solar in two categories:

  • Utility Scale and Large Commercial (USLC)
  • Rooftop and off grid

 

In USLC, which typically is a > 500kW Solar Plant, the company offers:

 

Central inverters starting from 540 KVA to 680KVA

  • Solar Scada
  • Array junction boxes
  • Transformers for solar application,
  • HT panel and ring main units,
  • UPS
  • DC cables harness with connectors
  • Plug N Play solution of Solar Inverter Sub-stations (SISS)
  • PV BOX (from 1080KVA to 1360KVA, 11KV and 33KV versions)
  • Products for evacuation switchyard of all voltage class from 11kV to 132 kV



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