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Cover Story | April 2018

Micro grids most economical for providing electricity

<span style="font-weight: bold;">Atul Arya, Head, Energy Systems, Panasonic India<br /> <br /> How has Panasonic's energy storage business in India performed? </span><br /> Panasonic has been working in the energy storage solution space in India since 2012-13. On a year-on-year basis, our energy storage business in India has been growing at a rate of 45-50 per cent. We are the market leaders in supplying lithium-ion batteries to telecom sector as well as multiple other mission-critical applications. Lithium-ion batteries have mitigated the need for diesel generators to a very large extent. It has made it possible to completely remove the diesel generator or minimise the need to an extent where the DGs are only an emergency backup in the wake of zero power for a long duration. We have supplied batteries to around 40,000 telecom towers in the country in the last two-and-a-half years. In the mid-size battery segment, we have a market share of over 35 per cent and want to make it 50 per cent in the next two-three years.<br /> <br /> <span style="font-weight: bold;">Tell us about the recently-launched storage solutions for telecom sector? </span><br /> We have introduced state of the art Compact Business Power Solution, the CBPS 8000. This single cabinet solution essentially houses all the imperative functional tools in a single box which manages power requirements at the site comprehensively. Its plug and play system addresses challenges faced by more than half a million telecom towers located across geographies, and the compact size makes it easy to install and maintain. The products remote configuration and diagnostic feature enables trouble-free and cost-effective O&amp;M experience, which helps identify faults remotely with quick resolution and minimum downtime.<br /> <br /> The demand for lithium-ion battery-based systems comes mainly from the push by Indian telecom service operators, for environmentally friendly and sustainable solutions to power telecom towers and other services in the country. With a market share of 35 per cent in the category, currently almost 40,000 telecom towers run on Panasonic batteries.<br /> <br /> With the increase in data consumption and various government-led initiatives such as Digital India and Smart cities, we are experiencing exponential growth in the telecom segment. This has led to rise in telecom towers and sustainable renewable back-up options powered by batteries. Our offering the CBPS 8000, is an easy-to-install-and-maintain product which allows consumers to manage power needs at the site efficiently. <br /> <br /> Besides introducing new storage solutions for its existing business line-up, we are further looking to offer energy storage solutions for industries such data centres, commercial &amp; industrial sector and rural micro grids. <br /> <br /> <span style="font-weight: bold;">Tell us about interesting solutions and product line up displayed by Panasonic in Elecrama? </span><br /> We have not displayed any product, but, since we are a solution provider, we have displayed our advanced solutions in areas such as micro grids, home automation, backup solutions for commercial and industrial infrastructures and electrical vehicle charging infrastructure.&nbsp; <br /> <br /> <span style="font-weight: bold;">Commercial &amp; industrial application:</span> Under this, the company is looking to offer Li-ion based energy storage solution which can be used as standalone power backup solution or as a hybrid solution alongside solar, replacing conventional energy generation and storage setups. The offering essentially aims at making business profitable by reducing costs and eliminating diesel-based operational expenses, whilst providing an environment friendly, compact power backup solution with a long operational life. <br /> <br /> <span style="font-weight: bold;">Data centres:</span> Data centres are mission critical information-based applications requiring continuous power supply at all times. Panasonic's cutting-edge technology and modular unit designs formulated especially for the needs of a data centre, boost power efficiency and eliminate the need for backup battery rooms. This process allows the optimisation of expensive real estate for the expansion of server racks.<br /> <br /> <span style="font-weight: bold;">How about your solutions for rural micro grids?</span><br /> Distributed generation is the quickest and most economical method for providing electricity to rural India. However, major challenges involved for the establishment of a micro-grid segment have been reliability of storage and operation &amp; management of multiple installations. To assist with this challenge we have introduced a solution called 'Off Grid' 2.0, an offering which is ready for grid connectivity and when the need arises, add on tools for management of multi-location, grid connected distributed generation systems can be provided on demand.<br /> <br /> Our grid energy consumption demand and pattern has been continuously evolving and growing over the years. To keep up with these growth patterns, the grid has to use new technologies like energy storage to improve its maturity level. It is understood that variations in wind and solar energy and the lack of adequate electricity storage facilities, result in about 15-20 per cent of all renewable energy in India going to waste. Energy storage based solution applications can help transform the current power infrastructure of the nation, by ensuring a clean reliable grid. Further they can help enterprises achieve their electrification needs, power their sustainable goals and save on recurring costs and investments. By introducing these solutions, we are looking at transforming the nation's energy storage landscape by providing solutions which will help offer grid stability and improved ancillary services for businesses.<br />
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