Thursday, March 30, 2023

Inverters Eyeing Rural Homes

About 75-80 per cent of the rural India is untouched, offering a huge opportunity for sales of economical and user-friendly inverters and UPS -- Uma Gupta

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Latest technology, high quality standards in production, and good service and support make branded inverters better than those assembled locally by unorganised players.

“In the inverter industry, the key to success is a robust and reliable design that can withstand steep fluctuationsand high voltages up to 440 volts and phase-to-phase input in rural areas. Also, good after-sales service plays a very important role in this field As demand is shifting from urban to rural areas, small players cannot afford to service the needs of customers in every nook and corner. Hence companies having better design and a strong service network still have competitive edge over others. The inverter assemblers findit difficultto provide robust and economical design as well as prompt after-sales service,” explains Garg.

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“The part-time assemblers have borne the biggest brunt in this industry. The demands have lowered, so the competition is immense, and so are the discounts and schemes—ultimately lowering the inverter price below the reach of part-time assemblers. The biggest threat is from established players themselves. They decrease the prices expecting more demand, which is practically not there and therefore nobody wins in the end,” adds Dua.

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Considering power shortage in India and limited quality players, it will be at least 2020-25 by when one can even start thinking of saturation

—Kunwer Sachdev, founder and managing director, Su-Kam Power Systems


Level of Technology
“The inverters and UPS manufactured in India are the most intelligent in the world as these are made to withstand tough Indian power conditions and also for longer life and rugged performance. They are much better than the imported products,” says Manoj Jain, vice president, Microtek International.

“No other country makes so robust designs that can withstand fluctuation from 90 to 440 volts and even phase-to-phase inputs in place of a single phase. Moreover, such robust designs come with intelligent features which monitor several parameters and display them on an LCD for users’ benefits.The displayed parameters may include load level in percentage to efficiently manage the load, backup battery level indicator to avoid sudden blackouts, messages to reduce excess load, diagnostic messages, mains voltage, charging current level and mains off,” informs Garg.

“Different users with a variety of needs are the driving force for new features and greater intelligence in the systems made in India. ICT-enabled systems make it possible to remotely monitor and control the power backup systems from any point. A simple mobile command can give the user the full monitoring and control of his power backup system,” adds Sachdev.

Design and manufacturing
It’s really difficult to make a robust design with intelligent algorithm unless the manufacturer has a proper R&D set-up. Only a few companies have really been successful in making intelligent inverters with robust design.

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The overall UPS market size is about Rs 35 billion in India. The current economic situation is turbulent and, to some extent, the Indian market is also affected because of the impact on the European market, which is showing a dip. But the sales to government, education and ITES markets are growing.

Earlier, the market was growing annually at a rate of 15-20 per cent. Now it is growing at 8-10 per cent. Lower-kVA UPS are generally imported from outside India, while higher-rating UPS are manufactured within the country.

The main challenges before industrial UPS manufactures are:
1. Price inflation due to import rate
2. Indian manufacturers have to bear the cost for transportation of goods from one state to another
3. Criteria for VAT/road permits for interstate movement

Top trends
1. The government is investing a lot in IT and computing segments
2. Infrastructure projects like airports and education increasing
3. Power monitoring projects coming in India

Top wishes
1. Reduce transport checks at multiple checkpoints
2. As excise duty and various formalities consume a lot of time, there is need to push online facility—thus ensuring paperless and green monitoring

—Suhas Joshi, director-UPS, Delta Power Solutions


Components’ availability is not much of a problem, except the variable cost of semiconductor devices and commodity items, especially power semiconductor devices and copper for transformers used in inverters and lead for batteries. Almost all the components are readily available in India. Only critical components like MOSFETs, microcontrollers and triacs are imported for the inverters made in India.

Focus areas
Energy-efficiency Focus is shifting towards energy-effciency. Imposing star ratings’ compulsion over inverters and UPS will not only help the consumers choose the right product but quality manufacturers will also get their dues in a standardised yet competitive market.

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