Industry Analysis

Is India’s switchgear sector ready for smart city challenge?

Discussing preparedness of the Indian switchgear industry towards meeting the changing demands.

India is experiencing rapid urbanisation and this is only expected to increase in the years to come. The best way to accommodate this massive urbanisation is through establishing smart cities which not only accommodate migrants but also ensures a better and smooth life for all.

With a total proposed investment of Rs 1.45 lakh crore, India plans to develop 100 smart cities which will transform the urban landscape of the country by making cities more livable and inclusive and drive sustainable economic growth. The cities will use smart and intelligent technology solutions that will lead to better connectivity and efficiency in energy, building, transport, healthcare, infrastructure, governance, education and citizen services. As many as 60 smart cities are already announced.

The ambitious smart cities programme is widely expected to push demand for quality electrical equipment and thus open up massive growth opportunities for electrical equipment manufacturers, opines AV Jagdish, Senior Vice President, Havells India. He adds, “Since the construction of new smart cities as well as makeover of existing cities is expected to trigger a surge in construction activity, the demand for high quality switchgears is bound to see a quantum jump. It is estimated that the switchgear industry in India will reach Rs 21,500 crore by 2018 on the back of strong infrastructure development.”

Beyond Smart Cities, the government’s flagship programme like ‘Make in India’ that aims to make India the hub of global manufacturing is expected to drive demand for switchgear as more factories will come up in the near future. Numerous other schemes like Digital India, Integrated Power Development Scheme, Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojana and Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation, among others are committed towards development of new infrastructure and revamping the existing infrastructure in the country and that too will create demand for quality and reliable electrical equipment including switchgear. According to Jagdish, “The need to have safe, reliable and efficient power distribution at both micro- and macro-level will provide growth opportunities for the entire switchgear sector.”

Smart switchgear
The switchgear sector in India is expanding and innovations are being witnessed in terms of precision, protection, features and technology. The new innovations which are coming in the form of smart switchgears are designed and suited to the needs of a smart city. According to Gautam Seth, Joint MD, HPL Electric & Power, “Smart switchgear is a pre-programmed switchgear supporting remote monitoring, configuration and control of embedded intelligent devices through two way real-time communication. It allows monitoring of incoming and outgoing power, automatic transfer of power during power failure and automatic opening and closing to maintain peak power load. Smart switchgear enables better monitoring, control and communication, allowing energy saving and better management.”

HPL Electric & Power Ltd which has a range of technologically advanced and innovative products in the switchgear category recently launched a new switchgear range by bringing a new and upgraded line of its Electrical Operated Switches, ‘AV ATS – Advance Version Automatic load Transfer Switch’. “The new variant is a highly dependable and technologically advanced product which is simple and easy to use and has been designed keeping the safety of the customers in mind. AV ATS is designed as per the latest design and manufacturing avenue, meeting world-class needs,” Gautam informs.

Smart switchgear is slowly proliferating and expanding its presence in the commercial, industrial and hospitality sectors which have a high power consumption. However, Rajesh Nandwani, Vice President & Switchgear Business Unit Head, Anchor Electricals Pvt Ltd informs, “In the residential segment smart switchgear is still in its nascent stages. Individual switchgear such as Miniature Circuit Breakers etc. are however present. Due to advanced technology, the electricians first have to gear up to accept these products. However, the switchgear sector is slowly making an inroad towards getting ready for smart city challenge.”

With a massive overhaul of the economy in progress, India’s switchgear market is expected to witness robust growth due to surging power demand from industrial, commercial and residential sectors and construction of big ticket infrastructure across various sectors. “The market for switchgears is well established in India and has the necessary capacity to produce quality switchgear and meet the expected demand from smart cities. Havells is also fully geared to contribute its bit and support the government’s mega push to overall economic growth through its various programmes,” concludes Jagdish.

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