“India’s per capita consumption of energies is definitely going to grow up because of more industrialisation”
Mohandas Mekanapurath, Business Head, Bosch Energy and Building Solutions, Bosch Limited
Getting around India’s energy efficiency is kind of a conundrum. Though people are now more considerate to energy efficiency and not energy generation, the dilemma around energy efficiency still remains unsolved. In an interaction with Zaid Lakdawala of EPR, Mohandas Mekanapurath, Business Head, Bosch Energy and Building Solutions, Bosch Limited discusses what it takes to implement energy efficiency, optimisation and how they religiously customise power infrastructure as per need.
How do you reckon the maximum efficiency of a customised solar plant?
We get the module or the panel from a third party; we do source it from the established sources. The panel and the modules have got their own inherent efficiency anyway, i.e. the conversion of the light energy into the electrical signal, so what we need to take care of the site condition. Site condition should be so conducive or so well designed that we get the maximum out of it; be it inclination towards the Sun or the cleaning that is required on a periodic basis or the structure stability and also any other adjustments that are required in the structure. So, all these are taken care of as a part of our installation and commissioning responsibility. However, if we look at the model efficiency per se, it comes from the module manufacturer and we continue to avail it.
Please walk us through the key strategic approached adopted by Bosch.
If you look at our energy solutions portfolio, we maintain a clean energy initiative through the solar solutions that we offer. Regarding the energy efficiency part, we have multiple solutions offering, HVAC efficiency improvement, steam distribution optimisation and integrated heating and cooling solutions. We also do the monitoring of the system in a very efficient way using our own software solutions like the energy platform. So, all these put together is our three pronged strategy for providing energy services to our customers.
Can you please tell me about your largest solar panel installation?
From rooftop side, the largest is the one which, we have installed for the Honda motorcycles and scooters. They have a large roof on their manufacturing plant at different locations. So, the rooftop solar that is provided is the largest one that we have implemented as per the rooftop sector. We also did a project for a Tech park in Bangalore where we did a 28 MW plant installation, which is about 500 km from Bangalore location and close to Belgaum. So, the power is generated on ground-mount solar installation and is taken through an open access to Bangalore for the customers of Tech Park for consumption. So that’s the other project that we’ve done in ground-mount area in the past year.
What kind of R&D Bosch is doing in the field of energy efficiency?
If we look at energy efficiency solution offering, it is always customised as we study the customer’s power infrastructure or the energy infrastructure and understand its process and then do the process automation, wherever required, or process optimisation/ improvement. If you look at the investment from our side, one area that we focus on is the development of energy platform, and the software side of it. We do make a lot of investment at this energy platform owned by Bosch.
What are the challenges you face during rooftop installation?
Challenges include site related conditions, firstly, because what happens is, in both the cases, be it energy efficiency or rooftop solar, customer is already operating their factory. For example, if you’re doing it on a factory, on an energy efficiency solution, implementation of the process is already in place, it is a working system and when you are touching a working system and implementing a solution, we have to be very careful in terms of the process i.e. following the process and timeline that is required, and also ensure that the current operations, the manufacturing model or any other process that the customer is already engaged in, are not disrupted. So, that is one important aspect and it offers a lot of challenges.
What opportunities did you see in the rise of the per capita consumption of energy?
If we look at India’s per capita consumption of energies, it is at a low level as of today, but it is definitely going to grow because of more industrialisation, more service sector growth and more infrastructure that are coming up. I see it as an opportunity actually, because when we have more energy demand coming up, more focus can be placed towards cleaner energy installation for the newenergy capacity development. It is also aligned withour government’s overall plan for solar. So, if we are to really achieve that, we should look at more solar capacity addition.
Do you think there will be a surplus of power by 2022?
Going by the current and overall energy demand, my understanding is that we will not reach a real surplus condition. It’ll always be consumed and overall, whatever, inputs we get from our customers, especially from the industry and commercial segment, they have big plans to expand their capacity, for example, they want to get the maximum possible from renewable sources. So, I don’t see stage where we reach more capacity and nor I think we will ever reach that surplus point. And if we also look at the per capita consumption, if we really want grow from our current rate to at least achieve double the capacity, we need huge additional amount energy generation. However, that will also not result into surplus.
Bosch recently won the ‘Leading EPC- Solar Rooftop’ award at the REI 2018 award. Please walk us through this immense achievement?
2019 alone fetched us three awards for rooftop solar. So, definitely, we take it as recognition for our projects, so that’s a good thing. We hope to continue that in terms of getting the recognition from the industry side and it is not an easy journey. We won’t say we have achieved everything, we consider it as a beginning to continue move forward with our quality implementation, timely completion, and also cost effective solution offerings.