Power backup market to witness quantum leap

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By Srabani Sen

With continued power deficit situation in India, demand for backup power sources like inverters, UPS, batteries, etc, is expected to witness a quantum leap. Power backup market grew by 15-20 per cent in 2009, and today it(including batteries) is worth $1.1 billion in India.

With the growing demand for power and the changing face of the backup power industry, Frost & Sullivan’s Energy and Power Systems Practice organised a platform—‘Indian Backup Power Sector: Growing Significance’—to brainstorm on new opportunities, market trends, technology developments, and strategies to explore and penetrate new industry sectors.

According to Amol Kotwal, deputy director, Energy and Power Systems Practice, Frost & Sullivan-South Asia and Middle East, “Increased awareness and a focus on providing non-polluting, energy efficient solutions are among the recent trends that will shape the backup power industry in years to come. Whether it is UPS for critical applications in the enterprise space, power inverters at homes and offices, generator sets in industries or batteries for the numerous applications, backup power has become indispensable.”

Addressing the audience, Ankesh Kumar, senior product manager, Emerson Network Power, said that disruptions leading to downtime can impact productivity, customer service, operations, maintenance, revenue, brand image, and can even lead to loss of manpower. In 2008, due to power disruption led downtime, the nation suffered a loss of Rs 430 billion (Rs 43,005 crore), which amounted to 1 per cent of the country’s GDP. As measures to quantify this loss, he suggested that infrastructure should be adaptive to any equipment, there should be no cost penalty for change, etc, and these measures should be suggested to customers. Users should also follow some best practices like complying with IEEE and BEE standards, etc, to control downtime. They should also start using energy efficient products.

Despite the growth of the power backup market, it faces its share of challenges—fluctuating commodity prices, low cost imports from China and Taiwan, competition from the unorganised segment, lack of consumer awareness, etc.

When asked to comment on the latest trends in the backup power market, Ankesh Kumar informs that the major trends are the demand for green technologies; energy efficient systems and products; increased power delivery/output; convergence and hybrid solutions; a shift to a solutions based approach from a product approach; product diversification to offer a bouquet of services; and products that offer ease of operation and low maintenance.

Talking to Electronics Bazaar, Amol Kotwal, says, “The backup power market is characterised by well entrenched domestic players competing for space with MNCs space. High quality and product performance is establishing India as a manufacturing base to cater to local and export demands. There is high price competitiveness, especially in the lower ratings, while sourcing low cost products from China and Taiwan is still a cheaper alternative.”

“Although the government is making an effort to ensure ‘power for all’, the demand for backup power devices is here to stay, predominantly driven by the end user’s need to stay connected, the requirement for uninterrupted power to run operations, and to support economic growth,” Amol Kotwal concludes.

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