Time is ripe for India to rule the world battery markets

By Sunil Bhatnagar, director, marketing, Artheon Electronics Ltd
By Sunil Bhatnagar, director, marketing, Artheon Electronics Ltd
By Sunil Bhatnagar, director, marketing, Artheon Electronics Ltd
By Sunil Bhatnagar, director, marketing, Artheon Electronics Ltd

Wednesday, March 21, 2012:

The battery industry in India, comprising automobile, sealed maintenance free (SMF), tubular and lead acid batteries, is getting bigger, year on year. It has been growing at an annual rate of 25 per cent for the past four years, and is expected to keep growing by 25 per cent till 2015. While China will remain the world’s largest national market by far, India will register the strongest growth in sales by 2015.

In 2011, SMF VRLA batteries did quite well due to the high demand, but flooded lead acid batteries could not catch up much as the power condition in most of the states was good last year. So with fewer power cuts, a slower movement of inverter batteries was seen.

Although 2011 was a good year for the battery industry, 2012 could be even better. Thanks to the Chinese battery industry debacle caused by environmental concerns, India is now looked upon as the main battery producer in Asia. Demand for Indian batteries from importers worldwide has increased by many times. At the same time, Indian manufacturers are also gearing up for high demand from the domestic market due to the growth in sectors that use batteries. The main sectors where demand would grow in 2012 are solar, telecom, automation and power conditioning.

Higher demand forecast

Solar power generation is the fastest growing industry worldwide with so many green energy solution projects and programmes running in India and abroad. India is witnessing a great change in the demand for solar energy and many new projects are coming up for rural electrification, home lighting, streetlights and solar lanterns, and all these programmes are dependent on batteries. The telecom market is also picking up with many new cellphone towers coming up in India. This will lead to a jump in demand for batteries in 2012.

At the end of 2011, there was some shortage of small batteries for solar lanterns, CFLs, home UPS systems, etc, which indicates that 2012 will be overbooked for most companies in the small battery segment. At the same time, a good demand is forecast for gel batteries for solar applications, though AGM VRLA batteries make up the major portion of this market. Demand for tubular batteries is also growing as innumerable government programmes require a five year warranty on batteries, and this warranty can be offered only with tubular batteries.

Demand for batteries will also shoot up as Central and state governments are coming up with new circulars, which mandate that 10 per cent of the power used by telecom tower companies must be generated through renewable energy sources. This holds true for even for hospitals, hotels, etc. This would lead to a major spike in battery demand, as all this generated power would have to be stored in batteries.

With all these developments, the battery market will grow at a good rate in 2012. Prices of batteries will go up due to the strengthening dollar and also due to high export demand. Hence, battery companies will witness a heavy rise in revenues in 2012. In fact, India should take this opportunity to make its name in the battery markets the world over as this is the right time to enter the export market.

Electronics Bazaar, South Asia’s No.1 Electronics B2B magazine


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