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Schneider plans new battery tech in India


New Delhi: Schneider Electric India is looking to expand its battery manufacturing portfolio and develop newer technologies and chemistries for batteries.

The company sells its batteries, or uninterrupted power supply solutions, to data centres under the APC brand, and caters to households with Luminous products.

The move to explore newer chemistries comes amid supply concerns over global lithium availability, especially with lithium-ion batteries dominating the market.

In an interview, Schneider Electric India’s chief executive officer and managing director Deepak Sharma said: “As we discuss we are also working on new technologies or batteries for tomorrow, not only from a segment perspective but also chemistry perspective… So there are a couple of designs or discussions on the drawing board of our innovation team and we are building technologies…also evaluating what will be the right chemistry for tomorrow.”

The move also coincides with the company completing 60 years in India. Schneider Electric is present in the Indian market through several brands, including Schneider Electric, L&T Electrical & Automation, Luminous, AVEVA, and APS, across energy management, automation and sustainability solutions for diverse industry segments.

The company is looking at expanding its footprint and would invest 3,200 crore across segments in the country. “We are looking to invest 3,200 crore in the next few years up to 2026. Be it electric vehicle, efficiency, smart home, microgrid, or prosumer story,” he said.

Sharma said the company would continue to focus on digitization and automation solutions for power consumption and usage to achieve sustainability and efficiency. The company would also look at enabling power consumers become a “prosumer” with its digitization and automation technologies, the CEO said.

Prosumer is referred to a person who both consumes and produces.

“How do you make the consumer into a prosumer? So as a consumer, when we take energy, we feed into our homes, we run our ACs and run our refrigerators, TV and we consume we are done. But if you and I can become actually a prosumer, which means I use when I need, but sell when I don’t need.”

“So, I go to the grid, and then take what I want, and of course, use technologies to help me first reduce my burden on the grid. I can create my own energy and when I don’t need the energy, I actually give it back through my net metering, back to the grid and I can start making some money.”

Observing that the prosumer space has a strong value proposition for the future, he said that it is a new model which will come on the new energy landscape.

On the expansion plans, Sharma said: “We are building more and we would be adding 1.2 million sq. ft in the next 18 months. Three new big factories will be inaugurated next year in India. So, expansions as we talk are under progress.”

There are also two new plants going into production in Hyderabad and Chennai.

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Updated: 02 Nov 2023, 12:21 AM IST

Joanna Swanson

Joanna Swanson is Europe correspondent at the Thomson Reuters Foundation based in Brussels covering politics, culture, business, climate change, society, economies and inclusive tech. With specific focus in breaking news, she has covered some of the world's most significant stories.