NEW DELHI – With India’s telecom sector investing heavily in green-energy solutions, Panasonic’s local unit has cashed in on the growing demand, generating over $100 million in sales in the last three years supplying lithium-ion battery-based solutions.
The telecommunications sector has become the major growth driver for Panasonic’s energy storage drive launched in 2013 in the South Asian country, top company officials said.
“We have been offering lithium-ion battery-based energy solutions in India for the last three years, and have already accumulated over $100 million in revenue from the telecom vertical alone in the country,” said Manish Sharma, president and chief executive officer of Panasonic India.
The demand for lithium-ion battery-based systems comes mainly from the push by Indian telecom service operators for environmentally friendly and sustainable solutions to power telecom towers and other services in the country, according to experts.
For example, Bharti Airtel, the nation’s leading telecom services provider, has announced that more than 40,000 of its towers are now operating on battery-hybrid, lithium-ion and solar-hybrid technologies, and that it aims to increase the use of renewable energy by 2020.
According to an industry regulator’s report, Indus Towers, the country’s largest telecom tower company, has committed to investing over 5 billion rupees ($77 million) in green initiatives.
As of last December, the company was managing about 123,000 towers in India, out of which around 60,000 were diesel-free and about 1,000 sites were running on solar energy. The report notes that out of the 450,000 towers in the country, only 90,000 are diesel-free sites.
Panasonic India says it is betting big on the energy storage business in the country with demand likely to grow on the back of policy initiatives launched by the government to promote the use of renewable energy and demand from other industrial segments seeking energy-efficient solutions.
“India has set an ambitious target for renewable energy generation in the country, which will require energy storage systems to tackle the challenges of renewable energy, including inconsistent supply. Also, the demand for energy storage solutions is coming from the banking, green buildings and industrial segments in the country,” Sharma said.
India has set a renewable power capacity target of 175 gigawatts by the end of 2022, up from the current 46.33 gigawatts.
Seeking to gain traction in the energy storage market, Panasonic and power firm AES India jointly announced last year an agreement to construct a 10-megawatt energy storage project in India to tap the sector’s growing potential.
According to research firm TechSci Research, the market for lithium-ion batteries in India is projected to grow at a compounded annual growth rate of over 32 percent from 2016 to 2021, thanks to increasing penetration of consumer electronics products such as smartphones, tablet PCs and laptops, expansion of telecommunications networks, and growing demand for electric and hybrid vehicles.
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