pv magazine: Mostly we have heard that Chinese, European and some Japanese inverter and battery suppliers are dominant in India. Where does Su-Kam stand in this market?
Kunwer Sachdev: I beg to differ. The Indian power backup industry has never faced any kind of competition from foreign countries right from the beginning. Indian power situation and climatic conditions are very different from these countries. As factors such as weather and the way the products are handled have a huge implication on its performance and longevity, foreign brands will not stand a chance because their technology would not work here.
Su-Kam has been a pioneer in the Indian power back up industry because we design products that cater to the Indian need. Our innovative technology can withstand harsh Indian weather conditions and rough usage. Innovation is the mantra we follow; to live up to this ideology, we have many firsts to our credit. We’ve invented the world’s first Hybrid UPS (Uninterruptable Power Supply), India’s first touch-screen, and Wi-Fi enabled Solar Power Conditioning Unit, India’s first Sine Wave inverter, world’s first plastic body inverter and many more. Su-Kam is well-known for putting the disorganized power backup industry into order.
As far as the power back up industry is concerned, you will not see a Chinese product; our technology is so outstanding that China has not been able to enter this market. Not only in India but also in countries in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East, our products reign supreme; Indian brands are much favored for their robustness and reliability.
Which types of solar inverter are you supplying within India in the largest volume? Do you recognize a trend for building large-scale solar farms using string inverters?
We are supplying both kinds; off-grid and on- grid. However, the off-grid inverter is more popular because the user can store excess solar energy produced during the day and use it after the sun goes down. Slow progress in the net metering system in most states in India has dampened the on-grid system’s popularity. Su-Kam has introduced an intelligent Solar Hybrid inverter which works as both off-grid and on-grid inverter.
We have undertaken numerous large-scale solar installation projects using string inverters such as 1 MW solar project at Chennai Rail Metro, 1 MW at Punjab Engineering College, Chandigarh, 1.3 MW at various sites for Indian Army’s division, Assam Rifles, 100 KW at Huda City Centre Metro Station, Gurugram and many more.
The solar industry is aggressive and proliferating with many latest technologies, so how is Su-Kam staying in the game? What innovations does the company have in store?
Innovation is the backbone of Su-Kam. If there is one thing that has helped us stay ahead in the game, it is our passion for innovation. We have a record of being the only company in this field to file for over 100 patents. Su-Kam has registered over 76 Technology Patents, 189 Copyrights, 136 Trademarks and has 88 Design Patents to its credit in India, the USA, and other countries. Recently, two technology patents are filed in a month (February 2018), and we expect to have impressive 100 technology patents.
We are 4-5 years ahead of our competitors in terms of technology. Currently, we are very aggressive in IOT (Internet of Things) based inverters, through which inverters can be monitored from anywhere in the world. This is something other players are not even thinking about. We have also introduced hybrid systems. We are also doing a lot to improve the efficiency of inverters so that maximum power utilization can be achieved. Our Falcon HBU Pure Sine Wave UPS is the first and the only UPS in India which has got a 4 -star efficiency rating from the Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE).
We are also bullish in educating our channel partners and the masses on solar, which we are doing through our YouTube channel and digital platforms.
The proposed tariffs for solar components from China and Taiwan are being discussed because such vast imports harm the domestic sector. How do you see this from an inverter perspective? Are you worried about foreign competition? Would tariffs for solar inverters help domestic players?
We are unfazed by competition, be it from China or any other country because products offered by us are matchless in terms of technology and quality. In addition to highly advanced technology, our products significantly enhance the comfort level of consumers. We aim at solving the problems faced by the customers. Moreover, Su-Kam is playing an instrumental role in helping offices, institutions, schools, and colleges in going solar, which can be regarded as the future of India’s energy roadmap. We are continually bringing in newer technologies which are more efficient, customer friendly and offered at a lower price, for example, all our new inverters and UPS are solar compatible, so they can be converted to a solar inverter by attaching charge controllers with the existing product at any time after the purchase. This can be done at a marginal increase in cost at the convenience of the customer.
Talking about domestic manufacturing, the government initiatives such as Make in India and Digital India will go a long way in providing a push to domestic manufacturing. We need a concrete strategy to provide an impetus to domestic manufacturing in India.
The relationship between Residential solar, storage, and EV is going to be the next storm in the Indian solar industry, so what are your plans for that?
Now that the world is steering towards electric vehicle and storage system all the technology patents we have already acquired so far will give us massive leverage over our competitors. Our patents for battery chargers and testing kits will be relevant for the EV industry too. We are already working very aggressively on EV, because we understand it is the future. Our R&D is very strong in this domain. We have already designed a lot of components and devices for it. We have been in the residential and storage sector for a long time. We are pioneers in the Indian power backup industry. Regarding storage, we are focusing on lithium-ion batteries, which are highly efficient. Since we already have a state-of-the-art battery factory in Himachal Pradesh which is manned by a team of highly skilled engineers and possesses the highly advanced testing equipment, it will be easy for us to manufacture lithium-ion or any other solid-state battery.
Tell us about the ‘Solarcon’, Solar Hybrid UPS called ‘Brainy’ and solar power conditioning unit?
Su-Kam’s Solarcon is a smart device, based on patented technology, which can convert any ordinary inverter and battery setup into the solar power system. It lets you use the free and green energy generated by solar panels to power all of your electrical equipment. You make huge savings on the electricity bill and get to charge the batteries even during power cut and of course, help save the environment.
Brainy is laced with an intelligent technology that takes it to a greater level as compared to its counterparts. Su-Kam’s Brainy is extraordinary in all respects. This product combines features of On-line UPS, Solar Power Conditioning Unit, and Inverter into just one product. It has solar priority, intelligent charging sharing, ATC, Powerful battery charging at 90V, and variable battery charging through mains.
Su-Kam’s Solar Power Conditioning Unit (PCU) is an integrated system consisting of a solar charge controller, inverter, and a grid charger. It provides the facility to charge the battery bank through either a Solar or Grid/DG set. The PCU continuously monitors the state of battery voltage, solar power output, and the load. Due to constant use of power, if the battery voltage goes below a set level, the PCU will automatically transfer the load to the Grid/DG power and also charge simultaneously. Once the batteries are charged to the pre-set level, Su-Kam’s Solar Power Conditioning unit cuts off the Grid/DG Power from the system and restores it to feeding the loads from the battery bank while also returning to charging the battery from the available solar power. The PCU always gives preference to the solar power and will use Grid/DG power only when the solar power/battery charger is unable to meet the load requirement.
In a world of AC, why the use of DC? Can you tell us the main reasons for promoting DC system?
The Sun gives DC electricity; we convert DC into AC to run our load. But there are a lot of losses in this conversion. DC electricity is much purer, as it produces fewer harmonics than AC. Thus, DC is better for your appliances. In addition to that, DC is more efficient; it gives us more battery backup, it is much cleaner. To explain in a simple way, if a fan works on 80Watt AC power, then the same fan will work on 25Watt DC power. Thus, DC consumes 1/3rd less electricity compared to AC. DC is green energy as it comes directly from the sun. Hence, the benefits of using DC electricity are seamless.
Su-Kam is now globally recognized especially in Africa and Asia, can you talk about your global endeavors?
We were the first in this industry to export our products. Today, we have a presence in more than 90 countries worldwide. We are making great efforts in making our strong sales and service network even stronger in terms of reach and spread.
We are very aggressive as far as global business is concerned, expanding our reach on a monthly basis. In order to make our brand more prominent in the overseas market, we are doing a lot of activities such as, fervently participating in many global exhibitions, holding regular meets with our dealers and distributors. We are the strongest player in the worldwide business division as far as Asia, Middle East, and Africa are concerned.