With more than 20 years of Smart-Grid and metering experience and a strong global presence, STMicroelectronics is a leader in smart grid solutions. Sapna Mongia, Head Technical Marketing and Application – Power, Discretes and Analog Group, STMicroelectronics, has over 20 years’ of experience in the semiconductor industry with key expertise in Design, Application and Product Line Business Development and has been instrumental in contributing to ST India’s power business in industrial, consumer, automotive and smart grid applications. Sapna Mongia discusses ‘ready to use solutions for smart-grid and smart-metering applications’ with ELE Times.
ELE Times: What is your assessment of India’s smart grid and its future prospects?
Sapna Mongia: The India Power Sector is challenged by power loss during transmission and distribution. Smart grids can help address both of those issues and others. According to India Smart Grid Forum (ISGF), a typical city of 5 to 10 lakhs population would require about INR 300 to 500 crores for modernizing the electricity grid, depending on the present condition of the equipment. This would entail investments to the tune of $7.5 billion (around Rs. 50,000 Cr) from the current levels of Rs. 100 Cr, for building smart grids in 100 smart cities. This could happen in the next four to five years. The government is expecting that all 100 smart cities and 500 smart town would be running on smart grids in the next 5-10 years. The initiative would involve underground cables at strategic locations in the city, automating substations and distribution network, smart metering, rooftop solar integration etc.
ELE Times: Keeping view that smart metering across India is a big mission. Do you think you will be able to restrict the prices to that level and yet keep it profitable for company?
Sapna Mongia: STMicroelectronics is a chip manufacturer and we provide our SoCs and other ICs to the meter manufacturers at very competitive market prices. Pricing for the meters that utilize our chips are set by regulators or government bodies.
ELE Times: Which are the products and solutions for the smart grid infrastructure probably you are working on or you are providing?
Sapna Mongia: We have a strong portfolio for PLC devices, with special focus on STCOMET. Moreover, we have our expertise in smart metering projects deployments based on Powerline communication.
ELE Times: What are the application areas for your range of semiconductors?
Sapna Mongia: With more than 20 years of Smart-Grid and metering experience and a strong global presence, STMicroelectronics is a leader in smart grid solutions. ST has major programs in place to support smart-grid concepts where semiconductor technology will play a critical role: (a) smart metering, (b) building automation, (c) PHEVs (Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles) and (d) renewable energy sources. With many successful customer engagements around the world, ST is a leader in smart-meter chips and a principal /founding member in Industrial Alliance / SDO defining protocol communication for Smart Grid/ IoT and driving major PLC Smart Metering programs in the world.
ELE Times: Any strategies of the company?
Sapna Mongia: As a global smart home and smart city market leader, STMicroelectronics brings its expertise in technology and skills to the India market. We are proactively participating in the BIS standardization committee and contributing to the development of India’s smart-meter specifications. We have also shared our knowledge and experience with the Indian utilities and manufacturers and the Government is also working in this domain to encourage and build smart meters. So together with all the stakeholders, we are trying support and help develop the entire ecosystem.