Exclusive Interview with Mr. Prakash Kumar Chandraker, MD & Vice President – Energy Business, Schneider Electric India

Prakash Kumar Chandraker, MD, Vice President

EO: Since your debut in Indian market, what has been your priority?

Mr. Prakash Kumar Chandraker: Our priority is to serve customers by developing innovative products and solutions that help simplify the lives of users. We harness the power and promise of the Internet of Things (IoT) to reshape cities, improve industries, and enrich lives. Schneider Electric technologies transform the places where people live, work, and play. By driving energy efficiency across the markets, we look forward to solve the energy paradox: curbing global energy demand while simultaneously closing the energy gap throughout rural communities.

Innovation promotes sustainable development fueling growth. At Schneider Electric, we partner with customers across segments and around the world to innovate, improve performance, and bring their bold ideas to life. Our six domain of expertise include

  • Power
  • IT
  • Building
  • Data Centre
  • Industry
  • Infrastructure

We serve for four end markets, Building, Data Center, Industry and Infrastructure. Together, these markets are responsible for 70 percent of the world’s energy consumption. This statistic is staggering, but our measurable customer results over the past decade are promising. More than 20 million people have benefited from the Company’s Access-to-Energy offers via our diverse products and services in Energy and Automation.


EO: How technology can be used to meet growing power needs of India?

Mr. Prakash Kumar Chandraker: While power plays pivotal role in fuelling the development of a country, technology has a pertinent role to play in meeting the demand of power.

While India is the fifth largest producer and consumer of electricity, a significant section of population still deprived of access to electricity.  This is because the Indian power sector is facing some challenges in the area of distribution processes, insufficient infrastructure, and lack of real-time information. These not only affect the revenue and operating efficiency but also result in high operating costs and the low supply of power. To combat these challenges, the utilities need to evolve.

At Schneider Electric, we are committed to sustainability in terms of energy efficiency and management. Our idea is to drive sustainability with performance. To achieve this, Schneider Electric’s EcoStruxure Grid is an interoperable, IoT-enabled system architecture and platform targeted at several verticals, including the Grid market and DSOs. It enables cities to be more efficient, livable, and sustainable by saving 30% of energy, thereby making end-to-end integration a reality. The digital architecture includes connected products and applications, analytics, edge control and services combined with cyber security, though individual elements of the stack may already be in use, Schneider Electric has merged all capabilities into one platform. Essentially, EcoStruxure™ delivers enhanced value around safety, reliability, efficiency, sustainability and connectivity. It also leverages advancements in IoT, mobility, sensing, Cloud, analytics and cyber security to drive innovation at every level.


EO: To what extent should renewable energy sources be tapped for power generation?

Mr. Prakash Kumar Chandraker: The energy landscape is changing and becoming more complex with the growth in demand for energy. This necessitates comprehensive utilization of renewable energy sources. Renewable energy has seen a rapid growth in capacity addition in recent times and the momentum is likely to continue.

While there still is dependence on thermal power as the major source of energy in India, the focus is increasingly shifting to the alternate/renewable energy sources and energy efficiency. Further as the country is on a high growth trajectory, the energy demand is steadily increasing and it is imperative to look at greener and cleaner energy.  While the renewable energy is expanding, the accompanying challenges pertaining to power grid operation, digitalisation of renewable energy systems and ensuring affordable renewable energy etc need to be addressed. Renewable energy is an important element of our business strategy. As a part of our 2030 commitment to carbon neutrality in our extended supply chain, we became RE100 members in 2017 and committed to work towards 100 percent renewable electricity in our mix by 2030.


EO: What, according to you, is the USP of the products offered by Schneider Electric?

Mr. Prakash Kumar Chandraker: At Schneider Electric, we strive towards creating an energy efficient world. It is our endeavour to help our customers manage their energy and process in ways that are safe, reliable, efficient and sustainable. Keeping in line with this, all our products and solutions right from switches to complex operational systems, technology, and software, green building solutions, are energy efficient. We are committed to reduce carbon emissions and all our products and solutions are targeted towards achieving this end.


EO: Which section of the market is currently on your radar?

Mr. Prakash Kumar Chandraker: We look forward to offer innovative products and solutions to varied industries across different market segments. With the rise of Smart Manufacturing and AI, Schneider Electric is set to attract more attention and business globally. Digital transformation is a key area of focus for us. Schneider Electric has developed innovative technology such as EcoStruxure which involves innovation at every level including-IT, buildings, grid, power, machines etc. It is an interoperable and open platform which is IoT enabled which improves operational profitability in a measurable, safe and sustainable way. In order to contribute towards the government’s goal of providing reliable 24*7 Power for all, the company is presently working with various state DISCOMS to provide digital technologies for the grid.

We believe Schneider Electric is poised on the cusp of an exciting future where business opportunities would abound in varied geographies.


EO: Do you plan to widen the company’s scope and bring a greater variety of products?

Mr. Prakash Kumar Chandraker: We aim at bringing innovative solutions to ensure operational efficiency and help our customers achieve more with less resources in a more connected, distributed, and smart world. Schneider Electric’s open IoT-enabled framework EcoStruxure is designed to ensure higher efficiency in grid operations, optimal asset management and facilitate an overall shift towards digitisation of power distribution. EcoStruxure aids in connecting devices across the grid, in turn enabling collection and analysis of data that can provide valuable insights on power consumption patterns and identify potential grid failures and attempt resolving it in a timely fashion.


EO: In what ways can more efficient monitoring and management of the energy supply contribute to greater usage of renewable energy sources?

Mr. Prakash Kumar Chandraker: Efficient monitoring and management of the energy supply is the key to address the issue of power shortage. Digitalisation of energy systems through smart grids with a variety of operational and energy measures enables flexibility, reliability, efficiency and sustainability. Electronic power conditioning and control of the production and distribution are important aspects of the smart grid. Smart grid is an electric power system that intelligently integrates the actions of all connected users—from power generators to electricity consumers. Along with this, deploying sensors gives utilities a visibility throughout their substations and allows them to detect problems and communicate information. The sensors identify the real-time state and condition of electrical distribution equipment for effective grid management and increased operational efficiency and reliability.


EO: How positive do you feel about the future of Renewable Energy in India?

Mr. Prakash Kumar Chandraker: The Indian renewable energy sector especially solar energy has a great future. The second most attractive renewable energy market in the world, India added 11.788 GW of power generation capacity from renewable sources from January to November 2017. According to data released by the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP), FDI inflows in the Indian non-conventional energy sector between April 2000 and September 2017 stood at US$ 6.01 billion. Total installed renewable energy capacity in India touched 62.846 GW as of December 2017, which is around 18.8 per cent of total energy capacity of the country (333.5 GW).

Apart from this the custom and excise duty benefits to the solar rooftop sector are expected to lower the cost of generating power which will further boost the growth of the sector. Subsequently, the growth of renewable energy sector will imply creation of employment opportunities especially in the rural areas.


About Prakash Kumar Chandraker

Prakash Kumar Chandraker is a seasoned professional and an accomplished leader with expertise in power and energy automation. He has also played key role in integrating AREVA ‘D’ with Schneider Electric. Previously, in a career spanning 27+ years in Power Sector, Prakash has held various leadership roles in companies like Voltas, Cegelec, Alstom, AREVA T&D.  He was awarded for Excellence in operations in AREVA T&D India.

Prakash was also the Head of the Energy Automation team in AREVA T&D India which lead implementation of National Load Despatch Centre and energy management Scheme for various Electricity Boards in India.

He is a graduate in Electrical Engineering from Govt. Engineering College – NIT Raipur and has done fast track Business Leadership from IIM Bangalore.


About Schneider Electric


Schneider Electric is leading the Digital Transformation of Energy Management and Automation in Homes, Buildings, Data Centers, Infrastructure and Industries.

With global presence in over 100 countries, Schneider is the undisputable leader in Power Management – Medium Voltage, Low Voltage and Secure Power, and in Automation Systems. We provide integrated efficiency solutions, combining energy, automation and software.

In our global Ecosystem, we collaborate with the largest Partner, Integrator and Developer Community on our Open Platform to deliver real-time control and operational efficiency.

We believe that great people and partners make Schneider a great company and that our commitment to Innovation, Diversity and Sustainability ensures that Life Is On everywhere, for everyone and at every moment.

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