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We are currently monitoring a portfolio size of 450+ MW in wind and 400+ MW in solar space respectively

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Below are the excerpts of our recent interview with Mr. R Vijay, Domain expert (wind), Machinepulse & Mr. Shobhit Chitkara, Deputy Manager business Development, Machinepulse

Let’s begin with the glimpse of your company’s presence and offerings in India

MachinePulse™ is an end-to-end Internet of Things (IoT) solutions provider. We offer the entire product portfolio ranging from hardware to middleware to our cloud plat- form, to help our customers extract value from their IoT initiatives. At present, we provide monitoring and analytics solutions for solar PV installations (both utility scale and rooftop)and wind farms. Our product range includes:

1. SolarPulse is India’s leading remote monitoring application offering advanced analytics, condition monitoring and power forecasting features.

2. WindPulse our advance wind farm monitoring and analytics solution.

MachinePulse is a part of the Mahindra Group and has an enthusiastic team of more than 75 data scientists, programmers, hardware, and network specialists.

What have been some of the recent developments at your organisation?

MachinePulse has been observing the key evolving trends in this industry and working towards innovating for an age wherein device to device communication will far exceed all other types of communication. On the backend, we have developed a robust and rapidly scalable platform architecture, which will enable us to acquire  data generated from multiple sourcesand processes. We have also ensured that our platform has the resilience to scale rapidly to keep pace with the vast amounts of data being generated. While we have invested significantly in ensuring that user data is acquired reliably, our vision is to deliver a product that provides meaningful insights to our end customers. Therefore, the end applications SolarPulse™ and WindPulse™ have been designed to offer one its kind user experience (UX), and meaningful analytics features, which have helped our client’s manage their assets more efficiently. Further, we have been actively evaluating various internationally accepted protocols for managing data to ensure that we are compliant with almost all of them right from the data acquisition to analytics.

We have finished the development for the fourth iteration of SolarPulse™. SolarPulse v4.0 is ready to be rolled out into the market. The highlight of the latest version is that it has been developed on a completely open source technology stack. We have worked to deliver an interface that is transformational in its experience, when bench marked against the leading PV monitoring providers.. Where we differentiate from the traditional SCADA providers, is in our ability to provide conventional monitoring coupled with analytics with the help of our domain experts. The current version of the product has stepped beyond the descriptive and diagnostics capabilities on an analytics growth curve. It incorporates predictive analytics capabilities, which helps the asset owners improve the return of their investment and ensure that plant performance is maximised over the 25 years life cycle. There by maximizing the overall ROI. We have also started building on our second version of our wind moni- toring solution, WindPulse.

What are your growth plans for the Indian market?

Our intention is very straight forward, we want to deliver value to our customers leveraging the millions and billions of data points being generated every day from their assets. This value could come in terms of reducing the operational costs, maximizing uptime, reducing maintenance costs, or simply better management of their assets. We see the data we ingest on to our plat- form as a powerful tool, which along with our domain expertize in the RE space would help businesses improve their operational efficiency and optimize resources. This in our opinion also coincides with the larger vision of creating a sustainable future and would  provide  the  economic rationale to the huge investments being poured into generating renewable energy.

We are currently monitoring a portfolio  size of 450+ MW in wind and 400+ MW   in solar space respectively. The combined RE portfolio being monitored on our plat- form is already bordering 1  GW,  which  we expect to be in fruition by end of this calendar year. This comfortably  positions us as one of leading players in this industry across the Indian market. Our ambition for the forthcoming years is to gather more momentum in the Indian market, where bulk of the RE capacity is being projected to be installed. While the India market would always remain to be our focus, we are gathering some traction in the inter- national markets as well. Our strategy for growth in these markets would be identify strategic partners, who can offer us that incremental push.

What are the milestones you wish to achieve this year?

The year started on a positive note where we achieved our objective of building our own platform. We successfully launched our proprietary cloud platform Erixis™ in April of 2016. In our opinion this was the most important milestone we achieved as an organization, since this gives us the flexibility to scale at an unprecedented pace.

SolarPulse has already been launched in its βeta version, and we are expecting a complete launch by the end of January 2017. Alongside, we have another 200 MW under deployment in  solar  energy.  And we are planning to add around 250 MW  to our wind portfolio by the end of fiscal year, to meet our vision of achieving a portfolio size of over 1 GW by the end of the year.

What have been the latest trends in demand for your products & services in India?

The industry has already started to realize the value of data, and there is a significant amount of research being done in this regard. The industry focus is shifting from prevention to prediction and subsequently prescription. To elaborate, we see a lot of our customers interested in features of our product that help them predict a failure even before it occurs. Our subject matter experts and data scientists have devised algorithms, which monitor the health of a field device to identify patterns that lead to device failures. This data driven approach is OEM agnostic and can be easily replicated.

Also, we understand that CERC has come out with regulations for RE based generators to submit day-ahead forecasts for power generation as being done by con- ventionally. The policy has allowed for tolerance of ±15%, beyond which the plant owners would be subjected to penalties. Alongside, the proactive failure detection, our analytics team is dedicated towards ensuring reliable forecasts for our customers.

Where do you see demand growth coming from?

Although, our advances have been in the renewable energy sector the vision laid before the company identifies a much larger scope. We see a lot of traction in the market towards digitizing of factory shop floors. We have already carried a couple of pilots in the space, with our factory monitoring solution FactoryPulse.

However, the push that government has provided towards adoption of renewable energy certainly offers a lot of low hanging fruit. We all are aware of 2022 mission of installing 175 GW of Renewable energy  of which 160 GW is estimated to be coming from wind and solar. As we currently speak, the combined wind and solar installations total to somewhere in the region of 32-33GW, which offers us a mammoth opportunity five times the current market size in the next five years.

Views on condition monetary and servicing of wind turbine?

The cost of maintenance of a WTG can account for as high as 10 % of cost of generation of energy from low wind speed turbines. Also, some studies have revealed that 85% of maintenance cost as well as  the downtime of a WECS can be attributed to three major components, which being generator, turbine blades and gear- box. Therefore, condition monitoring of these critical components becomes almost unavoidable given the circumstances. Also, since wind installations are generally located in remote areas and separated from each other with considerable distances, effective monitoring of the state of health of the components in real-time leads to minimizing the exorbitant costs associated with maintaining wind turbines. Further, condition monitoring of wind turbines generates data, which when utilized to its potential can be leveraged to predict failures on these critical components proactively.

Any message you would like to give to wind industry.

We would like to encourage the entire wind industry including IPPs, OEMs, asset owners to come together and propagate the use of digital technology. We should use millions of data points being generated everyday to maximize generation through the life of the plant. This will benefit the entire industry, consumers as well as the environment. At MachinePulse we are constantly working towards adding value using data with the help of our domain experts in both energy and Internet of things technology. We would urge the industry to take a step forward and work towards collaboration for mutual and overall environmental benefits by achieving 60 GW wind energy target and more.