Smart metering deployment trends in India and China

smart meter India project

China, India, Japan and South Korea in Asian markets are expected to deploy 572.3 million smart electricity meters during 2021–2025, says IoT analyst firm Berg Insight.

Smart meter penetration stood at 69 percent in these markets, corresponding to an installed base of 653.3 million units at the end of 2019.

China has already completed first-wave rollouts. Japan and South Korea will be the next markets to reach nationwide coverage with likely completion in the next 3–4 years.

India reached a penetration of around 1 percent at the end of 2020 but is expected to be the main driver behind overall smart meter penetration growth in Asia-Pacific in the coming years.

China is expected to account for as much as 70–80 percent of smart electricity meter demand across Asia in the next few years with refreshment rounds replacing early smart meter installations now beginning at a larger scale in the country.

This demand continues to be fulfilled entirely by domestic manufacturers of which many have now grown to match the largest global smart metering players in terms of output and revenues, said Levi Ostling, smart metering analyst, Berg Insight. These vendors are now making strong inroads into fast-growing smart metering markets such as Central Asia, the Middle East and Africa.

Indian smart metering market has faced difficulties in ramping up its smart metering deployments. “Ambitious targets to roll out some 250 million smart meters within just a few years’ time has so far failed to materialize, with the installed base of such devices merely doubling over the past two years to reach a modest 3 million units at the end of 2020,” said Levi Ostling.

Tender activity for smart metering started to pick up pace during the second half of 2020 and a new funding scheme tentatively called SAMARTH and worth up to INR 4 trillion is currently under consideration by the government.

Berg Insight forecasts that the Indian market will experience a compound annual growth rate of 76.2 percent during the forecast period and account for as much as 15–20 percent of smart meter shipments in Asia in 2025.