HPLC is a high-speed power line carrier, also known as broadband power line carrier, working for data transmission on low-voltage power lines. The broadband power line carrier communication network uses the power line as the communication medium to realize the gathering, transmission， and interaction of electricity information of low-voltage power users. The broadband power line carrier mainly uses Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiplexing technology, and the frequency band between 2MHz and 12MHz. Compared with the low-speed narrowband power line carrier technology, HPLC has large bandwidth and high transmission rate, which can meet the higher demands of low-voltage power line carrier communication.
In 2019, the State Grid proposed "three types and two grids", in which the two grids are smart grids and ubiquitous electric Internet of Things. Interconnection of everything and human-computer interaction in the power system can be realized by utilizing modern information technology and advanced communication technologies such as mobile internet and artificial intelligence, to create a ubiquitous power Internet of Things with comprehensive status perception, efficient information processing, and convenient and flexible applications. The Ubiquitous Electric Internet of Things carries the data flow, which forms an energy Internet of "three flows in one", including energy flow, business flow, and data flow, together with the power flow carried by the smart grid that carries. The realization of data flow is inseparable from the wired and wireless internet technologies, such as optical fiber, NB-IoT, Bluetooth, 5G, HPLC, and so on. HPLC can play a greater role in sensing connection communication, which realizes various applications such as high-frequency data acquisition, remote monitoring, energy management, power analysis, and troubleshooting. HPLC communication unit is important communication equipment for the ubiquitous power Internet of Things in sensing Layer. Also, the integration of HPLC and wireless technology provides a convenient and flexible access method for the ubiquitous power Internet of Things.
At present, the largest market of HPLC is still the electric meter and collection equipment of electricity information tendered by the State Grid. According to the State Grid's 2019 bidding situation, HPLC-related products are mainly used in the type I concentrator, and the total number of related HPLC equipment is 1,208,864. Among them, only 2500 are equipped with HPLC, and the number of related equipment with 4G/HPLC technology integration is 1,197,364. The delivery quantity in 2019 was 223,635, and the delivery quantity in 2020 is 985,229.
Judging from the first tender in 2019, HPLC, as a local communication technology, also incorporates remote communication applications on the concentrator type I, in which the combination of wired technology and wireless technology is a characteristic of HPLC applications. In addition to the 4G public network, HPLC can also integrate wireless micro-power, NB-IoT, private network, and other wireless technologies, which can greatly expand the application and development space of HPLC. Especially in buildings where wireless is always inferior, as the signal blind areas, communication connections can be better realized with the help of HPLC technology. As HPLC is promoted by the State Grid, it will usher in more market applications in the future.
In 2017, the output of power line carrier communication chip industry in China reached 123.5 million, and the market size reached 3 billion yuan, an increase of 21.71% over the same period in 2016; in 2019, the output value of power line carrier communication modules reached 6 billion yuan. By 2025, the total market size of the domestic power line carrier communication chips is expected to reach 300 billion yuan.
Smart Meters Continue to Drive HPLC Demand
Smart meters are one of the basic devices for data collection in smart grids, especially smart distribution networks, which are responsible for the collection, measurement, and transmission of raw electrical energy data, and are the basis for information integration, analysis and optimization, and information presentation. For the majority of users, smart meters replace mechanical watches and electronic energy meters, allowing users to complete electricity payment without leaving home, check electricity consumption in real-time, and understand the remaining status of electricity, which greatly facilitates our lives.
The total capacity of the HPLC market is 450 million units, which comes from the overall domestic smart meter market. At present, about 200 million units have been tendered, and the remaining 230-250 million units will be recruited within two years from 2021-2022. This is the market for pure smart meters.
With the development of smart cities and the Internet of Things, smart meters are expected to become the most important terminal for the ubiquitous electric Internet of Things. It is predicted that more companies will enter the smart meter industry in the future.
The Distribution Network Market Becomes the Next Growth Point
distribution network, another bigger market in the future, refers to that all equipment that needs to work within the range of 10 kV to 30 kV in the distribution network needs to be connected to a converged terminal, which means that all equipment must have HPLC communication or HPLC plus dual mode, in which HLPC collects the data and report it to the fusion terminal, which will then report to the cloud for processing after the comprehensive processing. It is conservatively estimated that the distribution network market is three to five times that of the electric meter market, about 1.5 to 2 billion. It is speculated that the price of this module is 120-130 yuan, or even higher, with a total space of about 1.5 billion yuan. There may be a market size of 20-30 billion yuan every year from 2023.
Major companies in the industry include Qingdao Eastsoft Communication, Hi-Silicon, Leaguer microelectronics, and others. State Grid began to conduct large-scale unified bidding for HPLC modules and the whole machine from the fourth quarter of 2018. Beijing Smartchip Microelectronics has the largest share market in the industry, which is a subsidiary of State Grid Information and Communication Industry Group. Followed by Hi-Silicon and Qingdao Eastsoft Communication.
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