Solar power capacity has increased more than 11 times over the past five years, from 2.6 GW in March 2014 to 30 GW in July 2019.
The tone for this year’s climate-friendly budget was already set by Prime Minister Narendra Modi last November when he announced “The Panchamrit” (five pledges) at COP26 in Glasgow to meet the ambitious climate goals of the ‘India. This was followed by the ‘Pro-Planet People’ approach he announced during his address at the World Economic Forum’s virtual Davos summit in January this year. Government plans, initiatives and projects are well aligned to meet the larger and more ambitious goal of increasing installed solar capacity by 280 GW by 2030. The aggressive allocation of 19,500 cr for the incentive linked to the production (PLI) announced this year is a huge boost for players who are in the segment of developing products to harness solar energy. Recently, India has reached the 5th position in the world in the deployment of solar energy overtaking Italy. Solar power capacity has increased more than 11 times over the past five years from 2.6 GW in March 2014 to 30 GW in July 2019. Currently the solar tariff in India is very competitive and has reached the network parity.
Sunpower Renewables is a renewable energy solutions company that claims to work to provide environmentally friendly, technology-based energy storage solutions. The company has developed solar energy solutions. On the occasion of World Sustainable Energy Day, Tarun Bhardwaj of FinancialExpress.com met Rahul Kale, Founder and CEO, Sunpower Renewables and discussed the renewable energy sector in India and more. Excerpts:
Can you tell us about the different product offerings and their application that consumers can use to reduce their carbon footprint?
Over the years, the increase in human activities has led to an increase in our carbon footprint and, consequently, a deterioration of our climate. However, this damage can be significantly reduced by switching to a cleaner source of energy. Today’s customers need more versatility and independence in their power generation. At Sunpower Renewables, we analyze customer needs to offer a wide and exclusive range of energy storage products. Our products include smaller capacity portable units as well as larger units that can be used for residential, commercial and industrial applications. Although the application of the product varies depending on the size and capacity of the unit, the versatility of the product allows the same unit to be used in multiple scenarios. For example, the unit that is used to power an oxygen concentrator can even power your home and appliances like TV, refrigerator, etc.
The size and capacity of a unit depends on the load you can put on the unit. The smaller units can also be used for commercial and industrial purposes depending on what they are trying to power. We have a whole range of products and portable devices that can be used at home or in different places.
What is Sunpower Renewables doing to encourage consumers to use these energy efficient products?
We offer and develop products that encourage people to move away from traditional options based on fossil fuels. We promote energy efficiency through our product range and further raise awareness through various initiatives. Saving energy is one of the primary and most effective ways to reduce carbon emissions in your lifetime. Its impact does not happen overnight, but it plays a crucial role in delivering long-term benefits to our environment. Our main goal is to create an informative and educational background around energy efficient products. We educate people on how they can switch to renewable products to reduce their carbon footprint. Many people are already aware of this, but they don’t know how to integrate it into their daily life and therefore we explain to them how to move to a greener future is an easy and not difficult and time-consuming process.
As part of the awareness exercise, we run camps to reach a wider consumer base and increase their knowledge on the subject while demonstrating the use of our products. We have observed a growing awareness of energy conservation among the younger population, so we run training programs for schools and children so that they understand the benefits of renewable energy at a very young age. It also helps to develop passion in children and encourage them to pay more attention to energy conservation. There are calculators available on which customers can calculate the amount of carbon emissions they have managed to reduce in their lifetime by using the products.
What kind of research goes into making these products for home use?
India is a big market for household products. However, there is still a need to inculcate the use of energy efficient products in people’s daily routines. With this in mind, we spend a lot of time understanding what customers want and understanding their requirements. There are several levels and layers of research. We take multiple customer feedback on where they are facing a problem, the solution of which evolves from a problem statement we create. This includes the customer’s biggest problem and how can we solve it by taking on the clean energy part. Once we have developed a problem, we need to see what solutions are available or what needs to be developed to achieve that solution. We try to develop a solution that is not only technically superior but also commercially cheaper so that it translates into cost savings for the customer.
This includes things like where do they use the units and what time do they use them the most. For example: if there is a power cut in the apartment and you were on a conference call, it is very likely that your Wi-Fi connection will be interrupted for a few minutes. To avoid this, we have products capable of powering units of such critical use.
Are new products in the pipeline?
There are a few products that we will be developing, one is our Thor unit which is a more powerful unit with its functionality in the form of expandable batteries. This particular unit can also be managed through a mobile device. We are looking to introduce products that can help with better integration with new age devices like smartphones, smart homes, etc. The larger units that can be used for residential and commercial purposes weigh around 50 to 70 pounds and can be easily transported. . Other than that, we are also focused on developing units that are not only portable but can also be used to charge your vehicle on the go for last mile connectivity.
What is the company’s total turnover? And what are the plans for the Indian market?
Sunpower Renewables currently has total revenue of $150 million. Since its foray into India in 2018, the company has seen over 40% year-on-year growth and sold around 20,000 units. We want to gradually enter the Indian market. We are looking to increase our reach in both B2B and B2C channels. We want to educate our customers and make them aware of the uses of our product which will help in India’s transition from a fossil fuel based economy to a cleaner economy and reduce the use of diesel for power. rescue.
Most of these energy saving products are expensive. What is SPR doing to make it more affordable?
Bearing in mind that India is a cost-sensitive market and many people believe that switching to a cleaner source of energy is expensive, we model the financial benefits of using the products for customers. Even though they might think the product is very expensive, in reality when they compare it to diesel alternatives, they are actually three times cheaper. They look at the payback period of eight or nine months on the diesel product versus a ten-year life on our product. The next part is understanding how people do a battery to battery comparison. Most people compare a lead-acid battery to a lithium-ion battery. So 1KW lead-acid battery and 1KW lithium-ion battery are not the same and when you compare the cost, our products have longer life with much more efficiency and less maintenance . Our products come with an all-inclusive cost as they have no installation and maintenance costs. I think raising awareness and educating customers is the most important step in getting them to convert to using energy efficient products.