Empowering the World with Solar Energy

By Ayushee Sharma

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The need for supplying a cheaper, sustainable form of energy to effectively fulfil the power demands has grown over the years. Due to its huge potential, solar is being used as an alternative to conventional source worldwide. India receives about 5000 trillion kWh solar energy per year over the land with most parts receiving 4kWh to 7kWh per square metre per day. With the aim to make solar simple, Radhika Choudary, co-founder and director, and Saurabh Marda, co-founder and managing director, founded Hyderabad-based Freyr Energy in 2014. The company provides homeowners, businesses, communities and various organisations with solar energy solutions according to their specific requirements.

Sharing the challenges faced, Choudary says, “Solar is a big market but is highly driven by the government and by subsidy. Uncertainties in terms of policies further hamper the rooftop market. There is an increase in consumer awareness of late, but it is still way off target to make a significant impact in the rooftop market. Finding the talent pool who fit well into a startup is another challenge.”

Their solutions include rooftop systems, petrol pumps, solar water pumps and microgrids. Setup for all is simple and low maintenance. Every solution has its own benefits.

Rooftop systems can run any existing equipment of the user and decrease the overall electricity bill.

Pumps (multi-purpose in plug-and-play variant) ensure timely availability of water due to which crop productivity increases.

A stable power supply for petrol pumps improves the life of components along with huge cost savings.

A microgrid is enough to power the whole community and has sufficient battery backup to work even in remote environments.

Other advantages of these solutions are reduced carbon-dioxide emissions, independence from main electrical grid, reliable drinking water supply and more.

When it comes to pricing, Choudary explains, “Price varies between ₹ 35,000 per kW and  ₹ 60,000 per kW based on size of the system, location and installation (with or without battery).”

After the launch of its technology platform SunPro in 2017—that manages the entire sales and operations process—for iOS and Android, the company has witnessed huge business growth. Overheads for operation and design, among others, have reduced due to automation.

An updated version, SunPro+, launched in December 2018, uses details like space constraints, local solar radiation and energy usage patterns to present the best possible solution for people running their own solar business. Choudary says, “It is an enhanced platform (mobile and Web) having a simple and easily adaptable interface that empowers the channel partner network to understand customer requirements and offer custom solutions instantly. This reduces customer acquisition costs by ninety per cent, and creates a detailed techno-commercial proposal instantly. Overall framework has been developed keeping in mind that anybody with or without solar knowledge can easily use it.”

Recently, Freyr Energy implemented a 240kW solar system at Kazipally manufacturing plant, near Hyderabad, for Centuary Mattresses. It has also worked with many state power agencies.

“Freyr has successfully installed an accumulative of 12MW of rooftop solar across nineteen states in India. Freyr projects usually range between 3kW and 1MW. The central government is trying to come up with a standard policy and subsidy plan. We are looking forward to that,” Choudary adds.

The company plans to grow further and has already expanded its network to the US, Singapore, Ghana and Nigeria besides other African markets. Currently, it is internationally pursuing an opportunity wherein SunPro+ will be given on a Software as a Service (SaaS) model to small- and mid-sized solar companies to help them grow their business, as informed by Choudary.


 

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