Imagine slashing your monthly electricity bill from Rs. 5,000 to Rs. 500. Now imagine it being negative, that is, the electricity company owes you money that will be adjusted in the next bill.
Instances like above are now becoming common with the installation of solar rooftops systems that feedback the excess electricity into the grid across tier 1 & 2 Indian cities.
The renewable energy market is expanding exponentially as people are becoming more aware of the economical and environmental benefits.
The majority of large players focus on mass production to achieve economic viability. Installations for individual households remain a relatively untapped area that holds tremendous potential. Bhopal based Shaktisteller energy ventured into this field and went a step further by making the entire house sustainable.
One thought, One step
Shaktisteller Energy Solutions, founded by Ankit and Praveen (Co-Founder), came into existence during the transition years when the government policies and schemes were actively promoting startups and scaling of renewable energy. They have five core members with rich experience and expertise in technical, marketing, operational and strategic aspects of renewable energy. The company aims to take a substantial load off the grid in an economically feasible manner. This will be done via a decentralized and local-centric model.
Sustainable living at best
Transforming a house into a sustainable abode, fulfilling all the energy needs from reliable and renewable sources— solar on-grid systems generating electricity, portable biogas units providing clean cooking gas and rain harvesting systems providing water. It helps you do your bit to realize the Sustainable Development Goals from the comfort of your home.
It also manufactures no-emission bikes and converts two-wheelers running on petrol into eco-friendly Electric Vehicles. These solutions cater to all levels of consumers- individual homes, apartments, hospitals, clusters, etc.
The electricity transmission and distribution losses in India are among the highest in the world due to electricity theft, outdated infrastructure, etc. If the synergies are realized, the electricity distribution companies stand to benefit as well since they suffer huge monetary losses with the business as usual approach. Thus complementary economic- environmental benefits can be realized for different stakeholders.
Expanding horizons – The Growth
Shaktisteller had received adequate support from the academic circle of Madhya Pradesh. It had developed, tested and exhibited prototypes in engineering colleges. The company has installed 20-30kW solar solutions for bulk consumption in hostels, hospitals, temples, offices, etc. The team is working on a Microgrid i.e. an energy management system that matches the solar output with the demand. With this, a single house can meet the energy requirements for nearby homes during an electricity outage. It is also working on gas level indicators and apps that let you monitor the biogas system for efficient and maximum use.
To bring about a behavioural change and market their products, they focused on the economic and environmental benefits as key advantages of their products. After all, a product that is pocket-friendly and efficient has immense potential to be a crowd-puller in India. To achieve this, Shaktisteller invested a lot in R&D of products and technology suitable for the Indian context. Due to the limited production of different components by Indian companies, they took to fabrication, processing and assembling of various parts to build their systems. They have even patented the technology for some of their solar products. The company provides steel plate badge to be put up outside houses that indicate its renewable status – something the consumers take pride in displaying.
Making choices – The difference
After-sale services and operation is often a sticking point for consumers, an area where large gaps remain in India. This requires an in-depth analysis of practical issues and skilling for adequate workmanship. People do not easily believe the companies’ claim unless they try the product themselves. This is where Shaktistellar aims to develop an edge. Their solar solutions are easily adaptable to the fluctuations caused in the electrical grid of India. Thus, they’re quite reliable. Their biogas solution tank is portable, compact and clean. It doesn’t require cow dung as with other biogas solutions and gives clean cooking gas from organic kitchen waste. It is safe, odour-less and requires low maintenance. Salai, their flagship electric two-wheeler is equivalent in comfort, speed and power to any 110-150 CC motorcycle. It also plays cool on the rugged and topsy-turvy roads of Indian villages.
Overcoming the Challenges
Despite the policy support by the government, the company sure faced many issues while expanding its presence. Inertia and red-tapism in the lower bureaucracy was a major hindrance. Initially, it was difficult to deal with the state electricity department and distribution companies due to outdated mechanisms and infrastructure. This caused problems while getting new connections, installing upgraded meters, grid feedback mechanisms, etc. This was on top of the additional competition from other companies in the same field. To add to the challenges, many customers needed to be explained and convinced of the drawbacks of poor placement of solar panels, as customers often wanted the panels to be placed as per their own choices.
Road to Atmanirbharta
The work done by Shaktisteller not only promotes local manufacturing and sustainable solutions but also exemplifies the kind of behavioural change and awareness being brought about by social entrepreneurship. Locally viable and economically feasible solutions achieved by systemic study and holistic integration are the key to realize ambitious goals like Smart Cities and Green India Mission in the medium term.
Such initiatives will go a long way in realizing Atmanirbhar Bharat by ensuring sustainable and cost-effective energy sufficiency at scale.
Article by Subhav Duggal, Team ulaunch.