Making solar power accessible

Making solar power accessible

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Saurabh Marda

In this time and age, existing energy sources are grappling with the challenges of offering clean power. In 2014, solar energy solutions were still nascent. This was the area that Saurabh Marda and Radhika Choudary, who had worked with solar energy players in the United States, decided to get into when they moved back to India in 2014.

Leveraging their experience, the duo went on to set up  Freyr Energy, a firm that currently offers a range of energy solutions powered by solar energy, ranging from rooftop systems, petrol pumps, solar water pumps to microgrids.

Speaking about the beginnings of the company, Saurabh Marda, co-founder and managing director, Freyr Energy says, “We noticed some gaps in the rooftop solar space and soon realised that both the big players and smaller guys in this space were facing problems. While the larger players were unable to figure out how to service individual houses and units such as MSMEs,  the smaller regional players were looking at the opportunities to scale without increasing costs. Customer acquisition was a tough task. That was the pain point we set out to resolve.”

The duo set up the company in Telegana in May 2014 and went on to work on a rural electrification project in Andhra Pradesh. In the past four years, the company has completed more than 1200 installations across the country and claims to have electrified more than 120 villages across the country. 

Freyr Energy recently raised Rs 27 crore in a Series A funding round led by C4D Partners, in a mix of equity and debt. Last year, Freyr Energy had secured seed funding from Doen-Participaties, a Dutch investment firm. 

Pivoting to app

In due course, they also began working on an inhouse app, SunPro, that was eventually launched in May 2017.

Marda explains, “The app is available on iOS and Android devices, which basically helps anyone to start and run a solar business. The application uses complex algorithms to identify the best possible solution and presents it in the simplest form for a customer.”
The app allows the sales team and partners to instantly design and price solar systems based on the needs of the customers. “The app asks some questions to gauge the customer requirement, factors in the changes in state policy and tells which vendors will supply the material, among other things. It took us three years to develop SunPro. The entire process can now be completed in a few minutes, allowing households and businesses to take decisions quickly,” says Marda. 

The app is equipped with CRM (Customer Relationship Management) and data analytics tools to help improve business performance.

“The solution helps individuals and micro, small and medium-sized companies to start and run their solar business. It is akin to hiring a team comprising a design engineer, pricing specialist, customer management, supply chain, and project management experts.

What next?

As the focus on solar-powered solutions increases, the company expects to grow considerably. “We have seen a lot of growth and turned profitable in 2016. Residential rooftops account for about 20% of our business, while MSMEs and village electrification and government projects take up 40% each. We have collaborations in multiple countries outside India as well,” Marda says. 

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