Radiance Renewables: Driving Sustainable Innovation in India's Renewable Energy Landscape

 Manikkan Sangameswaran,   CEOGlobally, a shift towards sustainability and green economies emerged alongside increased investment in eco-friendly solutions. Initially, solar energy was economically impractical due to its high costs. However, a substantial drop in solar power costs, aligning with traditional wind energy prices, marked a pivotal moment in renewable energy. This shift sparked a solar industry boom, paving the way for innovative ventures like Radiance Renewables.

Radiance Renewables operates as a renewable energy provider in India, focusing on Commercial & Industrial (C&I) clients. Their mission is to aid Indian businesses in transitioning to sustainability by providing green energy. Their approach involves a full-service model for managing the lifecycle of renewable energy projects, including development, ownership, operation, and financing. They offer renewable energy as a service through long-term purchase agreements, eliminating the need for upfront capital investment. This ensures stable energy prices for 15 to 25 years, resulting in immediate cost savings of 30–40 percent compared to traditional sources. Additionally, by switching to renewable energy, businesses fulfill CSR goals and meet environmental compliance standards, enhancing their sustainability profile.

Inception Story

Established in 2018 (Mumbai), Radiance Renewables swiftly emerged as a leading player in India's renewable energy landscape. At its core, the company is driven by innovation, embodying four foundational pillars: vibrancy, sustainability, reliability, and eco-enabling. With a relentless commitment to providing customized, cost-effective solutions, Radiance Renewables thrives on pioneering technology and innovation. Since its inception, its approach has been characterized by a dynamic blend of vision, creativity, ambition, and cutting-edge engineering.

“Over more than two decades, I have been deeply engaged in the infra-structure sector. Previously, I held leadership roles within infra-structure funds, notably at ICICI Venture and before that at Babcock & Brown India. During this period, spanning from 2009 onwards, I observed a significant global shift towards a greener economy, catalyzing my interest in combating climate change through the utilization of renewable energy sources. In 2016, I founded Origin Renewables with a focus on decentralized rooftop power generation tailored for the C&I market segment”, says Manikkan Sangameswaran, CEO.

Further, Origin Renewables experienced rapid growth, attracting significant demand and orders totaling nearly 20 megawatts. To meet this demand, Radiance Renewables, promo-ted by Eversource managed the largest climate fund in India viz. Green Growth Equity Fund, bought out Origin Renewables, with M. Sangameswaran joining Radiance as its CEO. Under his leadership, Radiance Renewables expanded from a small team of 5 members pre-covid to over 40–45 employees (post-Covid) and now with a strong team of 90+ employees has developed and built an operational capacity of approximately 500 megawatts within three and a half years.

Innovative Business Models

Radiance offers multiple business models like open access captive, open access third party, and behind the-meter models based on the needs and requirements of customers to maximize savings while complying with relevant regulatory frameworks. Besides, the company also provides an end-to-end partnership solution in three phases initiating with Evaluating, Design Thinking & Planning then, Engineering & Installing, and Proactive Asset Management. Radiance futuristic solutions involve solar and Battery Storage/Hybrid Solutions, Wind and Solar Hybrid Solar Solutions, and other forms of Generation.

Emphasizing the solution Manikkan states, “Our solution primarily revolves around green energy deployment on an OPEX model, which minimizes upfront costs for customers. Our business model focuses on customized solutions, including offsite solar farms, and onsite rooftop or behind-the-meter
installations - resembling a prosumer model where customers both produce and consume energy. Presently, our portfolio includes several megawatt-scale open-access solar projects deployed across various solar farms in different locations. By opting for off-premise projects like solar or wind farms, we bypass constraints imposed by limited space on customer premises. This enables us to supply power to customers via the grid, catering to their substantial energy requirements. Customers have two options: investing equity in the project to qualify as a 'captive' project that saves on certain charges like cross-subsidy and additional surcharges, resulting in swift returns on invest-ment, or opting for an open access model without equity, albeit incurring some surcharges, but still yielding savings and procuring green power”.

Moreover, Radiance's flagship offering is the 'Captive' or 'Group Captive' Open Access Power model. In this setup, the customer invests 26 percent equity in the project, resulting in substantial savings due to captive classification. This model fosters customer involvement in the form of 'skin in the game' and aids project financing from banks and institutions. Additionally, the company anticipates evolving market trends and plans to introduce new offerings such as Inter-State Transmission (ISTS) projects that allow for the sale of power from a generating station in one state to consumers located in another state. To address ISTS project challenges, Radiance has established a power trading entity that has recently been granted a power trading license. Once operational, it aims to provide seamless renewable energy solutions to customers, including short-term power sourcing and balancing requirements through its trading arm. These initiatives signify a commitment to meeting evolving customer needs.

Radiance offers multiple business models like open access captive, open access third party, & behind-the-meter models based on the needs & requirements of customers to maximize savings while complying with relevant regulatory frame-works

Leveraging the Latest Technology

Radiance Renewables embraces cutting-edge technologies to enhance efficiency and sustainability across its operations. Implementing bifacial modules with tracker systems and robotic cleaning at solar sites optimizes energy generation while conserving water resources. A centralized data management system facilitates real-time monitoring and analysis of plant performance, enabling proactive maintenance and continual operational improvements. Leveraging AI and ML enhances predictive analytics for better asset management. In terms of safety and compliance, the company utilizes computer vision technology using field cameras to uphold ESG and HSE standards, reducing security costs and enhancing workplace safety. Radiance Renewables also integrates digital tools into project management to streamline processes, demon-strating a commitment to digitization, innovation, and excellence.

“We have set operational excellence targets across various functions and are leveraging technology extensively, from document management to contract management systems. We are continuously exploring new techno-logies, particularly in the field of solar energy, such as improving albedo for projects using bi-facial technology to enhance energy generation. These emphasize our focus on innovation and staying ahead of competitors by providing low-cost affordable solutions and ensuring customer satisfaction. We believe in transparency with customers, and the same is demonstrated through features like providing our customers with real-time access to a dashboard to monitor energy generation”, noted Manikkan.

Nevertheless, Radiance’s strong pedigree in renewable energy, particularly in the B2B sector emphasizes its leading position as a high-growth portfolio company of one of the largest climate change funds operating in India. They differentiate themselves through a focus on ESG standards, positioning themselves as high-quality partners for long-term contracts. Their approach to branding involves providing tailored solutions for Indian corporates' green transition, considering factors like current power usage, state regulations, and technical requirements. They prioritize ethical and fair dealings with customers and mitigate project risks by investing in pre-project development, such as building solar and wind farms. The company employs a multi-pronged approach to business development, engaging directly with customers and through channel partners. They maintain visibility through social media, industry forums, and campaigns educating stake holders about the benefits of renewable energy adoption.

"We are scaling up our capacity from 500 to 2000 megawatts over the next three years. Simultaneously, we are enhancing our product offerings by transitioning towards hybrid projects, with plans to incorporate storage solutions. Additionally, we are shifting our focus from standalone intra-state projects to interstate projects, enabling us to deliver power through interstate transmission systems.

This strategic shift facilitates access to previously underserved markets such as Assam, Meghalaya, and Orissa, leveraging higher renewable energy power generation from resource-rich solar regions like Rajasthan with higher irradiation and abundant wind resources in states of Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, Maharashtra, and Karnataka. Our goals encompass scaling our business, diversifying our offerings, and leveraging our power trading license to provide comprehensive solutions to our clients in the (C&I) market, including short-term, long-term, and hybrid power options", concluded Manikkan.

Subtle Solutions For Sustainable Success

Radiance Renewables envisions itself as a market leader in the Commercial & Industrial (C&I) sector, prioritizing customer-centricity & facili-tating their transition to green energy. The company is deeply committed to providing customized solutions tailored to each client, recognizing that a one-size-fits-all approach is not feasible. This customer centric and solution-oriented approach guides Radiance Renewables in its endeavor to build lasting partnerships & drive sustainable growth in the renewable energy landscape.