Solar91: Energizing India With Solar Power

Prateek Agrawal, Sandeep Gurnani, Dhawal Vasavada, Saurabh Vyas,,Co-Founder and DirectorUrbanization and economic development across India has led to a rapid rise in the demand of energy within the country. India is already on its way to adopting sustainable methods of power generation with the massive sources of green energy like sun, wind and water available around us in the nature. The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) has also set a target of adding 100 Gigawatts (GW) of solar energy by 2022.The Indian Government has come out in full support to ensure these solar energy expansions. Solar installations have already picked up pace and with the increasing awareness and strengthening of grid infrastructure; people are rapidly adopting solar technology to meet their energy requirements. Recognized by the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE), Solar91 Cleantech Pvt Ltd is one such on-site solar power provider which is helping the government in achieving its objective by providing roof top solar power solutions – right from the installation to its lifetime maintenance.

From an Idea to a Startup
Established in 2015, Solar91 is the brain child of four individuals Prateek Agrawal, Sandeep Gurnani, Saurabh Vyas and Dhawal Vasavada, who knew each other through the Pan-IIT network and wanted to come together and create disruption in the industry based on the principles of Quality, Time bound Delivery and genuinely attractive return on investments. Sharing the founding story of Solar91, Prateek Agrawal, Co-Founder and Director of the firm says, “Before the inception of Solar91, we met many existing as well as potential investors from different industry verticals. While many of them were paying huge electricity bills, they were really not sure that an investment of 25 years in a technology that was still untested to a large extent was wise. Thus, the missing element was trust. Over and above, each state had numerous existing investors who were taken for a ride by EPC companies. And finally, there was absolutely no financial guarantee or time commitment from most EPC companies that the investors could trust upon. However, over the last two yearsSolar91 has succeeded in addressing all these three concerns. We are very transparent when it comes to procurement of modules and were forth coming in sharing the module costs from the domestic and international markets. And finally, we are committed to the IRR shown in the financial model when the project is handed over to us for execution. Since our very first project in early 2016, Solar91 has been successful in delivering all projects within the timeline of ‘91’ days. Our plants have till date delivered benchmark capacity
utilization ratios and all our clients have gone in for capacity augmentation after successfully running their first plants for 2 - 3 quarters.”

Solar91 is renowned for handling everything for a client investing in Solar PV Power Projects, right from taking over a project to setting up the solar plant and offering post instalment services

Though Solar91 is a newly formed entity (Registered in Oct 2015), the founders of the firm have immense experience in setting up Solar PV Power Plants from scratch. The founding team of four IITians holds experience worth more than 140 MW of projects over the last 3 years. This backed with a strong liaison network with governments in different states and a reliable association with large land holders in different parts of the country has made Solar91 poised enough to use its technical competence to empower commercial and industrial establishments to save on expensive grid connected power. Large investors in solar power projects look for the right catalyst to help maximize their gains out of the investments and Solar91 believes in developing a trustworthy relationship with them while working not as an external entity but with the same dedication as their in-house solar experts.

Maximising Solar Performance
A 360-degree turnkey solar EPC solution provider, Solar91 is renowned for handling every thing for a client investing in Solar PV power projects. Right from taking over a project to setting up the solar plant and offering post instalment services, Solar91 with its experience in erection and commissioning of turnkey solar power projects ensures a hassle experience for its customers. Some of the services offered by the firm include Site Survey where comprehensive engineering assessment is being performed; System Design including Structure analysis, array layout and electrical specification; permission & approvals that involve building permit approvals and statutory clearances & approvals; installation of the solar plant and periodic inspection; monitoring & maintenance of solar production, energy consumption with 24 hrs system monitoring; Utility Interconnection with Permission to operate; and final inspection & commissioning where operations like quality control, quality assurance, punch point liquidation and flawless startup are performed. Solar91 also offers an internally developed tracking system which updates the clients about the day to day progress of the project, thus infusing transparency into the system.

As the solar industry changes with each passing year, both in terms of technology as well as pricing, for an EPC company, innovation not only comes from adopting new technologies but also from understanding the emerging policy dynamics and procurement practices. “We as a company are very flexible in helping the client meet their power requirements through solar energy and it is for
this that our employees understand the client’s need and have come up with an innovative and feasible solution to execute projects in a time bound manner. We integrate cutting edge solar technologies and equipments into our projects to increase generation and work to ensure the highest levels of client satisfaction through our support systems. For us, it is not just a company client relationship - it is a partnership that we enter into to help conserve the environment through a financially sustainable solution,” adds Prateek.

The firm’s major differentiating factor is its ability to execute projects in multiple states, under different policies of the power distribution companies and the nodal agencies in a very short time. The firm executes Medium to Large scale Roof top projects as well as captive open access projects at utility scale. While the first one has certain technical challenges, the second one has policy and feasibility issues which need to be tackled delicately. This has given the firm an edge over its other competitors in the industry, thus helping Solar91 in building an immense trust worthy relationship with its potential customers.

Paving its Way Ahead
The story of Solar 91 is one of audacity and entrepreneurship. The company has grown organically over the past two years. Since Solar EPC is a very capital industry with huge investment, it is natural that a new company will only build capacities gradually. However, Solar 91 is proud to have installed 12 MW ground mounted solar power plants across 3 major projects in North India and has installed 3 MW roof-top projects across Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and MP. Solar 91 has also catered its services to large textile manufacturer in Vidarbha region of Maharashtra, second largest print media group in North India and a number of medium to large scale plastic manufacturing, automotive and food processing industrial units in MP, Rajasthan and Maharashtra. The firm’s experience has also enriched over the years by working closely with a large mining conglomerate in Rajasthan and also with Joint Venture Company with multiple stake holders in UP for their ground mounted projects. With such a diverse spread of clientele and projects, it is a rarity for any new company to keep up with the competition, however, Solar 91 has been able to achieve this within 18 months since its inception and in the years to come, Solar91 envisions to not just expand its clientele but also evolve by leaps and bounds.

Concluding the conversation, Prateek says, “With a successful track record over the past years, we intend to keep up with this good work in the days to come. We believe that our Diverse Experience, Networks of the Founder Directors, a strong team with almost zero attrition which has understood the internal processes of the company and Good-will created by our initial projects which were executed flawlessly have in turn helped us bring in more business. Customer satisfaction and meeting our client’s objectives is our foremost priority. We believe in consistency and commitment and in future we will abide to this and improve further.”