Platform For Solar Energy Solutions | CleanTech Startup Idea

This CleanTech Startup Idea from the 1001 Startup Ideas collection of YoStartups is to develop a platform for solar energy solutions.

The platform will bring together various market participants in the solar energy sector to work with each other, leading to synergies.

Market Definition | Platform For Solar Energy Solutions

India’s power sector will see a significant change. The Government of India is focussing on attaining ‘Power For All’. For this, it is accelerating capacity addition in the country. Some of the notable numbers relation to India’s focus on solar energy is as follows:

1.       India’s rooftop solar capacity reached 525 Mega Watts (MW) (growing 66 per cent from last year). It has the potential to grow up to 6.5 giga watts (GW).

2.       There is a commitment to generate 266 GW of solar, the wind, mini-hydel and biomass-based power in India over the next 5–10 years by various domestic and global companies combined. This would mean an investment of about US$ 310–350 billion could be made in this area.

3.       The Government of India has taken positive steps in this direction and has provided a 10-year tax exemption for solar energy projects, etc., to make sure it achieves India’s ambitious renewable energy targets of adding 175 GigaWatts (GW) of renewable energy, including addition of 100 GW of solar power, by the year 2022. The cumulative installed capacity of solar power in India has crossed the 4 Gigawatt mark as of June 30, 2015

Competitor Analysis | Platform For Solar Energy Solutions

This is a relatively new area, and not many entrants have entered into this segment till now. However, this is a field that needs a lot of expertise, and that would be a deterrent for new players to come. Some players have entered this market and operate on the platform model envisaged in this article. With the focus that India has on renewable and clean sources of energy, it is important to note that this sector will see a lot of business, and there will be enough room for a few players to survive and excel.

Pain Point & Target Audience  | Platform For Solar Energy Solutions

The targeted customer market for this business is the “any customer that is looking to switch to solar energy”. A typical customer faces some problems in switching to solar which include high capital investment and lack of standardization in quality & price. It is also tough for a customer to decide on the right set of products, technology, price or the right service provider. Because of the reasons above, it becomes tough for a customer to take the decision to convert to solar energy.

Value Proposition  | Platform For Solar Energy Solutions

The customer should be able to visit the platform and mention the requirements. The website can do a detailed analysis of the project for a fee (which should not be very high) and provide a comprehensive report of the project including the capacity of the solar project, annual electricity generation and the cost economics of putting up a solar project. The report can also suggest the vendors and compare prices and facilitates making an informed and cost-economical decision for setting up the solar project.

Business Model  | Platform For Solar Energy Solutions

The customers can visit the website and provide the details of the proposed project on the site for setting up a solar project. The site can charge a fee for providing a detailed report on setting up the said project (as mentioned above). Since the website will be acting as a platform and help the customer choose vendors for delivering the project as well, the website can also charge a certain commission on each sale on the site from the Vendor.

Way to market  | Platform For Solar Energy Solutions

Currently, the focus on moving to solar energy is largely in the industrial areas. Considering the revenues from each customer can be very high, this business can afford a higher cost of acquisition, and hence, it would be advisable that particular sales representatives are appointed who visit industrial areas and guide the factory owners about these projects and start converting them into customers.

Milestones  | Platform For Solar Energy Solutions

The key in this business is to do some big solar projects in industrial areas, and it would need hard work from the founders to go to such industrial zones and educate factory owners about this. Initially, the business would not be able to sustain higher costs of sales representatives, and therefore, most of the work in this area would need to be put in by the founders.

Investment Needed For Prototype  | Platform For Solar Energy Solutions

For testing & building the prototype, pitch for raising 50K USD from angel investors or incubators like Nasscom 10,000 startups. There should be no office rentals or salary payout; the entire budget should be apportioned for customer acquisition and technology.

Team Capability  | Platform For Solar Energy Solutions

You would need to have a sales and marketing expert and a person who has set up solar projects in the past as co-founders.

Investors / Expert Take  | Platform For Solar Energy Solutions

Considering the early mover advantage and India’s focus on renewable and clean energy, investors may be looking at this product very favorably. Japanese Internet and telecommunications giant SoftBank, along with Bharti Enterprises (of Sunil Mittal) and Taiwanese manufacturing giant Foxconn, plan to invest US$ 20 billion in solar energy projects in India.

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