In the lead up to the 2012 Sankalp Forum, please find the following interview with Vinay Jaju, co-founder of ONergy and a panelist at the Forum.
Punam Energy Pvt Ltd (ONergy) is an renewable energy enterprise established in Kolkata (2009), led by a strong mission to provide solar energy to 1 million lives by 2016. ONergy is led by a team of young professionals and has won various awards and been recognized by institutions such as IIM, IIT, TiE and internationally by Yale University, Sanata Clara University etc.The ONergy team’s work has been covered in over 100 media articles globally.
ONergy is providing complete energy solutions, by creating an ecosystem – to manage the needs, aspirations and resources of BoP beneficiaries, and applying appropriate renewable technology solutions effectively and creatively. ONergy creates a unique full service distribution infrastructure by establishing Renewable Energy Centres and operates through a network of trained rural entrepreneurs making it decentralized, sustainable and scalable.
Please provide us with the latest status of ONergy – what have you been up to recently, and what’s on the immediate horizon?
ONergy currently employs about 20 employees and has installed over 10,000 solar systems since start of operations (Jan 2010).
We have setup 4 renewable energy centre, the latest one inaugurated at howrah in fubruary 2012. We want to setup 4 new REC’s employing another 15 team members, training over 500 youth and impacting over 25,000 lives next year.
What is the greatest misconception of rural India that you have seen from your work?
The greatest misconception about rural india is that rural india deserves cheap products. Which in most cases is not only poorly packadged and branded but also compromises on quality. Rural india like all beings asipre for high quality products. there is a special facination for well now brands and well packadged products.
Tell me more about your innovative financing schemes, and please share a story/anecdote of how this has worked.
ONergy provides sustainable energy solutions and services to under-served households and businesses. We aim to empower our customer by providing financing through Grameen banks, cooperative societies, commercial banks and micro-finance institutions.
One story that comes to mind when it comes to financing is of Kakoli di, who makes paper bags – she lent out a solar lantern from us and used it for her kids’ education and using the light to extend her working hours in the evening, she achieved a breakeven as soon as she paid off her loan and simulatneously bought alarger system that electrifies her entire house – through solar lending. We are working technology companies like, Simpa networks and financing organisations like Milaap and SELCO mentors us in connecting with commercial and rural banks – to facilitate energy lending.
What do you hope to get out of Sankalp, and what will be your main message on your panel?
I would like to share my ideas and vision on electrification for india – that is decentralised and distributed – not necessarily free from grid.