Meet the Tech30 company that executed a solar project the size of 100 football fields in Karnataka, in just three months
Oriano, a Tech30 rising star that crafts turnkey solar solutions, has already hit revenues of Rs. 46 crores in 15 months
At the beginning of 2015, the solar market reached the cusp of exponential growth globally and even more so here, in India; so, the gap in the solution-providers space was felt more than ever. With enough room and requirement in the ecosystem for players to pitch in and make their deposits towards the National Solar Mission’s target of installing 100,000 MW by 2022, it made for the perfect time to craft a company from India that can cater to growing needs of solar power here, and globally. This led the Mumbai trio of Sachin Jain, Yeshwant Rao and Sameer Shah to tap the opportunity and create a world-class solar focused EPC (Engineering, Procurement & Construction) firm, aka Oriano Solar, in June 2015.
The expertise, the chemistry and the plunge
Sachin is an engineer-MBA with prior experience with KPMG, Mahindra Solar, Tyco International and Cognizant.Yeshwant, also an engineer-MBA, comes with experience in the fibre optics components industry. Sameer has a degree in Chemical Engineering and Finance, and is the CMD of Chembond Chemicals Ltd, a company listed on the BSE.
Having worked in the corporate world for over fifteen years, the plunge had its usual associations in his mind – the uncertainties, the risk and the great career switch, for the trio. Oddly enough, what reinstated their confidence in this decision is the fact their would-be partners, all veterans in the industry they were attempting to infiltrate, will have each other’s backs. “I have known Sameer and Yeshwant for almost five years, so, I knew working with them as co-founders would be an enriching experience and that was the driving factor,” says Sachin.
What they created
Oriano Clean Energy Pvt. Ltd. specialises in clean technology solar solutions. The company makes solar energy affordable and accessible to the mass market, and helps reduce harmful greenhouse gases (GHGs). Oriano offers customised, turnkey solar EPC installations to help consumers reduce their energy costs and bring down their carbon footprint.
Many of their current and prospective clients are through their past relationships, which they have nurtured over the years. Technically speaking, being an EPC company, their job starts once the customer has won the project. “However, we have created a niche by working in collaboration with the customers, even before the solar project is being awarded to them, right from helping them enter the solar market to assisting them in the bidding process to finally bringing financial investors to the solar project. Through this, we have been successful in building a trust factor with the customer,” says Sameer, co-founder at Oriano.
With great ticket-sizes comes great investment
One of their toughest challenges was in the initial days. Having won a large customer, they were in a fix about raising working capital. “It was tough because banks are very cautious in extending limits to new services companies who have no assets. Some of us had to put in large security deposits to back the limits. We passed through that phase and now, with internal accruals and our strong financial position, we are in a position where we can raise capital or credit to fuel our growth,” says Yeshwant.
In a span of sixteen months, Oriano Solar has executed prestigious projects including Amway, SunEdison, Cipla, Honda in seven states and union territories across India. In fact - they successfully completed a 23 MW solar power project in Karnataka having solar panels spread across an area equivalent of 100 football fields, and in all of three months, at that!
Oriano’s revenues come from supply and installation of solar projects. The startup earns revenues of around Rs 2.8 crore for 1 MW installed, and has reached INR 40 crore revenue in the first 5 months of FY 16-17, already. Additionally, they have won orders worth INR 110 crore. The company is on target to meet its FY16-17 projections of Rs 90 Crore revenue and Rs 8 Crore profit before tax. “Our growth hack is to consider ‘each customer as the first customer.’ This motivates us to give undivided attention to each customer,” says Sameer.
Currently, Oriano has a Solar EPC pipeline of over 100+ MW in FY17. Looking at the India’s National Solar Mission target of 100,000 MW by 2022, the opportunity is huge. To give you an idea of the scale of the market going forward, this 100 GW target is 12 times what we have installed in the country as of today. Globally, the opportunity is even larger, with over 250,000 MW of installations already done and growing at around 25 to 30% annually.
The large companies in this space locally are engineering & construction companies like L&T, Sterling Wilson, Susten, Tata Power's, etc. Globally, solar has for a few years now attracted the leading engineering companies of the world. So, as they grow, they are competing with large and reputed engineering & construction companies.
“However, being smaller, we are agile in our processes and execution and focused only on solar, unlike some of the other large groups. Hence, we are able to give personal attention to each and every customer to not just meet customer expectations but to go beyond and ensure customer delight,” explains Sachin.
Going ahead, Oriano Solar’s plan is to execute 250+ MW of Solar EPC by FY19, and make a wider development impact to the society. Oriano Solar is also in talks with a few private equity investors, to raise Rs 20 crore in the next couple of months and fuel future growth.
Speaking of fuelling future growth…
The trio has been a spectator of Tech30 over the years, and are thrilled to be on the other side of the stage. “We are so looking forward to sharing our journey and our plans with the conference attendees there, and interacting with this excellent ecosystem, we hope to learn to keep innovating so that we grow further and be a leading startup from India,” exclaims Sachin.
Interest in CleanTech goes up and down in waves but it is an area which will always require work. With experience of working in companies such as Mahindra Solar and also running a public-listed company, the Oriano team has firepower at the helm to harness more solar energy.