[Startup Bharat] IIT-Guwahati incubated Renergy Solutions provides clean power solutions for remote and non-electrified locations in Northeast India
With an increased focus on climate change, there is a slow but steady switch to greener energy alternatives such as wind or solar power.
As per government data, the total installed renewable energy capacity in India, excluding large hydro, has crossed the milestone of 100 GW. India currently stands at fourth position globally in terms of installed RE capacity — fifth in solar and fourth in wind in terms of installed capacity.
Helping the country switch to greener alternatives are Guwahati-based, Bhargav Deori and Sauvik Bhuyan, with Guwahati-based Renergy Solutions Pvt Limited.
“Northeast India has a lot of potential, and with the Act East policy, we feel it would be a base to connect India with the rest of Southeast Asia. Guwahati, a major hub for any industry in the region, provides a strategic base for market entry and project execution in any place in the region,” Bhargav Deori, Founder and Director, Renergy Solutions, tells YourStory.
What it solves?
Founded in 2016,is trying to reduce fossil fuel dependency by providing access to clean and quality power solutions to remote and non-electrified locations.
“We are working on the intervention of mechanised system required in rural allied sectors like fishery, dairy, etc., where the production capacity of these sectors is not fully utilised because of the unavailability of dependable quality power. Moreover, due to lack of proper cold storage in remote locations, the exotic fruits and flowers, which are perishable, are not getting their proper value,” Bhargav explains.
Renergy Solutions commercialises its renewable power plant as a turnkey solution to its clients, which includes setting up, procurement testing, commissioning of the plant, and the annual maintenance contract.
“The project can be treated as a capital expenditure by the client, or it may also be arranged on a build, operate, and own basis model. Other off-grid-based power solutions for rural segments are targeted at either large farmers or community-based programmes,” adds Bhargav.
In fact, the startup participates in government tenders for solar projects and has successfully executed several on-grid and hybrid projects.
In terms of scale, Renergy has commissioned over 1MW solar power projects in Assam and other northeastern states like Arunachal Pradesh and Nagaland.
Screenshots of some of the solutions provided by Renergy Solutions
Some of its projects include a 235KW on-grid solar power plant for GIMT (Girijananda Chowdhury Institute Of Management and Technology), Azara, and a 50KW rooftop solar plant for Guwahati High Court. They have also installed a solar pump for irrigation in Nagaon.
“We are working in the field of renewable energy to contribute towards a better environment, ensuring to meet the energy demand cost-effectively for the growth of the industry. We are bringing the best practices available globally to this untapped market in India,” Bhargav says.
According to Mercom India Research's Q2 2021 India Solar Market Update, the country added 4,578 MW (or 4.58 GW) of solar in H1 2021, exceeding the 3.2 GW of solar installed in all of the calendar year 2021.
NIT Silchar graduates Bhargav and Sauvik wanted to return to their home state and contribute towards the growth of the region.
Their passion for engineering and zeal to create new products customised for the local requirements found a base at the incubation centre in IIT- Guwahati, where they launched their startup.
Co-founders of Renergy Solutions
However, in 2018, Sauvik left Renergy to join the Assam government as an ACS officer, and serial entrepreneur Bijoyananda Chowdhury joined the startup as a director.
Under the mentorship of Prof Pankaj Kalita, Mentor Centre of Energy, IIT Guwahati, the startup has four full-time employees and five to eight freelancers depending on the project basis.
Funding and revenue
Initially, the co-founders pooled in their savings, and once they were able to show the design prototype and working model, the Technology Incubation Centre of IIT Guwahati provided the startup with a soft loan of Rs 15 lakh.
Later, during the project execution phase, Renergy was able to raise equity investment from angel investors.
“Currently, we are in talks with several financial institutions to raise debt-based capital based on current work orders in the pipeline,” Bhargav says.
YS Design Team
He claims the startup generated Rs 1.7 crore revenue in 2019. But, in 2020-2021, the startup’s revenue declined to half due to the pandemic.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has its toll on almost all the startups, and we also took a financial hit during this phase. As things are starting to shape up for better, we prepare ourselves to carry out more projects on the ground,” Bhargav shares.
Challenges and road ahead
Along the way, Renergy faced some major challenges, including logistical issues due to lack of transportation in remote areas, dependency on the suppliers from Delhi and Kolkata for a majority of the electrical equipment, the lack of service engineers in the region, and delay in government clearances.
“As we move forward, the renewable sector is unfolding itself with new opportunities and challenges. People are more adaptive to new technology and are becoming environmentally conscious, which gives a boost to the sector. However, price escalation in source, increase in trade tariff rate, and tough competitions from the bigger players prove challenges for us.”
Renergy competes with several renewable energy companies, including Verve Renewables, Claro Energy, Mera Gao Power, Cygni Energy, and Boond Solar Engineering and Development.
Bhargav adds, “We see other players more as a collaborator than a competitor. The sector is big enough, and it requires major investment in technology upgradation, market linkage, and capital infusion to reach its full potential. Here, each one of us has a role to play, and once we identify our core competency and work in it, we become a part of the value chain to optimise the total system.”
In the coming years, Renergy wants to focus on providing power solutions to agri-based industries in remote areas, such as solar pumps, aerators for fisheries, cold storage, captive solar plant for industrial clients, and on-grid government projects.
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