It is well known that India is facing an electricity crisis in both the residential and industrial markets. Not only are we inadequate because large parts of our population are not supplied with uninterrupted electricity, but we are also disadvantaged by rising fuel costs.
Hence, it is imperative for us to look for affordable alternative energy sources like solar power.
The good news is that we are.
Solar energy is a fast growing industry in India. Our installed capacity reached 28.18 GW as of March 31, 2019, exceeding the government’s original target of 20 GW, four years ahead of schedule.
The domestic market for distributed solar products (including lanterns, motors, pump kits and other household appliances) is ready to grow more than 2.5 times to 10,117 rupees by 2023According to GOGLA, a global association of the solar industry.
Hence for startups like ThingsCloud that uses solar energy to build clean, connected and intelligent home devicesIt’s time to make hay while the sun is shining (literally).
Anusheel Nahar (left) and Amruth Puttappa, co-founders of ThingsCloud
ThingsCloud was founded in 2015 by NIT Surat and an alumnus of the University of Texas Amruth Puttappa. After working with energy companies in the US for seven years, Amruth returned to India and began solving the energy crisis in the residential real estate market.
He was later married from Co-founder & CTO, Anusheel Nahar (Graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in Electronics and Control Systems). In 2016, the Bengaluru-based ThingsCloud was incubated under NASSCOM’s 10,000 Startups Initiative. At the beginning of 2019 it was named “Emerging IoT Startup of the Year” by TiE.
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AI-powered cleantech solution
ThingsCloud offers Solar inverter solutions for residential energy systems. With its inverters, residential associations can monitor their energy consumption, save 20 to 30 percent of excess energy and Save backup powerr for use in the event of a power failure – a fairly common occurrence in most of India.
The startup also offers Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Internet of Things (IoT) led Data insights that can predict demand and supplyand electricity flow through households. Algorithms in the inverters help to identify and provide usage patterns Regular insights to customers via the ThingsCloud mobile app.
Founder-CEO Amruth explained,
“Part of the AI algorithm is in the inverter and part of it is in the cloud. It will be adapted to your usage. If more power outages occur in your region, the inverter stores energy more efficiently. The usage is adjusted. The machine understands when and how you use it. This can save both energy and costs considerably. ”
ThingsCloud claims that its AI powered solar inverters are 20-30 percent more energy efficient than normal inverters and can Save up to 50 percent on costs required to operate a residential energy system. The inverters understand India’s grid inefficiencies better than foreign machines.
India is a country where power outages occur anywhere from 30 minutes to three hours a day (depending on your location). “It is It is impossible for inverter solutions from developed countries to understand these gaps.Amruth says: “There is a big problem in the housing market. A lot of potential energy that can be saved is wasted. “
Hence self-developed solutions like ThingsCloud.
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Journey by Numbers
After three years of research and development, the startup finally started processing orders in 2018. It is said to have already recorded growth of 400 percent. after the sale of 1,000 solar inverters and a turnover of 3 billion rupees. The hybrid inverters are currently available in Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh.
ThingsCloud expected Sales are expected to rise to 14 billion rupees by the end of 2019 Expansion begins across India, starting with the top 14 cities. The startup further claims that it is “sitting on an order book of 35,000” that it is expected to fill by 2020 registered for 20 IP patents for its innovative solution.
“We did a lot of research and development before we brought the product to market. We found that customers were ready to buy it. The “product market fit” has always existed, and we sat on orders from day one. We need a certain production capacity and deep tech to meet it. We want to conquer 25 to 30 percent of the solar inverter market by 2021. “
The company plans 5,000 units to produce inverters in six months. It takes approximately six to eight weeks to complete a production cycle.
ThingsCloud is currently designing and developing the inverters itself, while a Contract manufacturer brings them to life. “There are currently no plans to set up our own production facility,” Amruth reveals.
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Challenges and market landscape
When ThingsCloud launched in 2015, most Indian states didn’t allow it Network measurement (a billing mechanism that credits solar system owners for the electricity they add to the grid).
“Most states were not compliant, which was a huge barrier to entry. But a lot has changed since then. 23 states are now compliant with the grid measurement, “says Amruth.
The co-founder says while the ecosystem supports solar energy companies, ThingsCloud does not contact the government directly. And that could slow down some processes. “We’re still trying to optimize our solutions,” he says.
The potential of the Indian solar market has already been exhausted. Since this is a sunrise sector, several players are pressing for attention.
ThingsCloud is direct or indirect competition from people like Ostro Energy, Solar Mobility, ReNew Power Ventures, Zunroof, Etc.
However, the company claims that its unique mix of hardware and software solutions will fuel its vision, as Amruth puts it, “to become one of India Top two to three innovative energy conversion companies until 2021. “
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