Apart from the global macro factors and a drive towards renewables, the Indian government is making some solid statements that indicate their thrust and seriousness about the renewable energy space. In fact, the Renewable Energy Minister Piyush Goyal has declared in a statement in The Economic Times India’s intent to be a world leader in this space in 4 years. That’s huge.
Given these statements, it appears that the government will create policies that create a more conducive environment for entrepreneurs to create ventures in this sector.
While several opportunities exist, one has not seen too many entrepreneurs considering it. Especially at early-stage, there are very few entrepreneurs creating startups addressing this segment.
In addition to the government’s thrust on the sector, the BJP government’s plan to create 100 smart cities too represents significant opportunities as renewables, and green & sustainable energy will be a part of the smart-cities program. It has to be.
The current models in the renewables sector have had challenges, especially on commercial feasibility. But is an opportunity that has to be addressed. Given the government as well as the private sector intent to consider renewable and cheaper energy option, there is an appetite to evaluate and seek innovations in products, services and business models.
And there are a few early-stage companies who have demonstrated some phenomenally innovative technologies and concepts. For example, GreenOil, a company in the bio-energy space has used frugal innovation to develop a digester that can take in industrial and farming waste, including acidic liquid affluent, and convert it into gas and natural fertiliser. This is a low cost, high efficiency technology that breaches the cost threshold, making it profitable to use industrial and farming organic wet waste to profitably produce methane (the main constituent of natural gas). They have already demonstrated the technology in Rajasthan, and are now raising capital to scalp up this solution.
Similarly, Solar Town has innovated on solar products and solutions with an integrated solar inverter and roof top solar energy products for homes.
However, these innovations and few and far between compared to some of the other sectors that are more visible in India. This has to change.
The challenge, as it often is, is in getting funding for startups in the renewables energy space. I think this is where the industry and the government agencies too need to come collaborate to create platforms for easier access to capital for startups and early-stage companies.
The Hub for Startups is putting together a framework for such a platform.
Watch out for this space.