Viz-A-Viz with Saikat Roy, MD & CEO, MyWay Energy and Lighting India Pvt Ltd

Q. To begin with, please tell our readers more about myWay Solar and its contribution towards clean & green energy.

Saikat Roy

Saikat Roy, MD & CEO, myWay Energy and Lighting India Pvt Ltd

Ravi Renewable and Lighting India Pvt Ltd (RREL) is an organization that tries to understand the pain points of the industry and works towards elimination of those difficulties. We have two divisions – Renewable and LED lighting and in both these divisions we run one of a kind schemes for the industry and our customers. We run both the organizations under the brand “MyWay”. In Renewable we run the Same As Cash Mechanism (SACM) and in Lighting we run the Smart Save Smart Gain scheme (SSSG).

RREL is an extremely customer centric organization and all our decisions are based on customer satisfaction. Our strong promoter credentials (we are promoted by the The Three Sisters: Institutional Office TTSIO) along with the unique offerings are helping us to outperform the industry and we are tripling our growth over the last two years and will continue to grow at this fast pace over the next three years as well.

We are already generating profits in just the second full year of operations and this year we will set up internal processes to manage the phenomenal growth that we will be achieving in FY 19. The four core values of the organization are –

  • We should be the easiest company to do business with
  • Choose a customer carefully but once chosen never let profit centre conflicts get in the way of doing what is right for the customer
  • Each Individual is a Leader, A profit centre head and a Decision Maker – Leaner is better
  • We will not resort to shortcuts in getting business, we will follow the right and ethical way – Zero Tolerance to Unethical Practices These are the basic principles on which I and each employee of the organization take our decisions. Employees are empowered to take decisions and the management backs them as long as they fall under our core principles.

We are working in a segment wherein we can have an impact on the socio-economic structure of our country and strongly believe that solar has to be utilised where it is generated. Hence we are working very strongly in the off grid segment and on solar rooftops.

Q. What is myWay Solar’s – 360o Business Model? Please elaborate.

Under the 360o Business model, we take care of all our partner’s needs – end to end. Under this model the customer does not have to invest into his business nor does he have to increase his fixed expenses. As our partners grow, it not only helps the industry to grow but also increases employment opportunities and impacts the lives of numerous people. We are trying to follow a holistic approach wherein we do not compromise with the quality of the product while creating a business environment conducive for growth and also contributing to a better tomorrow. In the renewable sector we run the SACM scheme.

Presently we have close to 13 business partners across India. We are partnering these companies to scale up at a faster pace than what they would have done individually. We are aggregating businesses across regions and using those economies of scale to bring down material and operational costs.

In the SACM scheme we finance procurement, as well as provide operational support like sourcing, warehousing, insuring and even commissioning projects. We help in improving the business efficiencies of our business partners, we help them to expand without them having to increase their fixed costs, we train their people in project management principles and we work closely with the promotors for seamless transition to the next level.

In the LED lighting sector, we run the SSSG scheme, wherein we encourage companies to invest in fixed assets which has direct relation to increasing their productivity whereas we take care of installing/ replacing and maintenance of their lights. We work in the industrial and commercial segment where proper lighting is of utmost importance. We educate end customers on the importance of proper lighting in different areas of use like offices, factories, conference rooms etc. We provide entire lighting design and then install energy efficient LED lights to bring down their electricity costs.

We provide for warranties which are higher than the present prevailing market norms and also give them free maintenance for one extra year. As we move forward we intend to add more energy efficient products into our portfolio in order to provide more options to our customers.

Both the above schemes are customer centric wherein we enable them to focus on their core strength without having to spend time and money on operational issues. We get paid only if our products and services perform upto their expectations. In short we help customers increase their revenues and profit without having to spend from their pockets for doing so.

Q. How do you ensure the quality and durability of your products?

We ensure that all the procurement is done by our team. This is beneficial to our partners also as we are aggregate the business and bring scale to procurement thus adding value to our customers. We are traditionally larger buyers than most of our partners. This ensures that we have a better grip on the vendors. During procurement we ensure that our quality personnel are stationed at the vendor factories.

We ensure that products are manufactured as per our specifications and there are no deviations. Over the last three years there have been numerous instances wherein we have rejected lots and the vendors have had to manufacture again to meet our specifications. We also ensure that all products are as per our norms or as per norms of the tender, whichever is applicable.

Q. What are the regions in which myWay Solar has its footprints across the country?

MyWay Solar has over the last three years worked on a Pan India scale. We have worked in Tamil Nadu, Punjab, Uttarakhand, Odisha, Chattisgarh, Andhra Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh. We are looking at new opportunities for our rooftop development business and will definitely add to our tally in the coming months.

Q. In your view, how Solar PV Pumps are changing the lives of people in rural India?

I believe that the Solar PV Pump scheme is an excellent scheme for rural India. Like our 360o model, this scheme is also beneficial to all stakeholders – Farmers, Governments at the state and national level and to the solar industry as well. We are all aware that during seasons of deficit rainfall, most governments have to resort to farm loan waivers for our farmers. While many view that as a populist scheme but in reality the farmers are left with no option. Then there is free electricity for the farmers.

Actually, India still has a lot of work left in transmission of power to the fields. The government is working hard to transmit electricity to the villages but then electricity reaching the fields is a distant dream. It would be a huge burden on the exchequer if transmission and distribution lines have to be laid on a Pan India scale.

The banks will also be saved from cases of loan waivers. The Solar Pump schemes are actually subsidised from the central and state schemes but the farmers have to pay a part so that a sense of belonging is achieved. It is being run by various state governments and is helping local companies to achieve scale. It is also helping sales of Solar Panels, Pumps, Structures and balance of systems while also creating local employment for installation and later maintenance of these pumps.

The pumps are under warranty for a period of five years wherein the nodal agencies hold performance bank guarantees of the successful bidders thus ensuring compliance to quality for the period of 5 years. In that time the local electricians will be trained enough to take up small servicing works. Through this scheme we have touched close to 25 thousand lives.

We have seen that the farmers have graduated from a single crop to a double crop season after installation of these pumps thus increasing their status and economic condition. We have also seen farmers have started selling water to other adjacent farms where pumps are not installed.

There is also a scheme called the KUSUM scheme where power will not only be utilised for running the pumps but extra power will also be fed to the grid and the farmer will be paid for this generation. This would also ensure less depletion of ground water and is a long term solution to the electricity problem in rural India.

Q. As India has set its target for ‘24×7 Power for All’ by March 2019. How myWay Solar is contributing towards this initiative?

We are one of the few companies who have developed the Solar Charge Controller for the Saubhagya Scheme of the government of India. We have nit only developed the same but also given it to our business partners for deployment in the field. We have tested the product in some of the largest and credible Indian labs and have close to 25 thousand installations in the field. It is our endeavour that the best products should be given to rural people. This is because most of these products are abused in the field and maintenance of the same is extremely difficult due to terrain and distances. We are working with numerous companies to achieve their goals across states and the failure rate of our products is less than 1%.

As mentioned above, under the SAC mechanism, we are aggregating projects and implementing turnkey projects – from procurement to warehousing to transportation and installation. We ensure that even our local installation partners are skilled enough to take care of maintenance problems over the 5 year time period. Hence we are meeting double objectives of giving good quality products as per or better than specifications and also providing employment opportunities in rural India. Through this scheme itself we have touched more than 1 lakh lives.

Q. What will be the myWay Solar’s expansion plans for the renewable segment in next few years?

We are today the largest aggregator of off-grid solar business in India. Over the last three years we have ourselves installed more than 15 thousand home lighting systems, close to 5000 solar pumps and numerous rooftop and ground mounted projects. We have been facilitated for our unique business model on numerous forums and have grown for a single member to more than 75 employees in two and a half years. We have turned profitable in the second year of operation and have been doubling our growth YoY. We are targeting establishing our base in India which is the fastest growing solar market in the world.

We want to work across all solar segments and not limit ourselves to only off grid or the developer model. We want to be the only solar company in India who are spread across the entire domain. We would also like to leverage this model even outside India specifically South and South- East Asia and Africa. Other than the SAC mechanism, we have also become developers this year and are targeting rooftops in the industrial and educational sector as primary customers. We have seen good traction and are in the process of executing these projects. We would like to scale up this vertical along with our other business line for faster growth.

We are strong propagators of using Solar where it is generated and believe that this sector will see tremendous growth over the next decade. We should be touching INR1.5 billion this year and are targeting to reach INR 5 billion over the next two years.

Q. Being a rooftop solar solutions provider, are there any hindrances you face which you want from the government to be taken care of?

We strongly feel that rooftop solar is a market to be in. This is the only Solar vertical which can work on market mode. All the others will have to be government tender driven. There is huge capacity in India and penetration as of today is very low. We strongly feel that this product can add tremendous value to our customers.

Having said that, this is dependent on state policies as DISCOMS are losing revenue and net metering approvals are required. The government has to do away with the subsidies to the rural customer and then the solar rooftop scheme will get traction. The industries are cross subsiding the rural subsidies and hence the DISCOMS are apprehensive in giving approvals.

There is however the RPO’s which will rise to 8% and it will be in the interest of the DISCOMS to allow operators like us to invest on behalf of the DISCOMS and help them achieve their targets. We are presently educating our customers on the advantages of using Solar Rooftops and will have an installed capacity of more than 10MW in this financial year. We are however creating our team for rooftop solar to be a part of the boom whenever it happens in the near future. Concurrently we are also working on new technologies like floating solar and are hopeful that these new categories will propel us to the next level.

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