Companies

BPL working to make solar power affordable for rural users

Divya Trivedi New Delhi | Updated on May 29, 2011

Mr K. Vijay Kumar at the launch of rechargeable lantern Chirag (file photo)

“The long-term vision is to develop, manufacture and integrate cutting edge clean energy solutions and other renewable energy technologies.”



BPL recently launched a rechargeable lighting solution, Chirag, for rural consumers. “The BPL Group was never out of the mass consumer product market. It was only lying low and reorganising,” the Chief Operating Officer, Mr K. Vijay Kumar (KVK), BPL Technovision Ltd (BTVL), told Business Line.

The clean energy solutions company has been working on new products in the renewable energy space for both rural and urban consumers. The launch of these products is expected to push up BPL's revenues to Rs 1,000 crore in the next two-three years.

“The long-term vision is to develop, manufacture and integrate cutting edge clean energy solutions and other renewable energy technologies,” Mr KVK said.

BTVL has created rechargeable lighting systems and alternative luminaries using LED technology. This will be followed by SMART home power management systems that will allow consumers to manage electricity consumption through a touchscreen graphic user interface linked with electrical gadgets.

BPL is also working on large installations for multiple dwelling units which will use renewable energy along with conventional networks. The products that will be available are the CFL/LED-based solar/AC dual-powered rechargeable lanterns.

Solar power

The most immediate requirement of the rural consumer is electricity. Solar energy for powering products will be the next technological frontier, Mr KVK said. But the challenge is to make solar power affordable and easy to maintain.

The company is working on ways to make this happen. “Home appliances, two-wheelers and even cars can be made to run through solar power. However, on the practical side, I would say that if we can develop low-cost solar solutions that provide four-five hours of electricity back-up, these can be deployed for a wide range of requirements,” he said.

According to the United Nation's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, nearly 80 per cent of the world's power could be run on renewable sources by the end of 2050.

Hybrid models soon

Urban consumers use solar-powered geysers, lights and so on, but these are expensive, keeping them out of reach of a majority of consumers and relatively hard and costlier to maintain. “We may soon have hybrid models comprising solar power and electricity to meet the entire power needs of urban households. The BPL Group will be at the front of this revolution,” said Mr KVK.

According to a study conducted by the IFMR Research-Centre for Development Finance in alliance with World Resources Institute, the aggregate potential market for the clean energy sector is pegged at $2.11 billion per year, including $2.04 billion for decentralised renewable energy services and $70.1 million for energy products (solar home systems, solar lanterns, and energy-efficient cook stoves).

India has great potential for renewable energy, especially solar. The market for solar lanterns or portable LED lanterns that are powered by solar panels and can provide light for four to eight hours is worth $18.58 million per year.

BTVL reported a turnover of Rs 30 crore last year and plans to grow at a CAGR of 50 per cent. The BPL Group reported a turnover of Rs 300 crore.

Published on May 29, 2011

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