Companies

Husk Power eyes franchisee route to scale up

Preeti Mehra Recently in West Champaran (Bihar) | Updated on August 29, 2011 Published on July 20, 2011

A worker at a plant fills a silo with husk. The agricultural waste could soon be used to light up several homes if Husk Power has its way.





Husk Power Systems, a rural electrification venture that generates power out of agricultural waste rice husk, is looking for franchise partners to scale up operations.

Husk Power currently runs 70 mini plants across rural Bihar in areas where there is no grid connectivity. The plants provide electricity to around two lakh households and shops.

The company, which started operations in 2007, is looking at some innovative models in order to meet its aim of setting up 2,014 plants by 2014. It is in search of ‘operating partnerships' and ‘franchising' to set up new plants in the hinterland.

An estimated 1,25,000 villages still remain unconnected to the grid.

Three models are being initiated by Husk Power to generate power.

In the first one, the mini plants are built, owned, operated and maintained by the company. In the second model, the plant is built, owned and maintained by Husk Power, but in partnership with a local entrepreneur who operates the plant and invests 10 per cent of the project costs.

The third model consists of Husk Power building and maintaining the plant. However, the entire investment will be of the local partner, who will own and operate the plant.

The company is also keen on offering these models to large companies who are in search of innovative corporate responsibility initiatives in the rice cultivating States of the country.

Mr Ratnesh Yadav, Husk Power's Chief Operating Officer, said they are providing avenues for entrepreneurs and for companies focussed on corporate social responsibility.

“We are looking for entrepreneurs who want to earn even as they make a difference. Large companies too could consider rice husk plants as a CSR activity. The investment is small; and in three months when the plant becomes operational, it generates around Rs 50,000 as revenue, besides giving employment and electricity to the local people. Not only it is self-sustaining, it also makes use of agriculture waste and has the potential to spin off other revenue streams for the local community,” says Mr Yadav.

Husk Power has the backing of the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy and is being granted subsidy for its plants.

It won this year's International Ashden Award for Sustainable Energy, through which it earned over £1,20,000.

Several private organisations, including Shell Foundation, are providing grants to fund Husk's expansion plans.

Published on July 20, 2011
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