“Strong convictions precede great actions.” James F. Clarke, American Theologian, Author
No great action is without a strong conviction, and conviction is what drove Bhavesh Bati to start his company, after his eight year-long efforts failed to get several Wind Energy giants to invest in Solar Energy in India. His journey started in 2006, when he had to drop out of aeronautical engineering college. He is roaming around India, living in railway stations and ashrams and visiting companies to get them interested in solar energy and to work with him. He was determined to work with solar and didn’t quit even after all the hardships of living without shelter, working random jobs to sustain himself, while continuing to dream of starting a solar company.
Bhavesh’s dream came true in 2011, when he got to work on Solar LED Street Lights for local village governments in Gujarat. In 2014, after receiving an order for solar water pumping system from a client based out in Poland, Bati Energy Private Limited was incorporated formally by Bhavesh with Gunajit Brahma (an IIM Graduate) as Co-founding Directors of the company. The company has been built from scratch by Bhavesh who worked single-handedly creating business plans, meeting clients, creating the company website, doing online marketing for solar, talking with interested people about benefits of solar energy and carrying on with his vision to realize the greener and sustainable future with solar power. After the formal incorporation, he slowly and personally brought team members in Bati Energy who can compensate for the skills he lacked, to build the company and propel it in the direction of being a profitable renewable energy company.
Plethora of Services
Bati Energy’s current portfolio of services and products includes System Integration of small-scale Solar Power Plants up to 1MW, Solar Powered Water Pumping Systems, Lithium-Ion battery integrated Solar LED street lights and fully customized, location-specific Solar-Wind hybrid solutions with/without Lithium-ion storage. To spread awareness and convince customers to adopt and understand these green solutions, they provide free detailed techno-commercial consulting. It details location-specific climate history based project performance estimation to the clients that gives them key insights into the investment requirements, performance of the project over its lifetime and understanding of break-even period, ROI and comparison of solar ROI with other investment ROIs i.e., bank FD returns, mutual funds returns, property investment returns.
The company has developed theft-proof portable solar power packs up to 2KW which can even run water pumping system on its own. It is working with NGOs in Zambia and South Africa to distribute portable water pumping powerpacks to smallholder farmers for their irrigation needs. In the pipeline is a fully solar-powered stand-alone water pump with built-in RO and UV purifiers which will serve as a pure water supply solution for places where clean drinking water is scarce. Bati Energy is more of a social enterprise capping its profits under 10% to make sure that its products and services benefit the underprivileged population of the world. Bhavesh also provides online mentorship to underprivileged entrepreneurs from the African continent, based on his own entrepreneurial journey.
Solar Energy Trends and Technology
The biggest trend in solar energy is the reduction in prices globally due to policy changes and increased competition in the sector, making it more affordable to the middle class. Green Energy sector is largely technology driven. Solar panel efficiency is increasing and resulting into reduction in installation space required for a project. Newer and more efficient Lithium-ion based storage technologies allow cheaper power storage options. Solar power prices are now lower than that of coal or petroleum based power plants. Internationally the global issue of climate change has forced countries to adopt greener and sustainable development goals for the future.
Presently the global market is highly volatile in terms of price fluctuations and changes in technological developments. For example, the recent launch of new higher efficiency thin-film solar panels, and Passivated Emitter and Rear Cell technology. In terms of challenges, Subsidy is the primary enemy of the solar market in India due to the complexities of subsidies and difficulties in dealing with Government agencies. There are uncertainties in India, like availing working finance, import duties of solar panels and GST on solar panels, batteries, wind turbines and service components of a project.
Still talking about Government Policies Bhavesh says that import duties are very high and local Indian solar panel manufacturers are lagging in offering high efficiency and better technology solar panels. While this is an unfair advantage, he hopes that Indian manufacturers will rise up to the opportunity and improve the quality. More and more private companies are diverting into solar making it a highly competitive market in India ultimately resulting in more widespread adoption of solar and wind technologies.
Making a Mark
Bati Energy has made a great repute among its clients who know its dedication and commitment towards solar vision. Bati is here to provide quality solar solutions with much more customization than offered by any other competitor. Its clients receive full technical and commercial knowledge and understanding of various available options for them to choose from. Thus enables informed decisions based on requirements, availability of solar/wind resources at their location, pros and cons of various technologies and budget. Bati’s highly qualified staff with experience in executing hundreds of megawatts of solar power projects is fully aware of currently available, still futuristic, technologies in the market for various solar project components and it’s maintenance requirements.
Bati Energy, a Government (DIPP) recognized startup, is now developing futuristic solar power solutions with widespread applications in water pumping, water purification and desalination, street lighting etc. It has executed agreements for solar collaboration with Scientific and Research Institute of Agriculture, Crimea, Russia for development of agriculture-related solar solutions. It is also working with Finnish utility company Fortum for development of heat and electricity generating solar thermal photovoltaic power plants.
For a Sunny Future
Bhavesh finds the renewed interest of technology in solar energy as a good move for the planet. He says,”With the development of new Information Technologies such as the Internet of Things (IoT), Big Data, AI, VR, AR, Blockchain, Smart metering etc. and their integration with power generation, transmission and distribution is making way for much more automated energy landscape”
Bati too is ready to adapt to future trends. It is developing some cool futuristic innovations in solar sector from portable solar powered water pumping and purifying systems to solar powered electric vehicles such as tractors, harvesters and other agricultural equipment. It is partnering with international organizations to promote solar based solutions for developing countries. It has made its goal to design and develop innovative solar powered solutions that can help underprivileged people get sustainable means of income generation and is looking forward to a more decentralized way of generating energy.