Pranesh Chaudhary of Zunroof: Cost Savings Key behind Solar adoption in India

Riding on the increasing demand for clean energy, the Gurugram-based ZunRoof.com, a clean-tech startup, is an aggregator for roof-top based solar solutions.

As India seeks to accomplished 100 percent electrification, with a bigger pie for renewable energy, it is opening up opportunities for clean tech firms. Gurugram-based start-up ZunRoof.com  is one of the many that have built a business on this new need and opportunity, quickly scaling to an enterprise that claims to be the single largest installer of solar systems in North India, by quantity, if not by capacity.  Till date the firm claims to have completed over 300 individual installations.

This this rooftop focused firm was founded by two IIT Kharagpur alumni – Pranesh Chaudhary and Sushant Sachan.

In an interview with Prasanna Singh, Founder at IamRenew, Pranesh Chaudhary, Co-Founder of Zunroof, makes a strong pitch for rooftop solar, besides the challenges they faced as a startup, and their future plans. A founder who seems to be restless at the best of times, and can be difficult to keep up with otherwise, Pranesh is more than a believer in the solar opportunity, he believes in it as a necessity.

In a market that is becoming highly commoditised, what is the Zunroof pitch to customers? According to Chaudhary, their engineering is the differentiator and that combined with prompt service has made it a reliable name in residential rooftop sector. He adds that the 3-D model they follow, that is, Design, Delivery and Diagnostic helps in educating the customer and their App also builds the ‘Trust’.

The company has also developed enough exposure to the unique requirements of the market now,  be it the need for elevated structures due to water tanks on the roof, or even structures that can allow for some plants and more underneath. Zunroof claims to have developed its own  proprietary tools, which help it to come up with accurate size and design of the system as well as all techno-economic feasibility metrics of the roof within minutes.

There are three segments in the solar energy industry – utility scale, solar parks, and rooftop panels.

Utility-scale companies like ReNew Power operate at the GW level, and solar parks operate at the 300-500 MW level.

The third segment is the rooftop segment, where ZunRoof operates. The nation’s target for the rooftop segment alone is 40 GW of solar installations by 2022. The rest 60 GW would be contributed by utility scale and solar parks.

ZunRoof uses a mix of Image Processing, VR, IoT, and Data Analytics, and comes up with designs to fulfill energy requirements of houses, offices, and SMEs through solar panels.

Once the design and details are finalised, the startup gets the customers a list of price quotations from a network of vendors listed on the platform. Thereafter, the solar panels are installed. Zunroof also takes care of the paperwork and coordination with the local discom and government for net metering and state subsidies if any.

ZunRoof has raised a total of ₹1.66 crores in funding in its only round. The latest funding came from a Angel round on Jun 27, 2018. The startup is now two years old, and has 65 employees, including its founders. From being a bootstrapped company, it has now secured investments from a number of notable angel investors. It aims to hit an annual sales run-rate of Rs 100 crore within next 12 months, with positive unit economics.

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