Sustainable Solution

Doorastha Analytics was conceived as a social enterprise with the goal of reducing energy poverty through renewables, for a sustainable world. The company believes that the word sustainable should go beyond the generation source to ensure the performance of these assets throughout their lifespan. Based on this premise, Doorasthaconceptualised the iLUMY solution, the prototype of which was first presented at Electropreneur Park and was judged to be the most innovative idea in the ESDM space in 2017. Subsequently, the company incubated at Villgro and IIT Kanpur. In 2018, Doorastha Analytics was recognised as one of the top five energy start-ups in India at the International Solar Alliance Vision summit and adjudged one of the winners of the Social Alpha Energy Challenge 2019.

Micro-enterprises need electricity. Though their requirements are small, the quality and reliability of supply are important. Usually these enterprises are forced to fall back on alternatives such as polluting diesel gensets and costly inverters. Doorastha provides such enterprises with round-the-clock access to clean and reliable power through their own micro-grid. The company’s designed and implemented technology aims to understand and target solutions based on operator and consumer needs. Its strategy is to provide a technology for companies to make distributed renewable energy resources sustainable and drive long-term impact, domestically and then globally.

Challenges faced by solar micro- and mini-grid setups

Small-scale setups such as micro- or mini-grids are a great concept with the potential to eliminate energy poverty in developing countries. However, this segment has faced numerous issues such as a lack of accountability – from the operator due to the lack of a revenue model, and from the consumer due to the lack of smart metering. There are also persisting challenges in payment collection. Power theft and pilferage are prevalent and lack of proper maintenance is an issue. Doorastha aims to make the remotely located micro-grids viable through the application of technology. It has two main areas of focus: streamlining payment collection, and eliminating pilferage and ensuring timely detection of issues. In a nutshell, the company works on enhancing the performance of the micro-grids through proper monitoring.

Business model, technology and growth strategy

Doorastha provides an indigenously developed, low-cost smart metering and monitoring system that is specifically targeted at micro- and mini-grids. The iLUMY solution works on a basic concept of internet of things, with the design optimised for operations in remote areas where sophisticated networks or manpower are typically not easily available. Since these consumers have very modest energy demand, the solution was named iLUMY, an acronym for intelligent LaghuUrjaMapanYantra. The company has an Android app to make operation easier. A grid controller monitors the grid parameters to detect faults and prompt the operator to act. All the data is uploaded on to a cloud server where a portal provides visibility of the grid to enable performance analysis. The company has two types of business models. In the first, it installs grids, which are then operated through village-level entrepreneurs. In the other, platform-as-a-service business model, Doorastha provides the iLUMY platform to other micro-grid operators. This allows operators to derive maximum performance through hassle-free collections while reducing downtime. The system provides immediate visibility on capacity utilisation.

Future outlook

Covid-19 has caused an unprecedented change in the lives of people as much as it has in the business world. This is expected to cause a structural shift, pushing businesses to innovate on new processes. More people residing in villages would result in more micro-enterprises being set up there. This would consequently drive up the demand for power in these regions. Realising the perils of climate change, there will be a shift to more renewable sources of power. Following the pandemic, there will be a greater emphasis on the importance of hygiene and social distancing, which would mean greater adoption of technology for reduced human contact. Although there are short-term headwinds, the outlook of this sector looks very promising. Doorastha expects to become a major player in the distributed renewables segment with its focus on technology that is unique to addressing the segment’s issues.

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