Ahmedabad-based URON Energy is a cleantech engineering and project management company, which started operations in November 2019. It began with a proactive approach and the aim to provide end-to-end cleantech project management solutions in the solar arena, from concept to commissioning. The solutions provided to developers cover all the key stages of a solar project, including project conceptualisation, pre-application, application, project allotment, land acquisition, engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) management, detailed design engineering and commissioning assistance along with the project commissioning services. As a consultant, URON is operating in six countries across continents and has gathered experience in various technologies prevailing across the globe with a vast range and variety of installations in distinct geographical locations be it Asia, Europe or Africa.
The company was initially started with a capital contribution of around $20,000 by the founders. Since its inception, the company has already clocked in a revenue realisation of about $1 million within a span of about six months amidst the Covid-19 pandemic. It currently has over $2 million of projects in the pipeline under execution.
Key projects and growth strategy
URON is focused on commercial and industrial as well as small-scale utility solar projects. The company offers clean energy and energy storage solutions that are commercially viable. These include solar solutions such as building integrated photovoltaics (PV) as well as organic PV solutions. The company’s completely in-house EPC capabilities enhance its flexibility with solar technologies. Further, high design optimisation allows URON to choose high quality equipment, while optimising the combination of total solar project cost and yield.
URON’s first project involved the use of Indian-manufactured single-axis tracker structures. These trackers have been designed and tested with the Boundary Layer Wind Tunnel validation, which covers Aero Elastic. This project, located in the state of Gujarat, uses row-based trackers under a 180 km wind zone and with a 100 per cent waterless cleaning system for solar panels. With this technology, the project has become the first one in Gujarat with completely automated robotic cleaning for single-axis row trackers. Another unique solar project executed by the company involves the use of third-generation solar inverters and module-level power electronics technology for power optimisation, offered by SolarEdge.
Rooftop solar and its challenges
URON offers an entire range of project management activities where EPC is just a part of it. The company stays with the developer as an asset management partner throughout the project’s lifetime by offering solar-as-a-service model to clients, creating a promising value proposition for them to adopt clean energy technologies with little or no upfront costs. The company also plans to help consumers with rooftop solar adoption, a segment currently struggling with various gaps and challenges.
According to URON, the rooftop sector is extremely disorganised and there needs to be a platform for standardisation. URON plans to help industries that are looking towards solar in planning how to set up rooftop solar installations and what technologies to use. Some of the key hurdles in the uptake of solar rooftop systems are the high initial investment (capex), high and rising electricity bills, load shedding and intermittent power supply, uncertainty regarding equipment quality and technology selection and high maintenance cost of the system. There is also a lack of proper financing options at reasonable interest rates for conveniently setting up these systems. Further, different solar EPC companies offering a different price for the same component gives rise to scepticism among potential customers. Regulatory challenges in the segment involve constantly changing policies, such as the removal of net metering for projects over 10 kW and changes under the Electricity (Amendment) Act, 2020.
Outlook for the company
URON is still exploring, while recording solid growth, with an average of more than 350 per cent on a year-on-year basis. This growth can be attributed to unique solutions offered by the company across the solar segment. The company is currently in the initial stage of discussion with interested funding agencies and investors for further scaling up its operations. With experience of working in more than seven countries, URON plans to scale up across different geographies such as eastern Africa, the US and Australia, besides India, in the near future.
By Meghaa Gangahar