Founded in 2021, Gujarat-based Solnce Energy is a solar marketplace and tendering platform. The company has developed its in-house platform/application for clients and vendors in the form of a marketplace called Solnce. So far, the company has undertaken 3 MW of solar power capacity installations through this marketplace. The company has onboarded more than 35 vendors, 200 residential customers and 50 commercial and industrial (C&I) clients, with a focus on catering to micro, small and medium enterprises. Solnce Energy was selected by the Gujarat government under the “Start-up Gujarat Policy” and also received a seed grant in 2022.
Solnce aims to simplify the process of selecting and implementing a solar project. Customers can compare and select different solar panels accessible on the marketplace based on efficiency and other technical characteristics. The company also conducts free site assessment with the assistance of experts to effectively evaluate the project site. Further, Solnce has an in-house solar power calculator that can predict the amount of solar energy required based on the site location and the type of distributor. After selecting the solar panel for the site, it sends the customer’s inquiry in the form of a tender to various vendors registered on the platform.
The organisation provides project management to clients after determining the project cost. The platform divides the project into different stages, allowing the customer to track its progress. Apart from complete solar projects, the marketplace supports solar projects for specific products. The platform hosts reverse auctions, where customers can view trades and quotations made by various distributors. These reverse auctions are beneficial for engineering, procurement and construction players because they can place bids for specialised products or components on the platform.
“The organisation’s application helps to address fundamental drawbacks in the government’s portal. First, the company offers a range of services such as vendor rating. After the reverse auction, the consumer receives vendor ratings in three grades: L1, L2 and L3. The consumer can make an informed decision for the project based on the vendor’s rating and prices. This is advantageous because the consumer is unaware of the number and quality of previous projects completed by the vendor, which helps clients in making a more informed decision,” says Yash Tarwadi, co-founder, Solnce Energy. In addition, the application notifies customers about a project’s operational status and whether it requires maintenance.
The company has established partnerships with banks that provide loans of up to 75 per cent of project costs to individuals in the priority sector. To provide solar loans, the company has partnered with different commercial banks, cooperative banks and non-banking financial companies. SIDBI is the company’s major collaborator for solar loans and carbon credit schemes. In addition, the company offers solar insurance to safeguard solar installations and panels.
Solnce Energy actively works towards reducing the client’s expenses as different vendors compete to offer a better price to end-users to secure contracts. “With the help of the platform, the end prices for clients are usually 10-15 per cent lower than market prices,” says Tarwadi.
He shares two case studies to further explain the cost savings and benefits of using the Solnce platform. Mavin Texturisers Private Limited, located in Kim, Surat, selected a low-cost solar solution provider for installing a 333.8 kW solar system using Solnce’s bidding platform. The company’s engineering team created the tender documents. Eight solar installers participated in a highly competitive live reverse auction, finally giving a quotation that significantly discounted the market rate for the solar project while maintaining the highest quality standards. The bidding started at Rs 43,000 per kW and concluded at Rs 38,600 per kW.
Another example is of Prime Weave Tex, situated in Surat, which used Solnce’s bidding platform to install a 147.42 kW solar energy system. Eight solar installers competed in a live reverse auction, which began at Rs 49,000 per kW and eventually closed at a competitive Rs 36,700 per kW. For both projects, the Solnce platform not only saved the clients’ money, but also managed the entire project from start to finish. “There are differences in prices offered by vendors given the volatility in the industry. Going forward, it will be wiser and cheaper for any consumer to opt for marketplaces where bidding can lead to cost savings,” suggests Tarwadi.
By Nikita Choubey