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Interaction | September 2017

Our goal is to eliminate complexity & empower small players

Saurabh Marda, Founder, Freyr Energy, shares how the company's aims to build bridges between the various verticals of a solar power project.

What are your offerings for the solar space?
Freyr Energy is a Hyderabad based full service distributed solar solutions provider with operations in India and Ghana. The company's products range from rooftop systems, petrol pumps, solar water pumps to micro-grids. In the last two years, Freyr has installed over 750 solar systems across 10 states in India and impacted over 40,000 lives in rural India and Ghana. Freyr Energy is a MNRE Channel Partner and an ISO 9001 and 14001 certified company. Kindly discuss the specifics of the 'SunPro' app.

The Freyr SunProTM mobile application is designed to help an entrepreneur run his solar business with ease. We used complex algorithms in the background while developing the app, which has made the process streamlined and simple. It is equivalent to a 5 person team consisting of design engineer, pricing specialist, customer management, supply chain and project management, having 24x7 support, and with 365 days to close orders.

With this app, the initial investment required to start a rooftop solar business is now zero. The tool is so easy to use, anyone from any background can use it to start immediately in the sector. It can provide an instantaneous, error free system for design, pricing and proposal generation, that reduces sales cycle time to just one-two meetings with the customer.

If several people in an organisation use the tool, their work can be automatically monitored and performance be assessed.

What is the value chain this creates?
When we started Freyr Energy in 2014, we wanted to eliminate all complexity involved in system design, pricing, proposal generation etc., and make it easier to sell a solar system, while ensuring the customer gets the best product possible. Part of that goal was to enable any individual or small business at any location to start their solar rooftop business. The company started, on the premise that software will help solve the scaling challenge in the rooftop solar market.

Three key (interlinked) problems that we wanted to address were

  • Lack of technical know-how, which was adversely impacting sales;
  • Long sales cycle time; and
  • High initial upfront investment to start a rooftop solar business.

Now, the user does not need a solar or electrical background to start their business. The training time to learn usage of the app is less than 1 hour and provides an all encompassing platform equivalent to a 5-person team consisting of a design engineer, pricing specialist, customer management, supply chain and project management, having 24x7 year-round support to close orders.

It works both off-line and online, has an error free system design that gives detailed pricing recommendations, and reduces the sales cycle for users to one-two meetings with the customer, without hiring additional staff. This ensures that the business is profitable from the first year itself.

What is the India specific technology and R&D that you have included?
The technology used are:

  • Programming language used: Objective-C, Java, PHP;
  • Integrated development environment: XCODE, Android Studio; Software development Kit: iOS SDK, Android SDK;
  • R&D for market specifications: We use local (states and districts in India) solar radiation maps, and apply local taxes.

What was the development process for the tool like?
Requirements for the tool were listed by the company management and developed in house. The tool is developed for both iOS and Android platforms. The development process was iterative and we added features to make it comprehensive and useful to the end user.

Kindly share a few success stories.
There are 4,600 downloads in the last 5 months and we see a lot of individuals growing as new entrepreneurs. Almost 30 per cent of these users are benefiting from the app.

There are several channel partners who are doing business and are successful in their particular markets. Among them, Mr Prasanna Kumar from Mahbubabad is working as our channel partner since 2015 and he is very comfortable using the app. He says it is very user friendly and some of the best features of the app are that it gives error free designs and while generating the proposals, it has the best vendor options along with the best pricing. He says, the sales cycle time is very less when compared to doing it manually.

Another customer, Mr Kotaiah from Nellore who is around 60-years-old, is one of the most active channel partners and has given us good business.

- JOCELYN FERNANDES

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