Sahil Khanna, Partnerships Business Leader – Asia, Greenlight Planet, delves into the challenges of delivering clean energy to the remotest parts of India.
ET-Insights: How have off-grid solar products been adapted to the current situation in the country, especially with 100% electrification?
Sahil: The government has done a great job under the Saubhagya scheme that has connected over 2.5 crore households to the grid. However, 24*7 access to energy still remains a challenge. Once the electrification rate increases in these areas, it has been noticed that people are getting more acquainted with the uses of energy in their houses and increasingly looking for reliable backup options. Greenlight Planet is a trusted brand in rural India with a wide consumer base of 2.4 crore individuals who enjoy access to clean energy today. We have observed that in the states of Rajasthan, Jharkhand, Odisha, Bihar & Assam, with the increase in electrification, there has been a positive trend of an increased sales of more sophisticated Sun King solar products in the last three years; especially with introduction to solar-based appliances like television, fans, etc. to cater to customers’ growing needs.
ET-Insights: What are the challenges unique to rural India that the brand has come across?
Sahil: Greenlight Planet has faced challenges with low awareness of high-quality solar products. The off-grid solar market is flooded with low-cost, unbranded products that are unreliable in quality and do not honor a warranty or any sort of after-sales customer service. Such products end up misleading consumers that perceive such solutions to be affordable at the offset but end up with short-lived products that do not perform as promised. Greenlight Planet counters this challenge with heavy rural marketing campaigns like Batti Gul Meter Chalu, Jagmag Utsav to name a few and rigorous training for the field teams to educate customers about the use of high quality and certified products. Greenlight faced challenges with distribution to less populated and hard to reach areas as well. There are areas that are very sparsely populated and often lack access to basic amenities like energy. Greenlight Planet has partnered with more than 300 financial institutions, government organizations and NGOs to overcome this challenge and distribute these solar products to the remotest locations in rural India.