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I always wanted to make an AC which doesn't dig hole in pockets: Exalta founder

I always wanted to make an AC which doesnt dig hole in pockets: Exalta founder

Ashutosh Verma, Scientist,Founder, Exalta India

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What is the message from WEF, Davos this time on developing a decarbonized economy?

The world can achieve carbon neutrality, the state of net-zero carbon dioxide emissions, by balancing emissions of CO2 from society. Davos emphasised the much-needed economic transition toward net-zero carbon emissions in such a fashion that no developed or emerging economy is left behind. Though the developed markets may have the means for transition, the emerging market may find it challenging to fund its transition needs. Therefore, 'just transition' is the need of the hour, where emerging markets can attain a decarbonised economy without sacrificing growth. They can achieve net-zero with quick channelled climate finance and developed sustainable development.

The Andhra Pradesh Government wants to pioneer in the decarbonised economy by offering a slew of incentives. Already Greenko has kick-started work on the world's largest integrated green energy storage project to supply 5230 MW with an investment of $3 billion. Your comments...

The project is asserted to play a vital role in assisting India in accomplishing energy transition. It shall not simply cater to industries of Arcelor Mittal for its Gujarat facility, but will supply additionally to States like Bihar, Rajasthan, and parts of West Bengal. The storage capacity will also be utilised to produce green hydrogen. The project is scheduled to avoid 15 million tons of CO2 every year, identical to carbon emissions from 3 million vehicles.

Tell us about your journey as a successful and first of its kind startup in the renewable energy technology field. What are your projections for the future?

Growing up in a middle-class family, not using AC because of the high bill fear was a part of life. Back then, I wasn't sure what I wanted to become, but I knew that I wanted to make an AC that doesn't dig a hole in our pockets when the electricity bill comes. For that, I came up with a solution-solar air-conditioner. This is how I started Exalta India.

After hundred experiments with acids and chemicals, we finally made India's first solar AC in 2015. With the 6.1 efficiencies, it works directly with the panel. Besides being a household name in Indian solar needs, we have also touched the global market with countries like Afghanistan.

We can proudly say that it was our successful project to begin our journey with. Being a research analyst, I have always been keen to experiment and find new things. After our first project, we started exploring other areas too. We laid our hands on fields like agriculture, IoT & medicine.

Our next significant innovation was the hydrogenated oxygen therapy machine. Initiated in SIIC IIT Kanpur, we received global recognition through this project. After that, we kept on expanding and experimenting with our innovations.

What are the innovations happening on your end? When will the world see it?

Innovation is the driving force of Exalta India. If we have new ideas and the capacity to work on them, we will be able to do wonders in our field. After a couple of life-changing projects, we are working towards making lives easier further. We aim to make the household solar-and-remote enabled so that one can switch on or off their appliances by using a mobile phone. Since fossil fuels will exhaust in some time, people will witness a shift toward the renewable industry. To make that transition smoother, we work day and night to develop practical solutions for daily life problems.

Which is your best-selling product, and how is the competition for this product in the market?

Currently, we are selling the off-grid inverter the most. Useful for urban and rural households, our Magic Box Smart Inverter has emerged as a breakthrough idea for power outages and blackouts. After hundreds of experiments and tests, we came up with an inverter that is 94 per cent more efficient than market transformer-based existing inverters. The best part is that you do not need additional equipment to maintain this technology other than a single mobile App. You may also obtain all the information about power, volt, and ampere reports on your mobile device.

With a battery life of up to 15 years, the warranty is changeable for five years. It is a sleek and modern-looking structure that can also function as an EV charging station. This gadget, built in India, is portable and light on your wallet. In rural India, the magical inverter overcomes a power outage problem. Besides solving the electricity issues in India, we have also received our first international order for this product from Tesla Power USA. Apart from that, we are also coming up with a few more exciting innovations that will change the technology game in India.

What are the unavoidable challenges you face in the solar industry, and how do you cope?

Every industry has its challenges. Since we are opting to become a whole 'Make in India' company, our biggest challenge is to find a better material to make solar panels. The traditional silicone-based panels can lead to higher costs and lower efficiency. Also, improving the storage and transmission is a task too.

Some of the infrastructural and geographical factors that cause problems are the age-old infrastructure, the sun not always present, lack of space, and investment.

For the solutions, we have been experimenting with ways to make batteries with higher battery storage so that it is not always necessary to have sun or to charge the batteries again and again.

The Prime Minister has recently said that the Budget 2022-23 will ensure green growth and generate green jobs. How do you feel about its impact?

After quite visible efforts by the Modi-led Indian Government, the solar energy industry witnessed quite positive changes. As per the Prime Minister himself, the renewable energy capacity in India was expanded by 250 per cent between 2014 and 2021.

A year ago, the government also initiated the Mission Innovation Cleantech Exchange. It is a global initiative to promote clean energy innovation among nations. Further, in the Union Budget 2022-23, the renewable energy sector allocated Rs 19,500 crore ($2.57 billion) for a PLI scheme to boost the manufacturing of high-efficiency solar modules.

What is the current market size of the renewable energy sector, and how much do you think it will grow in the next five years?

In the reports by the Indian government, our renewable energy installation stood at 152.36 Gigawatt (GW) in January 2022. This number represents 38.56 per cent of the overall installed power capacity. As the demand and supply of this sector is increasing, India targets about 450 GW of installed renewable energy capacity by 2030- about 280 GW (over 60 per cent) is expected from solar. The renewable energy capacity addition stood at 8.2 GW for the first eight months of FY22 against 3.4 GW for the first eight months of FY21.

ICRA expects renewable energy capacity additions of 12.5 GW in FY22 and 16 GW in FY23. From March, 2014 to December, 2021, the solar installation capacity increased by over 18 times from 2.63 GW to 49.3 GW. With its ever-growing dynamics, off-grid solar power is the new business trend. In the first half of 2021, 329,000 off-grid solar products were sold in India.

This will be an ever-changing sector that will witness one after another development all the time. So yes, it is the best time to invest in this market and contribute to the growth of Indian technology and economy.

According to some government officials, all Central Government departments and their field offices could transition to electric vehicles over the next three years. Are we ready for this move? Do you think this goal is achievable by 2025?

India is in the fourth position in renewable energy and wind power. For solar power, it stands at the fifth position.

In October, 2021, India retained its third rank on the EY Renewable Energy Country Attractive Index 2021. Since then, the country has had confidence driving it to achieve wonders. The government's belief is making us come out of our comfort zone and challenge ourselves. We have always proved to be the game-changers, and even this time, the renewable energy sector will do its best to bring this development to life.

What do you think is the predictable future of the solar consumable industry in India? How will Exalta contribute to this journey?

With its growth, the solar energy market is challenging all the other technologies every day. Earlier, we used to rely on other countries for raw materials and products. However, with the 'Make in India' scheme coming to life, we have more trust in ourselves to achieve and maintain the quality. We are very independent and self-sufficient in making our products and providing services to the customers. We are working day and night to bring more innovative solutions and bring down the cost. With our exciting innovations in the solar consumer electronics market, like solar ACs, freezers, deep freezers, and even compressors, we contribute every day.

Santosh Patnaik
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