Alfa Ventures, a venture capital fund, along with serial entrepreneur Dhianu Das, has announced an investment of an undisclosed amount in Skilancer Solar, a startup that manufactures robotic cleaning equipment to clean solar modules. The funding is aimed at helping the company increase its operations and market presence.
Started in early 2019, Alfa Ventures the venture capital fund started by entrepreneur Dhianu Das works has been supporting homegrown and early-stage businesses. Speaking about the investment, Dhianu Das said, “For a population of over 1.3 billion, it is essential to look for alternative means of energy. I am absolutely bullish on India’s solar energy story.”
Earlier this month, the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) issued a letter recommending efficient utilization of water for cleaning utility-scale solar projects. The ministry also recommended the use of robotic cleaning technology, which uses less water for cleaning solar projects. Water is scarce in most regions where solar projects have been developed in India. Currently, developers need permission from local authorities to get access to groundwater and canals. Given the fact that the projects are in remote locations, it is also difficult for developers to arrange water from other sources to clean the panels.
Skilancer Solar, a brainchild of IIT Jodhpur alumni Neeraj Kumar and Manish Kumar Das, manufactures centrally controlled, self-powered, robotic arms for automatic cleaning of solar modules. The company is also IIM-Lucknow incubated.
Neeraj Kumar, co-founder, Skilancer Solar said, “Skilancer Solar is all about providing innovative products with world-class service and customer experience. We are glad to have won the confidence and support of Dhianu Das and Alfa Ventures on our journey. This will allow Skilancer Solar to invest in design and technology upgrade, geographical expansion, team building, and develop a competitive edge.”
In a refreshing change, there has been an increase in the number of startups springing up in the renewable energy sector. For instance, recently, ZunRoof, an Indian solar rooftop startup, raised a fresh round of series A funding of $1.2 million from Godrej properties.
ZunRoof specializes in solar rooftop design, installation, and management using computer vision, AI (artificial intelligence) and VR (virtual reality) to streamline the solar rooftop installation and maintenance for homeowners.
Similarly, in March 2018, Oorjan, a startup active in the rooftop solar PV segment, raised $450,000 in seed funding to help expand its presence in the Indian rooftop solar sector.
Anjana is a news editor at Mercom India. Before joining Mercom, she held roles of senior editor, district correspondent, and sub-editor for The Times of India, Biospectrum and The Sunday Guardian. Before that, she worked at the Deccan Herald and the Asianlite as chief sub-editor and news editor. She has also contributed to The Quint, Hindustan Times, The New Indian Express, Reader’s Digest (UK edition), IndiaSe (Singapore-based magazine) and Asiaville. Anjana holds a Master’s degree in Geography from North Bengal University, and a diploma in mass communication and journalism from Guru Ghasidas University, Bhopal.