After five consecutive years of growth, the rooftop solar market in India had a rough year in 2019 with installations totaling 1.1 GW, which was a 33% decline year-over-year.
Now with the COVID-19 outbreak, we expect another challenging year for rooftop solar.
According to a recently released Q1 Solar Funding and M&A Report by Mercom Capital Group, global VC funding for the solar sector in Q1 2020 reached $145 million in nine deals compared to $176 million raised in 13 deals in Q1 2019.
Mercom had a chance to interact with Gagan Vermani, Founder and CEO of MYSUN. In the interview, among other things, Vermani discussed how technology and financing could be used to unlock the potential of small and medium scale enterprises in the country.
Here are the excerpts from the interview:
Can you tell us more about your recent pre-Series A fundraise?
As a part of our pre-Series A round, we have raised ₹320 million (~$4.2 million) from our existing investors. This funding will help us in ramping up our technology platform and tools as well as enter new markets and newer business models. Of course, as the name suggests, this is a precursor to larger funding round over the next few quarters. We had done a seed funding round of ₹187.7 million (~$2.5 million) initially when we started.
The rooftop market has been weak since last year and is expected to face more challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic. How were you able to raise funding in this environment?
The funding discussions had been going on for a few months, and the closure happened during this pandemic period. The closure shows the trust of our investors in our business model as well as in our team. It’s a testimony to our idea to use technology and financing to unlock the hugely underserved small and medium enterprises and the individual home market for solar.
Can you explain MYSUN’s business model?
Our overall objective is to make the end consumer’s relationship with solar easy and reliable, whether it is a B2B (like industry, institutions, or commercial establishments) or a B2C (homes, urban and rural consumers) client. Therefore, the company utilizes world-class engineering and equipment, global safe installation practices, and an elaborate service network to provide a hassle-free 25-year long solar journey to its clients. We plan to redefine the way solar energy is bought and sold in the country.
What makes MYSUN’s business model compelling compared to your competitors?
MYSUN’s business model is well placed to leverage the growing demand in the renewable energy space. We are committed to the vision to make solar energy access easy and reliable for consumers across the country, and the use of technology as the backbone of our business pushes the envelope in the solar space, and to break into the untapped consumer segments of SMEs and homes. As the energy landscape, as well as the overall economic landscape, are changing rapidly due to the recent global events, we foresee the need for more unique and customizable solar solutions, across the B2B and B2C consumer segments around the globe over the next many years.
What are your plans for future fundraising?
We are already working on plans to take our technology platform and proprietary tools to other countries in the Middle East, Asia Pacific, and Africa, making MYSUN a global rooftop solar technology company that enables millions to adopt solar. Our focus will be to continue to scale up the technology, customer acquisition, and financing. We are looking to raise ₹2.5 billion (~$33.28 million) over the next few quarters.
As per the newly released – India Solar Market Leaderboard 2020 – at the end of 2019, cumulative rooftop solar installations in India reached 4,365 MW, making up 10.9% of the country’s rooftop solar target of 40 GW by 2022. The top ten rooftop solar installers represented 43% of the market share in 2019.
Gagan Vermani will also be speaking in Mercom’s webinar about advanced PV technologies being the solution to future-proof rooftop solar investment. You can click here to register.
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.