FREYR ENERGY: MAKING SOLAR SIMPLE
Founded in 2014 by Saurabh Marda and Radhika Choudary, Freyr Energy (Freyr) provides simple and affordable clean energy to homeowners, businesses and communities in India. The company believes that going solar should be easy and fast. Freyr offers a solution that is cleaner, safer and cheaper than traditional forms of electricity which are not only polluting the environment, but are getting costlier by the day. With over 250 channel partners across India, Freyr accommodates customers from pre-sales to post installation.
Prior to starting the company, Saurabh and Radhika worked in the solar ecosystem for years and were well aware of its ups and downs in India. The Indian government has set a target of generating 40 GW by 2020 on the distributed solar segment, which translates into a massive market opportunity worth nearly USD 45 billion. Cost of electricity from solar energy is at par or below cost of grid power in most parts of India. This presented a unique opportunity for solar organizations like Freyr to grow profitably without the need for additional government support.
On the other hand, getting a solar system installed can be a cumbersome process as the customer has to interact and negotiate with several parties like a solar equipment supplier, -installer and so on. Freyr assists its customers with the full process, from pre-sales to post installation. Their way of working is very simple and transparent, all of Freyr’s partners use the same intuitive App during the sales process, SunPro. The easy to use mobile application helps Freyr’s sales team to capture all key aspects within 15 minutes, such as the customer's energy requirement, shadow-free space available on roof, local state policies, precise local solar radiation, availability of grid & existing backing system in their premises and customer's budget.
Freyr has a curated list of suppliers (region wise) for each of the components/equipment, this ensures quality and mitigates the risk of timely supply of the equipment. The software automatically selects the supplier (for each component) where the pricing and quality is at optimal mix. The customers can change the supplier (or a part) based on individual preference and available budget.
Besides shrinking the sales cycle to a bare minimum of one-two meetings with customers, Freyr's technology also eliminates the need for channel partners to have a solar or electrical background. Unlike other organizations that demand channel partners to invest between USD 8,000 to 40,000 for inventory purchase and storage before they could represent them, Freyr just requires the channel partners to pay USD 150 to 250 software rental fee. Since they are not burdened with the hassles of procurement and installation, they can focus on what matters the most - selling the system.
Over the past two years, they have systematically set up a nationwide network. For Freyr, addressing a service request is as important as making a deal for a new project. As a result of this approach 50% of their orders come from referrals. Working closely with its manufacturers and getting its people trained at their facilities has permitted Freyr to efficiently provide after sales service instantaneously, rather than relying solely on manufacturers.
Freyr ensures that the chosen system and components are customized to meet all of customer's requirements and operates within their limitations. The company has taken on and successfully executed a few extremely challenging projects. In one case, the company set-up a 100 kW system across a 20 m wide canal with chemical waste flowing underneath.
Freyr encourages its people to take decisions without worrying about failing, provided they learn from their mistakes and improve on it. The result-oriented organization trains its people on a case-by-case basis, where it identifies skill gaps, while preparing them to take on bigger roles.
As per Freyr’s business plan by the end of fifth year they should have touched 25,000 households through microgrids which mean more than 125,000 people impacted. In the long run Freyr expects rooftops to contribute primarily to the revenue. Though this will mean that the impact on primary consumers in terms of access to energy will reduce, the impact on micro enterprises and their ability to become sustainable will increase.
We decided to invest in Freyr and support the company to increase its capacity and ensure proper execution of the work orders already in place. We aim to contribute to the increase of employment and capacity building of Freyr’s team, and the development of new marketing initiatives as well as the development of new technologies. C4D Partners is assisting the company with making solar simple and greening India.