Harish Ahuja, Founder and CEO, India Go Solar, explains about the exclusive online B2B business model that he has started in India to bring the buyer and seller of solar based products and services together on a single platform, in a candid conversation with Monica Chaturvedi Charna…
Kindly tell us about the concept on which India Go Solar works. How are products, projects and services oﬀered through this platform?
India Go Solar is bringing the seller and buyer together through its online platform. There are 150 EPC players, more than 100 manufacturers and 130 domestic and global IPPs or developers in this country. But, we are pioneers in the online market. Solar products and solutions have become a commodity and we are oﬀering a neutral platform or exchange for these EPC players, manufacturers and developers to buy and sell solar based products and solutions. These people enlist their projects and services on the online platform and in turn, India Go Solar facilitates the buying and selling in a customised manner.
How are you based in the rooftop domain?
One of our models is called Solar Exchange, which facilitates auction of big, commercial, industrial rooftops. We advise customers regarding the economics of rooftop, and design the project and then we launch the auction online. Solar Exchange is an exclusive B2B marketplace where many EPC players are listed and they submit their quotation for the designed project. This is a subscription based model and we do not charge anything till a match making between the customer and EPC player is complete.
What kind of a potential do you see for this platform? Do the big EPC players need to explore such a platform for their business?
Our platform is more close to the customers. In fact, many big institutional players who were not willing to come to our platform till six months back, are now approaching us on their own. So, the transition has already started to happen. The customers get a fair deal and transparent price discovery. In fact, they get 3-4 bids in a time span of 24-48 hours thus, making the entire process faster and more transparent.
Who are your associates for solar products and what are the diﬀerent products that the online platform deals in?
We are currently selling products of 40-45 manufacturers and big solar suppliers, online. The range of products includes solar torches, solar lanterns, study lamps, solar backpacks, mobile chargers, solar fans and solar lighting solutions. Besides, there are solar solutions like rooftop kits upto 1-10 KW, solar pump solutions of 1-5 HP, e-rickshaws, etc.
Considering that solar is on a boom in India, what is your targeted growth from this business model?
When we started the business 19 months back, the burn rate was very high and it still is. But, when the idea of this business model was conceived in 2004, we knew that people will take their own sweet time in understanding the solar products and projects and will also take time to go for online purchasing. Our business is diﬀerent from e-commerce in the sense that it is an e-info commerce marketplace. This is because we show a lot of information online to make people aware about the high end technology of solar. The complexity of solar is in the way it evolves at a fast pace. So, I firmly believe that this platform will work very well because we are providing in-depth information about the sector’s complexities.