Clean energy: Boond receives Series A funding from Opes Impact Fund, Ennovent

Opes Impact Fund (Fondazione Opes) and two members of the Ennovent Circle - Rianta Capital and Sumantra Roy - have closed a Series A equity investment round in North India-based clean energy access company, Boond Engineering & Development.

This investment in Boond, led by Opes, is the seventh deal facilitated by the Ennovent Circle - an exclusive group of investors, mentors and entrepreneurs that collaborates to accelerate innovations for low-income markets - since its launch in 2012.

Around 500 million people in India receive less than 8 hours of power a day. In states like Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh this figure is over 100 million with 30 percent of the population living in un-electrified or badly electrified areas. There is a severe shortage of renewable energy product service centers in these areas where the dismal distribution, storage and transmission of conventional power compounds the energy crisis.

Boond is an enterprise working towards providing affordable, clean energy access to the remote, rural parts of India. Along with servicing solar power centers, the company also designs products for rural markets such as solar light systems, solar light bulbs, biomass gas stoves, solar AC inverter systems and solar water pumps.

Excerpts from the interview with Rustam Sengupta, Founder of Boond :

Why did you raise Series A funding now? Can you tell us the amount and stake?

Series A funding will be utilized for growth and scale-up. Boond will build stronger and reliable service infrastructure in the form of 'energy hubs', housing technicians, demonstration units and inventory. The funding will sustain the organization when penetrating new and virgin areas with low energy access.

What is the business model?
We provide energy access by selling solar systems that are financed by local banks and financial institutions assuring last mile service and quality by our local energy centres.?

Can you tell us what do you have in the pipeline and what has Boond provided so far?

?Customized solar means designing and implementing solar systems that are desired by the community based on their needs. Boond has setup over 7500 installations till date in Rajasthan and UP.? The organization will expand to 20 hubs (working for 50+ districts or 75 million people in over two states) and 100+ micro franchise units. The investment will be used to train and tool over 1000 entrepreneurs to penetrate some of the remotest parts of the country.

Can you tell us about the public/private partnerships with inclusive models that Boond is planning?

?Boond works with rural banks that provide last mile loans to the buyers. We also work with the Panchayat and local leaders to ensure deep penetration and proper awareness.?

How popular is solar energy in north India? Do you plan to fill a gap, if there is one at all?

Over 50 percent of India (or around 500 million) is un-electrified or gets less than 8 hours of power a day. In some states like Rajasthan and UP, the cumulative population of these states is over 100 million with nearly 30% still living in un-electrified or badly electrified conditions. Dismal distribution, storage and transmission of conventional power compounds this. Solar prices are coming down every year (fall of over 200% over the last two years). There is a severe shortage of trained technicians and renewable energy product service centers. Products and services exists in cities and developed communities butrural India lacks the distribution / support access and the entrepreneurial ecosystem

What is the status of renewable energy process in India?

According to the India Renewable Energy Status Report 2014, the installed capacity of renewable energy has touched 32,269.6 Mw or 12.95 percent of the total potential available in the country, as on March 31, 2014. With this, the renewable energy, including large hydro electricity, constitutes 28.8 percent of the overall installed capacity in India.

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Updated Date: Aug 14, 2014 16:07:21 IST