Pioneer Avers Solar Power’s Now Cheaper than Kerosene
Thursday, December 30, 2010
(…) “Our product costs Rs1,000 and gives 24 hours of light on one charge. It is actually cheaper than kerosene when you spread it over the full lifetime,” Chugh said. “The solution, technologically, is there.. If 700 million people can buy a mobile phone that costs Rs3,000 or more, they can surely spend Rs1,000 for energy,” he said.
What is missing, Chugh points out, are market ’enablers’. In other words, while it may indeed be cheaper than a kerosene in the long run, how does one convince the ’bottom of the Indian pyramid’ to save up and shell out Rs1,000 at one go?
“Most of them don’t even have land to give as collateral,” Chugh said.
Having attacked the bottom of the pyramid for more than three years, he is wary of marketing evangelists.
“The fortune is not there now, don’t believe it,” he said, having seen some of his earlier products fail to attract his target customers. “There’s this big bubble of the so-called fortune at thebottom of the pyramid,” said Chugh, while attending the TIE Entrepreneur Summit in New Delhi last week.
Chugh is currently attacking the problem by tying up with microfinance players, instead of trying to take advantage of some of the old government schemes that provide small subsidies to families that buy solar lanterns.