The startup believes that the convergence of IoT, software and solar energy will create a huge market in the next five years
Pranesh Chaudhary, founder and CEO, ZunRoof
By Srinath Srinivasan
Gurgaon-based ZunRoof operates in two growing business segments— solar energy and IoT devices for homes. While there are startups working to bring togetjer solar energy and IoT for commercial purposes, the residential market has very few players due to the unit economics in play. “Home systems, while small, are many in number. With software innovation, the experience and cost savings that customers can get are significant. With states offering subsidies, this becomes even more attractive,” says Pranesh Chaudhary, founder and CEO, ZunRoof.
For a typical home, the investment is around Rs 2.5 lakh for a 5-6kW unit. The break-even period is 4-5 years if there is no government subsidy and if there is, it comes down to 2.5 years, explains Chaudhary. According to him, people realise the true value only when they see nil electricity bill following the installation. “When there are surplus units of electricity produced, it is fed back into the grid,” he adds.
The conversation about renewables evolves into a data science business after this point. The data collected from solar panels via various smart home IoT devices are fed on the company’s own cloud platform. “This is also going to be the future. The differentiator in the market would be which company does the best data analytics. This will ensure better customer experience and retention,” says Chaudhary.
Software plays a role even before the installation is done. Zunroof uses virtual reality to model the solar plant on a rooftop so the customer would be in a position to see how much space and what form it would take. “It is important to bring in software right at the design stage. It allows us to not just save on costs but enhance customer experience. Altering the plant after installation is cumbersome,” he says.
The startup earned $4 million in revenue in 2019 with over 30,000 systems and half a million IoT devices installed. Zunroof received Rs 28.2 crore in pre-Series A and Series A funding from the Godrej family fund. It also got Rs 3.25 crore from angel investors and a grant from US-India Clean Energy Finance(USICEF).
Chaudhary believes that the convergence of software, IoT and renewable energy will create a huge market in the next five years. “With that view, we are aggressively partnering with large builders and expanding our footprint beyond the 75 cities we currently operate in. Through builders, we get access to work on thousands of smart home projects,” he explains.