Tiger Power CEO Chris Prengels: Developing power solutions for off grid, poor grid applications in India

If solar energy is a big leap for renewable power, Tiger Power has taken the plunge and is ready to raise the energy bar with innovative solar power generation and storage solutions, that can be set up in remote locations and reduce carbon emissions.

Tiger Power, a two year old Belgian start up clean tech company, is already into India since the last one year, with its mini grids and energy in a box power solutions.

Chris Prengels, CEO, Tiger Power informed, “We are developing power solutions for off grid and poor grid applications in India and East Africa. We plan to put up 400 to 600 mini grids in India and East African countries like Uganda and Rwanda in the next two to three years.”

For Prengels, India, where he lived for more than two years, to understand how the country works, is a key market and an enormous opportunity, because there are more than 300 million persons in the country with no access to electricity. The company is invested in India and working closely with the government to bring power to the people in remote locations.

Alex Daniel, the company’s country manager, spoke about Tiger Power’s progress in India. “We have an ongoing engagement with the government so that we are part of their existing and upcoming new policies, especially its policy framework for mini grids, expected to be announced soon, which will be an opportunity for us to front end the targets envisaged by the government of India and position ourselves as partners or prominent players in fulfilling the objectives of the federal policies.

“We plan to put up 400 to 600 mini grids in India and East African countries.”

The company is eyeing the energy starved areas of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, where people need more than one bulb in the house and the youth want access to computers, television, internet, cooler and mobile phones.

“We are ready to set up 200 50-100 kilowatts mini to micro grids, each sufficient to power a small rural hamlet and small businesses. That is our main differentiator.” informed Prengels.

To coincide with the state visit of the Belgian king to India, the company is set to announce its agreement with another international clean tech company, Cambridge Energy Resources to build these 200 renewable energy installations in Uttar Pradesh over the next three years, at an investment of around 20 million euros, to contribute to India’s plan to electrify 40 million households by 2018.

Tiger Power has already launched other innovative products in India, like Sunfold, which combines power generation and storage to provide a clean energy alternative to traditional diesel generator sets. These are plug and play solar power systems for a wide range of remote applications, and can be conveniently transported and set up atop a standard sized shipping container, which can be used for a variety of purposes –to power telecom towers, ATMs, petrol pumps, skill centres, cold storage, medicine distribution or construction sites –where the container itself can be used as an office. Sunfolds use lead crystal batteries, which keeps temperatures low and prolongs power storage.

The company has already signed a joint cooperation agreement with the Ministry of Renewable Energy for the Sunfold to be tested at the National Institute of Solar Energy.

“We are thus giving you energy in a box, where everything is integrated and no civil work is required. Simply install, plug and play. The use of Sunfolds, a competitively priced 5 kilowatt system, can enable non-stop operations, reduce energy cost and also CO2 emissions with no worries about fuel pilferage, that comes with dependence on batteries and generator,” Daniel elaborated.

The company has supplied Sunfold systems to Urja-Energy, an NGO in Gorakhpur, Eastern Uttar Pradesh, to power a primary health centre and a sanitary pads production factory, that used to be hampered by daily power cuts. The sanitary chamber is made out of the shipping container. Another Sunfold powers houses and shops in Mehrajganj, another remote location in Uttar Pradesh.

“We intend to put up Sunfolds as a commercial solution for hundreds of telecom mobile towers.”

Tiger Power manufactures and assembles these Sunfolds in India and is 90 per cent indigenised. “The only component to be imported is our unique lead crystal batteries for power storage. The rest is either manufactured or sourced from India,” Daniel said.

The company also supplies Sunfolds to telecom companies, that generate solar power onsite and power the telecom towers to run their mobile network. “We intend to put up Sunfolds as a commercial solution for hundreds of telecom mobile towers in the next one year, which will reduce their dependency on diesel,” said Daniel.

The company is also working on other innovative products like hydrogen generators, that generate power on demand and allow power storage over a longer time, for weeks, that would be helpful during the monsoon months. “The product is being tested in Belgium and we should be bringing it into India in the next one year. It can replace a number of diesel generators,” informs Daniel.

Tiger Power’s products are also competitively priced. “We understand India is a price conscious market and we are ready to bring in European quality at Indian costs,” states Prengels.

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