Costs are often the biggest obstacle to overcome in establishing a market. In India, 400 million people have no access to power. When we look at broadband penetration, on one hand, we can see the gaping hole of denial in a basic need on the other – electricity. Or the billion dollar opportunity.
Four Indians saw the opportunity. The challenge was to provide consistent power at unheard of costs – about $2 a month. This right away makes it unattractive for the world’s largest power producers. So they tapped into a waste source – 1.8 billion kgs of rice bran that is no good for burning. The other challenge was to prevent power theft which is widespread because people need power but cannot pay for it. They innovated here by building a smart card system that cost less than $7 instead of the market rate of $40-$90.
Now, Husk Power Systems installs 2-3 power plants a week. And provides power to over 30,000 people. The innovations have raised the entry barrier for all competitors. It changes the market dynamics as well. Electricity being available opens up opportunities right down the line. It is just as important as building a road – access improves. Here, electricity escalates the number of productive hours – the ones that would be spent in complete darkness. I wouldn’t be surprised if this company becomes the growth story of this decade