A look into the rising trend of sustainable energy source with SUN360
By Samay Shetti
Humanity is hurtling down the road of development at an unprecedented pace. The vehicle on which it travels however, is bound to run out of fuel sooner than later. The development that we see around us comes at a great cost that most of us are blind to – but have started feeling the heat of it already. Keeping this aspect in mind, Anish Sousa, an alumnus of Goa Engineering College and the Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore conceptualised the idea of starting a company to cater to the energy demands of this juggernaut of development, but without contributing to the trail of destruction that it leaves in its wake.
In the year 2012, Anish started working on his idea by collecting of data, laying the groundwork, analysing the market and so on. In 2013, he officially started his company naming it SUN360. Gayatri Sousa his long-standing supporter both in business and life also came on board in 2018 as a director. “SUN360 is a clean-tech company with a vision of fostering growth by providing sustainable energy solutions from an environmental, social, and economic perspective,” says Anish. As the name suggests, SUN360 gives a comprehensive 360 degree approach to every issue regarding solar energy usage.
Over the last five years, the company has seen a substantial growth. “We started by pooling my own savings, with an initial investment ₹2 lacs,” says Anish. Having been profitable since the first year itself and projected a turnover of ₹2 crores for the current financial year, the company has documented a 180% growth since 2013. Anish acknowledges the invaluable contribution of his team too, “We have a team comprising of people from different fields, each bringing their own unique skill set and acquired expertise in play.”
Anish and Gayatri are both armed with backgrounds in engineering, in the mechanical and IT domains respectively. Based on their strengths, Anish and Gayatri have split the responsibilities among themselves. Backed with an experience of handling clients specifically in the renewable energy sector as well as working onsite at Helsinki, Finland Anish handles the technology, sales, strategy and finance aspects of SUN360 while Gayatri focuses on the marketing, sourcing and daily operations of the business. The company, presently, has a workforce of seven employees and several onsite contractual technicians as well. The services offered by SUN360 covers a wide domain. They include solutions for Solar Power Generation, Solar Powered Lighting and Water Heating Solutions. Under Solar Power Generation, the company sets up panels of photovoltaic cells, which converts the incident radiation into electrical energy based upon the client’s requirement. Under this, they offer three unique options, one is to have a completely independent off-grid system, where the surplus energy produced is stored in high capacity, low maintenance batteries so that it can be used when solar energy is not readily available, next is where the system is connected to the grid, but there are no batteries involved, here all the surplus power is relayed back into the grid offering the client an income source to it, too. The third option offered is a hybrid system, where the surplus power is resupplied to the national grid after it has been stored into the batteries to their full capacity. These setups along with being completely collapsible, modular and scalable, also are pretty sturdy with a guarantee of 25 years.
Under their water heating solutions, SUN360 offer two types of heaters, namely the Flat Plate Collector (FPC) where copper tubes are placed within an insulated box covered with toughened glass and the other being the Evacuated Tube Collector (ETC) where the water passes through vacuum tubes where it gets heated. The option is chosen based on the client’s location and usage conditions. For instance, in the case of hotels however, both these solutions are often impractical as the factor of aesthetics of the hotel also comes into the picture. Here another instrument called Heat Pump is used, extremely efficient as compared to its counterparts, as heat pump has the capacity of powering hundred to two hundred rooms from a four square meter space. This device collects heat from the ambient and converts it to hot water, in turn reducing the power consumption by as much as four times the conventional methods.
Under the vertical of lighting services, SUN360 caters to both the domestic as well as industrial segments. Along with designing the lighting layout as per international lighting codes, SUN360 also assembles the high wattage industrial lights in-house. These lights have their applications in solar streetlights, baylights, floodlights, industrial lighting and other heavy duty purposes where they can be just installed and forgotten about. Each such light comes with a guarantee of five years. For the domestic purpose however, they install premade LED lights, sourced from companies such as Wipro. SUN360 has had the distinction of designing and installing lights for sports facilities in line with Olympic lighting standards as well as for panchayats, industries and hotels.
One of the primary aspects of SUN360 is innovation in both finding the optimal solution for the customer needs and designing new components to increase the efficiency of their products. For instance, recently their team developed an automatic heat regulation device to be installed along with their solar powered water heating solutions named SUN360 Autotherm™. The speciality of SUN360 is that they provide complete solutions, right from the project initiation stages to its completion, assisting in all the paperwork as well as in the processes of acquiring loans and investors if that is required. “We don’t just provide solutions, we partner with our clients,” says Anish. Presently, the client list of SUN360 includes names like Gamesa Wind Turbines Pvt Ltd; Chennai Honeywell Technologies Solutions Lab Pvt Ltd, Madurai; and Zuari Agro Chemicals in the corporate sector. Bogmalo Beach Resort; Alor Beach Resort, Calangute; and Deltin Hotels and Cruises in the hospitality space. Regal Builders, Candolim and Nanu Builders among the real estate giants. Don Bosco Institutes and Birla Institute of Technology among educational institutions; and South Goa Zilla Panchayat for the Government establishments. SUN360 also holds the distinction of having the first solar hybrid plant that is currently feeding power to the grid in Goa.
Moving ahead, SUN360 looks to increase their presence by tying up with the smart city initiative to introduce new devices like solar-powered lamps, charging ports and CCTV cameras in the short term, and explore the foreign markets specifically in Africa and the Middle East. For their commendable work in the field of renewable energy, they were recently conferred with The Goa State Solar Leadership Award. “With the formation of the International Solar Alliance comprising of over 121 countries and the rising consciousness on key issues such as climate change and environment protection, solar technology will continue to touch millions of lives in the next 10 years,” says Gayatri. Truly so, and when one is riding on the wheels of innovation, the sky is the limit