May 28, 2012
Gram Power setup India’s first Smart Microgrid in rural Rajasthan. Jacob and I built the system with our own hands in collaboration with the village community – erecting poles, setting up solar panels, connecting batteries and wiring up our first generation smart meters. I had no idea whether the system would work and even if it did, how far would we go. But seeing the level of impact the system created in the village, I was sure of one thing – Gram Power would scale.
3 years hence, we’ve come a long way. In terms of impact, we’ve electrified 19 remote villages and 30 more Smart Microgrids are under construction. We’re launching a product in Africa this summer that is expected to reach 1 Million families within the next 4 years. And what we’re most excited about, is that in 2015 we’re bringing our Smart Metering technology on the national grid with paradigm shifting business models. If all goes like it has been so far, the time is quite close when our technology will bring our electricity infrastructure on the internet to organize and manage energy infrastructure, the way Google has managed consumer information!
Reflecting back on our technology development history makes me really proud of what our team has achieved in such a short span of time. In 2011, when Jacob and I graduated, all we had was a smart battery that could run lights, cell phones and radios. It was a neat device but basically it was just a better alternative to a solar lantern. Today we have developed the industry’s most integrated and advanced smart metering solution. What does this mean?
It means that just by replacing your electricity meter in the house with ours, your power distribution company can manage the entire electricity infrastructure from the internet. Today, in several towns of India, the distribution company doesn’t even know where their consumers are! With our technology, consumers can monitor their consumption online in real time and understand whether their AC, heater or incandescent light bulb is the electron guzzler or their power distribution company is taking them for a ride! There will be no more cryptic electricity bills and consumers will be able to recharge their energy meters just as they recharge their cell phones. Blackouts will almost be eliminated and power theft will be significantly curtailed. In a nutshell we can radically reduce the $18 Billion of losses that our grid today faces, which is sufficient to power up 490 million people in India for a year. With help from the US government, we are first bringing our solution this year for 10,000 families connected to the grid post which, we’ll very soon be in your cities, towns and villages as well.
We’re touching lives every day and exponentially more lives each year. And all this has been possible only because of the amazingly passionate team at Gram Power. It’s very rare to be working in a team that has passionate technology geeks, design gurus, business leaders, operations freaks, all of who outperform themselves and continue to be with us because of the impact their work is able to create. With all the new opportunities and traction Gram Power has today and the strong financial support we’ve received internationally, our team is expanding very rapidly and I hope our passion for impact and innovation continues to infect more and more. Looking forward to updating you all on our next big leap soon. Cheers!