Husk Power Systems

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Overview

Providing reliable, renewable and affordable power that empowers millions of people by helping them take from darkness to light

Overview

Headquarters: Bihar, India
Established: 2007
Impact Areas: India
Type: For-Profit
Energy Sectors:
Business Model Types:
Staff Size: 325
Annual Budget: US$2.1m
Major Funders: Acumen Fund; DFJ; IFC; LGT Philanthropy; Shell Foundation; Oasis Capital (Bamboo Finance); CISCO and Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (India)
Awards: 2008: Dell Social Innovation Competition winner, Fast Company Top-10 Social Enterprise of the year, Pop!Tech Fellow 2009:DFJ/CISCO Global Business Plan Competition winner, Santa Clara Global Social Benefit Incubator: 2010: Sankalp Awards, India, BBC World Challenge Competition Finalist

ABOUT

Husk Power Systems owns and operates 100% biomass based, de-centralized mini power plants and wires entire village to provide electricity to households and small businesses.

 

Energy Products/Services

  • Rice Husk Power Plant
  • 3-phase, 220V 50Hz Electricity
  • Low cost smart pre-paid meters

Target Market

  • Villages in India and around the world with 400-500 households with plenty of biomass feedstock (rice husk, corn cobbs, rice/wheat straws etc)

 

Husk Power Systems

Revenue Streams

  • Sale of generated power to villages
  • Sale of Rice Husk Char products
  • Carbon Credits
  • Sale of electrical appliances and fast moving consumer goods from corporate partners to end consumers in villages

Value Proposition

  • HPS provides easy maintenance and management processes for power plants so that even a high-school educated person, with 3-months of HPS training, can run and maintain mini-power plants.
  • HPS is the global leader in providing the lowest installation cost for sub-1MW biomass power plants. Landed cost is less than US $1,000 per KW.
  • HPS receives revenue from four sources: Electricity Sales, Rice Husk Char monetization, Carbon credits and Channeling products from Corporate partners (electrical appliance manufacturers and Fast Moving Consumer Products) to end consumers.

Problem Addressed

  • Rural electrification in India is in an acute crisis as a total of 125,000 Indian villages are presently un-electrified leaving over 480 million citizens (45% of the population) without access to reliable power, even though they spend $4.86 billion on their energy needs.
  • The Indian government has designated 18,000 of these villages as economically impossible to reach via conventional means.
  • Without electricity, these villagers are forced to use kerosene lanterns and diesel generators which are costly, polluting, unhealthy and dangerous. This lack of reliable power leaves them without the communication, education, and healthcare infrastructure required in modern life.
  • For example, villagers have to go to a nearby town just to recharge their cell phone battery at a cost of $0.11/recharge.
  • This impedes both economic and social development and undermines the viability of India’s long-term growth.

Where They Are Now

Impact to Date

  • 75 power plants serving 325 villages, impacting 35,000 households and over 200,000 people.
  • As per CDM certification process, saving ~150 tons of CO2 per plant per year

Milestones

  • 2008 – Added 3 new power plants by deploying $100,000 winnings from business plan competitions; grant funding from Shell Foundation
  • 2009 – Expanded to 19 power plants; raised $1.65 million in pre-Series A equity financing round; received $250,000 in subsidies from Ministry of New and Renewable Energy
  • 2010 – Expanded to 57 power plants and scaling at a rate of 1-2 plants/week; productized Rice Husk Char to manufacture “Green Incense Sticks (agarbatti)” by recruiting and training 200 women; kick-started pilot program for franchise model; recruited high quality management team
  • end 2010: A total of 65 power plants; scaling at a rate of 2 power plants per week

Growth Plan

  • 2011 – Roll out Husk Power University training; roll out Smart Metering and Smart Monitoring solutions
  • 2012 – Train over 500 women entrepreneurs and 1000+ operators, mechanics and engineers; roll out franchise model
  • 2014 – Expand to 2,000+ power plants that can serve 6 million rural people across India

How They Deliver

Affordability

  • Husk has developed a cheap, scalable system for delivering electricity at the village level.
  • Most users pay US$1.75 per month for husk power, as opposed to $5-7 for kerosene.
  • Husk estimates its cost of delivery at US.10 cents/kwh and expects costs to go down by 10% per year.  They expect to break even within 3.5 years, not including carbon revenue.

Scaling

  • Husk’s model is designed to be a turnkey solution which can easily be put into as many villages as they have capital for, and their model is focused on scaling as rapidly as possible while keeping power as cheap as possible for villagers.

Social Impact

  • Husk measures its progress based on how low it can get its costs and how many villages it can reach sustainably, with its primary metrics being:
    • Cost per kilowatt hour
    • Number of people impacted
    • Number of households electrified
    • Cash saved per household
    • Jobs created
    • Increased number of children going to school

Human Resources

  • One key element of Husk’s business model is that the each plant must be maintained by people from the villages in which it operates.
  • This reduces costs and creates village employment, in addition to making the plants more sustainable.
  • However, training 3-5 people per village has been challenging and labor-intensive.
  • To achieve its goal of 2,000 villages by 2014 (and training the needed 8,000 staff), Husk is now developing Husk University, a standardized training program for village engineers which will have  a centralized location for every 30-40 plants.
  • Husk has faced challenges with turnover, but is working to reduce them.
  • Employees are incentivized with benefits such as health care and credit, and a career ladder allowing employees to go from operator of a single plant to mechanic running 2-3 plants to certified husk engineer running 10-15 plants.

More Resources

Online Resources

Contact Information

Husk Power Systems
Husk Power Systems Pvt. Ltd.
Opp. Shiv Mandir,
Shastri Nagar Market,
Sheikhpura, Patna- 800 014
Bihar, India

( +91 (612) 2283333
* info@huskpowersystems.com