Sunday, February 23, 2014

How IITian Rahul Gupta built RaysExperts, a multi-crore solar power company in less than 3 years

In 2009, Rahul Gupta was worried that his marks would rule out a job during campus placements at IIT Roorkee. So, instead of preparing for interviews, he sat reading a newspaper in his room, whereby he came across an article on the setting up of a solar plant in Amritsar.

By the time he finished reading it, he was convinced that solar power was his calling. Since the last semester was relatively relaxed, he devoted his time to conducting research on the sector. He soon discovered a classmate who was equally interested in it, and the duo took a trip to Rajasthan, his home state, for more research in December 2009. The two soon made up their minds to start a small solar plant.

"Thermal power fetched a profit of Rs 3 per unit, but solar power got Rs 18 a unit," says Gupta. Before returning to the campus, they had registered their venture, Rays Power Projects, in Jaipur.
However, they faced their first setback when they learnt that they would need Rs 1.37 lakh to apply for a tender. "Since we knew everything about the sector, we decided to help other companies install solar plants in Rajasthan while waiting to drum up the cash," says Gupta.

After graduating in April 2010, the duo shifted base to Jaipur and started working as full-time consultants. They soon bagged their first client, whom they helped set up a 1 MW project in Jaisalmer.

Once they managed to save the required amount, they applied for the tender of a project, which was to be commissioned by March 2012. The estimated cost of the project was nearly Rs 12 crore, but they were confident of raising the money. "In mid-2010, there was an expansion of solar power sector in Rajasthan. This was a boon for our consultancy business," says Gupta.
However, due to a difference of opinion with his partner, he left the company in March 2011, taking Rs 13 lakh as his share. He relocated to Delhi, changed the business model for his new venture to engineering, procurement and construction for solar companies, and set up RaysExperts three months later. Before the end of the year, he had eight companies as clients

Then, in early 2012, he decided to revisit his solar park dream. He figured his firm would take care of all the details, from procuring the tender to setting up the project and its maintenance, while investors would hand him the money. He bought land in Bikaner and set up a 2 MW solar park, which opened in October 2012. By the end of the fiscal year, the revenue was Rs 80 crore.

Today, Gupta manages three projects, spanning 500 acres in Bikaner, collectively producing 55 MW. As maintenance fee, he charges Rs 8 lakh per MW, per client, annually. In October 2013, he started his own 250 KW plant. The 120-employee company is eyeing a turnover of Rs 350 crore in this fiscal year.

Srikanth Nyshadham +91-98665-06729