It’s become very crucial for all of us to acknowledge the importance of solar energy and utilize it properly. That’s the thought behind the invention of Loom Solar, a solar energy start-up, by Amol Anand and his brother Amod Anand. Amol, a business management and marketing pro, wants people to get rid of power cuts and huge electricity bills. He shares his aspirations with Business Upside India. Here is an edited excerpt of the interview.
Edited Excerpt of the Interview
Business Upside India [BU]: You’ve Specialized in Business and Marketing and Started your Career in the Same Field. How did you come to this Field, and what made you go with a Solar Energy Start-up?
Amol Anand [AA]: Back in the 2010s, the issue of power shortage was at a huge level in India. There were power outages for 1 to 2 to 3 days, which made us switch to solar energy usage. We used a 250-watt solar panel to run the office of 5 to 6 people, and the panel generated enough power to sustain the office for the day.
After experiencing one of the most common problems in India, i.e. power cuts and power supply shortages, the decision to enter this field of solar energy was made. Countrywide visits revealed the actual scenario that people, yet to get a sustainable source of power, depend much on non-renewable sources like oil, wood, coal, petrol and diesel.
That was when we started thinking about solar energy on a severe level.
And then in 2018, we formed Loom Solar and started with the idea of providing power supply to everyone in this country without letting them wait for hours and days for electricity.
[BU]: What is your Experience with the Innovation and Inventions this Sector has been Going Through in Recent Years?
[AA]: The introduction of the ‘Monocrystalline Solar Panel’ by Loom Solar in India was a very innovative and persistent move in the solar energy sector. The experience with the monocrystalline solar panel definitely changed the solar panel industry for good. Earlier, the solar energy industry in India only had a ‘Polycrystalline Solar Panel’, which was less effective than monocrystalline solar panels.
Of course, the price of the monocrystalline solar panel is costlier than polycrystalline, but the energy generation is far better too. We have also faced the alleged negative feedback of the market’s worst performance of monocrystalline solar panels.
After we lead the marketing of monocrystalline solar panels, showing their true potential and performance, their usage has jumped to 100% in India. The move led the other brands to switch to the monocrystalline solar panel to provide better products and services to their consumers. Currently, Loom Solar is known for its expertise, top-notch monocrystalline solar panels and services.
We are also promoting our ‘Lithium Ion Battery’ and its new innovative and upgraded version, which will change the charging and power supply level.
[BU]: How was the Journey at the Initial Stage? What Challenges did you Face, and how did you Overcome them?
[AA]: In the initial stage, Loom Solar was competing against big brands and established brands, and the biggest challenge we had was customer acquisition. But a start-up cannot do that quickly, which made us look for goals that will help us sustain ourselves in the market and establish a good brand value in the solar energy sector. The next challenging task was to build trust in Loom Solar in all organic ways.
To gain customers’ trust and support, we even started quick delivery of solar panels in just three super fast days for a few years, along with the installation and guidance services. We also kept our products’ prices lower than our competitors without compromising product quality and the integrity of Loom Solar.
Speaking of challenges, we had the budget as our toughest hurdle. As we had to market our product and the brand, gain consumers, manufacture a solar product as per the demands, and then deliver it to our consumers along with quick services. All of this was done within a very tight budget. We were lucky to have a very cooperative team who stayed with us in this tight budget challenge and delivered the best of their skills.
[BU]: Why should People reach Out to you?
[AA]: Loom Solar has three significant points that make us stand alone. We have the best solar products (top-notch in its class). We have the best distribution channel and a brand value that speaks for itself.
In the solar panel market, the rest of the brands are manufacturing and providing 450 Watt solar panels; Loom Solar has 540 Watt solar panels, which is much higher in power generation and its competitive range. This shows that we are working for a better future where we can deliver the best innovative products t our consumers.
Earlier, we introduced 440 Watt ‘Half Cut Technology’ in solar panels, while the other brands were working on 340 Watt technology.
We also took the initiative to manufacture and promote ‘Lithium Ion Batteries’ whereas the ‘Lead Acid Battery’ is widely available in the market which is 50% less effective and inexpensive compared to Lithium Ion battery, which again indicates that Loom Solar delivers the latest solar products that are latest in technology and are better performing.
Apart from product and manufacturing, we have more than 3,500 partners who are widely available across India in our distributor network. We also provide quick service with immediate solutions.
We also have international brand recognition with multiple national and international awards in the solar energy sector.
[BU]: What are your Most Significant Achievements so far?
[AA]: Loom Solar was founded in 2018; since then, the biggest and most significant achievement it has gained is its consumers’ belief and trust. We have emerged as one of the most trusted brands in the solar energy sector within these four years.
Loom Solar is a recognized brand by multiple trusted brands. We have won many national and international awards, including two national awards in 2022 (Tie-Lummis Award and e4m D2C award).
We have installed solar panels in 50,000+ homes in India, including remote and hilly areas. We have 3,500+ retail stores across 500 cities in India. We also provide solar panels and their related services at an international level.
[BU]: What has been your Most Important Lesson since Starting the Business?
[AA]: The biggest lesson that Loom Solar has learned is never to break customers’ trust and provide them with immediate solutions and services. The integrity of the brand is the most essential factor.
We have also noticed that the service segment in the solar energy sector is the most challenging point for any brand. Providing an effective service in a concise time is always difficult for every brand in the solar energy sector.
We have taken this as the most important lesson and are continuously improving our services and solutions to keep our consumers happy all the time.
[BU]: Is there Anything you want to Change in this Sector or Society Through your Work?
[AA]: The change that Loom Solar is trying to bring to this society is a future with sustainable goals. Loom Solar is always eager to deliver the best technology in solar products through which a consumer can afford power supply within his budget.
As inflation is hitting the world, where the prices are rising, solar energy is becoming a major point of a renewable and affordable source of energy, along with the environmental goals to keep our society clean and green.
[BU]: What are the Milestones you wish to Achieve?
[AA]: The biggest milestone that Loom Solar achieved was its customers’ trust and support.
The next milestone is that we want to increase our presence at a national and international level for our customers. Where ever our consumer is residing, we want to have our presence in that place.
We are also innovating the best technology in the solar energy sector to make it more affordable to everyone on this planet, including our consumers.
And of course, a ‘Clean and Healthy Environment’ is what we are working for.
[BU]: What is your Message to Society?
[AA]: The message to our society is that ‘Do not think of Solar Energy as an expense; think of it as an investment.’ Investing in a solar panel or any solar product may appear like an extra expense, but it is an intelligent investment which starts earning/providing returns from day 01, not in terms of money but in terms of savings.
By installing a solar product on your rooftop, you can save money on rising electricity bills, and by installing a solar panel / solar system, you can even get a ‘0 electricity bill/’ at the end of the month.
Understand the importance of solar energy by this example –
An army officer once came home on vacation and installed a 3 kW (Kilo Watt) solar panel in his house. Unfortunately, he was later martyred in combat. His wife, while speaking to us, said that his decision to install a solar system at home is now acting like a retirement plan.
The family used to get Rupees. 3,000 to 4,000 (Rupees. 36,000 to 48,000 a year) electricity bill every month before the solar panel installation. After installing the solar system, the family is entirely free from electricity bills. The family still pays a minimal electricity bill, as they keep the discom’s (Distribution Company) power supply as a backup for emergencies.
[BU]: What would you Advise young People Thinking of Opening their Start-ups?
[AA]: The major point in today’s fast pace world is that everybody is thinking of coming up with a unique idea for their start-up. The next thing they think about is the required investment and the returns they can get with it. And the last thought is how quickly they can start earning from their start-up. People are now just trying to promote a unique idea which works sometimes, but that is rare.
The advice to young people is that instead of thinking about a unique idea, think about an idea that can provide a solution to our society or a problem. The world is dealing with so many problems; the world needs solutions to its problems. The better the solution, the better a start-up will perform, and the chances to sustain the start-up will become far better.
Another piece of advice is that the plan to prepare a start-up must be well practised. The decision-makers must plan whether they want to go ahead with an investment beyond 1 lakh rupees or less than that, as the investment will decide the course of action that will be required with the allotted investment.
Another factor for a successful start-up is that the founder/s must have a team to rely upon (if required) because many of the times a person want to become a ‘one man army’, which works for sure, but if the resources are available and can be arranged at a cheap level then do try that.
And the last piece of advice is to never give up on an idea that you think is important. Try and fail, learn, try again and fail better; eventually, you will succeed.