Solar Power Electronic Solutions by Amberroot Systems

An Interview @REI 2016

India has set an ambitious target of 40 GW of solar coming from rooftop solar installations by 2022. This is going to be a herculean task to achieve unlike the utility scale target of 60 GW. This is because the problem with rooftop solar is that it is not a ‘must have’. Especially for residences, the savings that rooftop solar offers is marginal, if at all any, owing to fairly low rates residences pay to utilities in most parts of the country.

One of the other reasons why residences are skeptical about solar is how they would accommodate the solar setup with their existing inverter setup and the complications around it.

This is exactly the problem that a small start-up from Bangalore – Amberroot systems – decided to resolve.

Amberroot is a power electronics solution company with a special focus on solar PV. Amberroot’s REhub range of products bring solar and conventional battery backup (that use inverters) into a solar dominant hub (REhub) and hence allowing residences and other stake holders to upgrade to solar from existing backup in a seamless manner. Different range of products that Amberroot can provide are:

  • REhub PWM – To add Solar PV to extend back up in small home solar installations in a cost effective way
  • REhub MPPT – To add as much Solar PV as required for servicing loads and yet making sure the charge rate to batteries is well within safe limits
  • REhub MPPT Eco – To add Solar to existing inverters

Founders of Amberroot – Karthik Srinivasan and Sudhakar Ganganna – come with a huge amount of prior experience in the electrical and electronics engineering field. They started off with multiple experiment products like low concentration PV and distributed chargers for telecom towers. Later they identified a real market need in the solar power electronics domain and hence developed the above products.

Solar Mango team was able to catch up with Mr.Karthik Srinivasan and Mr.Sudhakar Ganganna, the founders of Amberroot Systems for a brief interview during the recent REI Expo 2016, held at Noida. A quick snapshot of the interview is given below:

amberroot-systems

Interview with Amberroot Systems

What are the key products and solutions, Amberroot provides to the Indian solar sector?

Amberroot Systems (www.amberroot.com) makes power electronics products that make Solar  PV viable in small installations – in homes, small office, telecom towers etc. Specifically our range of products REhub (for renewable energy hub) make it possible to add Solar to existing Inverter based back up in homes and offices. Hundreds of homes around India have benefitted by adding REhub to their existing Inverters and batteries – seeing real savings in electricity bills and longer power back up.

Which are the key end user segments for your products and solutions?

Small rooftop Installations ( Sub 5kW) – homes in India with existing power back up, Telecom towers looking to add Solar to save on Diesel costs, Specialized requirements from customers looking deliver solutions that need high efficiency chargers from the Grid/ Solar or hybrid needs.

What are the highlights and USPs of your products and solutions?

REhubs make it possible to add as much Solar PV as required to make it possible to power the loads through the day – that results in genuine reduction of electricity bills and at the same time makes sure that the batteries remain absolutely safe from high charge rates that can spoil the batteries. REhubs are the only devices that monitor the net positive current delivered to the batteries and limits it to a safe value prescribed by the battery manufacturer. Loads can get as much power as required based on the Solar installation, but the current to the batteries never exceeds the limit set. Nobody else does this.

Our chargers support high Input Voc for even 12V systems – helping the installer to reduce their system costs.

Any future products and solutions you are coming up with for the Indian market?

In the short term, our new 48V MPPT charger is meant for Solar in Telecom towers. Once again, when we add Solar to Telecom towers, multiple sources of energy need to be managed even as Solar is prioritized. REhub Telecom makes it happen. We are also adding Network connectivity to our REhubs with a Wifi adapter that will make it possible to monitor the performance of REhub installed in  homes and set policies on the web to control the way REhub behaves. This is an example of Internet of things, which empowers the user to utilize Solar in a better way. In the Long term, India needs Grid tied systems with Storage – and we are developing a solution for this market.

What are the key learnings you have had from the Indian solar energy sector so far?

There is a keen interest from individuals to add Solar in their homes and the interest is not restricted to saving electricity bills or just back up. People want to add Solar as a way to contribute! And this interest is widespread – not just in urban homes. Many of our individual customers are from Tier 2 and 3 towns in India. The opportunity is enormous and as Solar solution providers this interest is what makes this market interesting and challenging (due to its spread/ diffuse nature)

What, according to you, are the key challenges faced by the Indian Solar market?

[1]  The interest from individuals are being served with ‘ Low quality’ el-cheapo solutions that do not work and is harming the spread of Solar. I have seen System Integrators offering solutions purely based on cost when the end users are looking for ‘ good ‘ solutions. This is because a lot of the people who are selling to the end users do not know or understand better on how Solar PV works and default to selling based on price.

 

[2]  The huge differences in rate of taxation in the different states for Solar PV. For example, in the state of Karnataka, Solar chargers are taxed at 14.5%. Elsewhere it is 5% . Even in Karnataka, full system solution ( Panels, Chargers ) is at 0%. Makes it difficult to take input credit for Solar chargers for which they would have to pay 14.5%. Hopefully, GST will solve some of these issues.

 

To know more about Amberroot Systems,

Contact – Karthik Srinivasan, Director – Marketing

Email – karthik@amberroot.com

Website – http://www.amberroot.com/index.php