Choice Solar was founded by Ravi Sinha and Katherine Cleland in 2007. Their combined strengths in engineering, management, marketing, finance, and business development led to creation of a strong team to provide cost effective solar solutions to world’s largest population segment who live without reliable electricity.
According to the company, ” Choice Solar is focused on bringing affordable, durable, solar solutions to a vast number of people living in unelectrified regions of the world . Choice Solar provides affordable, durable, “plug & play” solar solutions to people in unelectrified and marginally electrified regions of India.”
The company has launched various products in India including universal mobile phone charger, Solar LED Lantern, solar garden light and Solar home power systems. The company also provides integrated design and consulting services.
Cosmic Flares makers of solar products including solar cell phone chargers which they seem to be retailing at about 25 USD had earlier announced plans to enter the global market including India.
Given the mobile penetration in India and the stories of people in rural India without power going out of the way to getting their mobiles charged and paying up to Rs5/ recharge, there is huge potential for such devices as already shown by Duron. A well thought out distribution model will be one of the key drivers of success.
Similarly, a number of companies, like MIC electronics, Sujana Energy , SUNNAM lamps, have been selling or have plans to sell solar lamps, like Choice Solar. Solar lamps have witnessed huge volume sales as a result of the goal of Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission(JNNSM) which has a target of deploying 20 million solar lighting systems for rural areas by 2022.
Now, according to this report, Choice Solar that has been developing solar powered chargers for rural Indian market, has witnessed a demand for the same in the US from iPhone users clamoring for charging options.
An Oregon company formed to develop easy-to-use solar-powered battery chargers and lights in India is being pulled into the U.S. market by the siren song of iPhone users clamoring for charging options.
Choice will start selling its solar-powered cell phone charger in the U.S. this week, a product clamored for by iPhone users eager to charge their phones in coffee shops without plugging in.
“It’s almost against all odds,” said Sinha, a Blackberry user, who is somewhat bewildered by the demand for a product he intended for use in a setting with spotty electricity service. “We didn’t think there was a demand for it in the U.S. We were wrong.”
……….Choice Solutions Corp. is a tiny company run by Sinha, who is CEO, and Cleland, chief marketing officer. Its angel investors include Dave Chen, founding partner of Equilibrium Capital; Sarah Cleveland of Towers Watson Investment Services; and Ryan Finley and Chris Finley, founders of Portland-based Survey Monkey. Sinha declined to disclose the amount of seed money raised by Choice Solutions.
…………Choice Solar’s debut in the U.S. market will be with two products, a generic solar-powered charger for $39.95 and one tricked out especially for the iPhone at $89.95.
This will be interesting to watch how this changes Choice Solar’s focus though they have mentioned that they would continue with their original mission. Further, this is might be interesting if any of the other solar cell phone charger makers in India, would try to target this lucrative market of iphone users that seem to have taken a liking for solar chargers.