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Duron Energy looking to raise $10 mn for expansion plans in India

According to reports, Duron Energy Pvt Ltd, the Indian subsidiary of US-based Distributed World Power, a maker of affordable off-grid solar energy solutions, is looking to raise up to $10 million (about Rs 50 crore) venture capital to fund its expansion in India.

The company, started in 2008, has recently completed the pilot marketing of its plug-n-play solar lighting solutions in two states of Karnataka and Uttar Pradesh and is now looking at an aggressive expansion across the country.

“We have done pilot projects for our off-grid solar lighting products mainly in the rural and semi-urban areas in these two states and are looking to roll out in five other states this year. We are in talks with a few private equity and venture capital firms for raising around $8-10 million,” Ajay Awasthi, President & CEO, Duron Energy Pvt Ltd said.

He said the company has already raised first round of funds from Intel Capital and a Spanish cleantech investors.

Duron is incubated by Idealab, a California-based incubator of technology companies and is positioned as a provider of clean energy solutions for powerless homes in rural and semi-urban areas. It has already installed its home lighting solutions in about 3,200 villages in the states of Karnataka and Uttar Pradesh. Its product range comprises solar home lighting systems, solar home systems and solar UPSs. The products are very simple to use plug-n-play, portable and microprocessor based designs, Awasthi said.

Presently, it offers four models — Duron Breeze, Lite, Mini and Mega, starting from 5 watts to 120 watts that provide energy for four to six hours and run a table fan and a laptop with mobile charging facility. Custom-built for rural areas, they have battery level indicator, dim and bright light switches, fan, mobile charging unit and energy efficient LED lights, which are water-proof and priced in the range of Rs 5,000 to Rs 14,000.

He said the company is now set to expand into five other states like Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Rajasthan, and Orissa in the next six months. It is in the process of appointing dealerships in these states. Duron has adopted a demo-based sales and distribution model to penetrate into the rural markets. It also plans to export to South Asian nations and Africa later this year. It is also participating in some large central government contracts in partnership with system integrators like IBM, TCS, HP, and Wipro for supply of solar UPS systems for ICT project.

“We have recently conducted field trials for two large government contracts and hope to bag one of those projects which will be worth over Rs 100 crore,” Awasthi said.

The company has contract manufacturing arrangement with a Mysore-based company for producing its products. It has entered into a finance arrangement with cooperative banks in Uttar Pradesh and micro finance institutions in Karnataka for funding its products in the rural areas.

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