LAHORE: SolDrive, an up and coming startup providing sustainable energy solutions to households and corporations, last month signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Moawin Facility to provide installation and after-sales support of the product.
SolDrive is an initiative of Dr Nauman Ahmad Zaffar, an associate professor and director of energy and power systems cluster at Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS). The solution developed is a smart WiFi-enabled device that can connect to a conventional air-conditioning unit through a minimally invasive/plug and play procedure to make it more energy efficient than the newer and more expensive inverter technology air conditioners (AC) available in the market.
In short, consumers can now make their conventional air conditioners energy efficient that will consume electricity like an inverter air conditioner, without bearing the high cost of switching to an inverter A/C. Corporate entities can reap the benefits of significant reduction in electricity costs and peak capacity requirements of backup generator/solar powers solutions.
The startup, which is funded by HEC Technology Development Fund and USAID, aims to provide a sustainable energy solution with a positive environmental impact.
SolDrive will be launched in the market in Q1 of 2020, at the onset of summer season when the demand of air conditioners increases. The startup is targeting to sell 2,000 units in the first season at a cost of roughly Rs25,000 per unit.
At this price, SolDrive claims that a consumer will be able to recover his investment in 10-months in savings, with 8-hour operations of the air conditioner in a day.
“Instead of buying a new air conditioner for Rs70-80,000, you can now purchase this device and save a lot. It has an advantage for consumers for sure. For companies, it has a benefit that since the ACs at offices are turned on at lower temperatures individually, it increases the costs for companies. All these devices that would be installed, they would sync and with one control, you can fix how much electricity they would use,” Amanullah Qazi, CEO of Moawin Facilities Management, told Profit.
Moawin Facilities Management is an integrated building maintenance solution provider for both commercial and residential clientele. Under the agreement with SolDrive, Moawin will be responsible for the installation of the device and a preliminary health check of the HVAC unit and the subsequent service/repair to make the unit perform at its optimal efficiency.
Dr Nauman Ahmad Zaffar told Profit that the initial work on the product started in 2014, it went through lab and beta testing in 2018, and in the summer of 2019, limited commercial rollout was done for the product as an early adopters programme.
“The main purpose of this was to test SolDrive in different types of scenarios and organisations and with different types of air conditioners to gauge the technical and commercial viability of the product,” he said.
“Our intention is to support energy startups like these. We are contributing not just to make this economical for consumers, this also has an environmental impact. That has its environmental impact. We are encouraging efficient use of resources and it works better than an inverter AC,” Amanullah Qazi said.