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|| Adapt to Thrive: An Energy Startup Reboots
||Engineering for Change (E4C)
|| Online Webinar
|| link to the event|
|| Husk Power Systems faced an existential crisis shortly after a meteoric rise to international fame. The company built minigrids powered by gasified rice husks that it shipped in from the farmlands in India where its customers lived. The crisis had three fronts. The energy company saw mounting competition from the Indian government’s rural electrification programs, customers came to demand more power than Husk’s plants were generating, and the once-high cost of solar power plumetted below the cost of power that Husk could produce in its gasifiers. The company’s upper management left one by one, and then a co-founder, Manoj Sinha, took the reins and deftly turned the company around.
Mr. Sinha negotiated a $20 million investment round headed by Shell Technology Ventures in 2018, then shuttered all of Husk’s plants that generated power strictly from gasifiers. Now Husk is building hybrid gasifier/solar plants that switch to gasifier energy when solar output does not meet demand. The arrangement is cheaper than storing power in batteries. The company provides a collective total of about 2MW of electricity to rural customers in India and Tanzania, with plans to expand to 30MW by 2022.
Mr. Sinha’s leadership and willingness to adapt hold lessons for startups and established companies under threat in the social enterprise sector. He joins Engineering for Change to present a webinar on his journey with Husk. He will answer questions and share lessons learned.