Interview by Anobik Saha
Akshay Makar, CEO and Founder of Solar Thermal Start-up, Climatenza, is living his dream to change the world by bringing electricity using solar power to rural communities across developing countries in Africa and Latin America. Akshay built on this dream by pursuing his love for Environment Sustainability and Energy Efficiency and presently moving mountains to make a dent in the world of climate change. Read on to learn more.
Hello Akshay, thanks for taking out the time to speak with us. Can you please introduce yourself to the readers of Indspire Me?
I am the Founder and CEO of CLIMATENZA, a Solar Thermal Start-up harnessing the power of Solar Energy to generate 24 hours of Clean energy and Electrify Rural Communities across Developing Countries.
I completed my education in Mechanical Engineering from IP University, Delhi. During my education, I discovered my love for Environment Sustainability and Energy Efficiency. I have written two research Papers related to Climate change and Sustainability and I’m currently writing a Science Fiction book on Climate Change.
The vision of Climatenza is to use Clean Power in Non-Metallic Industries including Cement and Metal Industry, which accounts for the second largest Producer of Global Green House Gases.
As a result of my dedication and Passion for Environment and creating Impact, I was awarded with Top 100 Young Leaders Award, India(2017)| 25-under-25 Award, Internet (2017) Society, USA| and Environment Care Award, India(2016).
What is the story behind starting Climatenza?
I was motivated with the fact that we can create a better future for us and for future generations. After reading more than 11 books and watching Documentaries related to condition of Electricity across the world, we decided to help minority communities , including the Rural regions in Sub-Sahara Africa and South East Asia to provide electricity using Concentrated Solar thermal Technology. This helped us to scale up our team on 3 continents and we are currently present in India, Chile and Uganda.
What is Climatenza’s association with the Government of Chile? Why Chile out of all the countries?
Over the years, external and Innovation ministry of Chile, CORFO, has supported the Innovative Start-Ups that have breakthrough ideas, a strong team and passion to bring about rapid change in society. CORFO invited us to Chile with a vision to accelerate the deployment of Solar CSP Solution.
Solar CSP depends on the Geographical Location of the place. Atacama and Antofegesta region in the North of Chile are best suitable for our technology. In fact, the Atacama dessert is the driest region over the Planet. In order to more about why Chile is suitable for the deployment of the Solar CSP solution, you can check out this article.
Can you tell us more about your engagement with the Government of Uganda?
The total Population of Africa willquadruple to about 4 Billion people by 2100, driving the total Global Population past 11 Billion. Producing the energy that all the people will use could obliterate any efforts we are now making to battle Climate change.
However, Africa’s population explosion is also a tremendous opportunity, because all the Power plants where people will get all of their electricity from haven’t been built yet.
This means we are now being presented with a once-in-the-lifetime shot to make our planet’s fastest growing region embrace the future of Clean Renewable energy. This is why we decided to enter the Uganda market and currently have a team present in Uganda lead by Mr. Bernard, is focused on creating a partnership with the Ministry of Mineral and Energy, Mining and the Environment. We are focused on creating a small beta of Power plant to electrify a small village as part of our beta stage.
How do you plan to execute your vision of ‘electrifying’ Africa?
The Beta Project is divided into four phases. We are currently setting up key partnerships in the region and pre-assessment studies are getting started. Phase 2 is termed as Project Definition Stage where all the key studies will be made. Phase 3 consists of the EPC where Engineering, Procurement and the Construction work will be performed and finally the Operation stage where a small rural village will be Electrified. Our Vision is to Introduce solar power into the Global market with maximum economic, Social and Environmental Rewards.
What are the challenges in rolling out and expanding the use of solar energy in India?
Solar power in India is a fast developing industry. The country’s solar installed capacity reached 20 GW in February 2018. India’s initiative of 100 GW of solar energy by 2022 is an ambitious target, since the world’s installed solar-power capacity in 2017 is expected to be 303 GW. Without any doubt the Indian Market is our key Market and as ambitious as our target is, we aim to make it a reality. No doubt that the Solar PV has exploded with full capacity but Solar CSP isn’t way behind according to our scientists. The cost has been reduced 50% within 2017 and it’s highly interesting to see how much reduction CSP could get in coming the upcoming two years. Policies will play a crucial role in the implementation of Solar CSP in India.
Where do you see Climatenza five years from now?
The plan is to scale up in 3 major markets on our radar in the next three years. This includes Chile, India and Uganda. Also, as you mentioned “Electrifying Africa” is the heart of our venture. Therefore, we expect to scale up in other parts of Sub-Saharan Africa in the coming years.
Do you have any advice for someone who wants to follow his/her passion and create something like Climatenza?
As I always say, do what you love. Many a times, the individual’s confusion is due to his or her peers. I was confident enough that what I breathe for is the betterment of humanity using Technology as a tool. Many odds are always there on the path of success but you require a motivator who could motivate you to go ahead. In my case, Luckily my Late Grand Father was the motivator and my mentor who always tried to push me.
Find that one person, a mentor, a friend or your mother who will help you to break the stereotypes and reach towards Goal. Good Luck.
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Anobik is passionate about his purposeful work as a digital marketing professional at a U.S.-based leadership tech development start-up. In the past, his intellectual pursuits led him to explore several domains that include working as a graphic designer, freelance writer, proscenium theatre artist and learning French. After work hours, he dedicates time to his lo-fi music production and prepping for the next trek in the Himalayas. His recent trysts with meditation and yoga now take up most of his headspace, pondering over and learning about the boundaries of human potential, breakthroughs in neuroscience and emotional intelligence. His favorite movies are Into the Wild, Frances Ha and Valley Uprising.