Startups, Telenor Velocity

Meet Pakshine, a startup making solar power accessible for a common Pakistani

Written by Maryam Dodhy ·  2 min read >

Pakistan has an on-going, bitter feud with load shedding. Our current electricity-producing capacity of 24,857 MW fails to meet the demand resulting in persistent power outages. Since the late 2000s, when Pakistan was hit by the worst power crisis, the number of alternate power sources has risen a bit. Thereafter, sales of UPSs and generators have gone up considerably and remained popular alternate electricity sources for Pakistanis.

Roughly 18 million people use UPSs which amounts to approximately PKR. 30 billion expenditure of a Pakistani household on back-up power supplies. Over the past few years, however, the country has seen a growing trend towards shifting to solar power. In November 2016, it was announced that Pakistan is building the world’s largest solar park of 1000 megawatts capacity. The average citizen still does not have access to electricity generated via solar power. Pakshine is a young startup that aims to help people leverage solar power to their benefit.

Led by Jasim Sheikh, Pakshine is developing products which can help an ordinary Pakistani to power his home using sunlight. Their main product is the Hybrid SolarMax – a small device which converts a normal UPS into a hybrid. Hybrid SolarMax product was developed in collaboration with Electrical Engineering faculty at LUMS. The Hybrid SolarMax charges batteries using solar panels hence saving up on electricity used to charge the UPS batteries. After it is charged, the device then cuts off the grid supply and runs all devices connected to the UPS with electricity generated via solar power. The most interesting factor here is that the device uses Maximum Power Point Tracking (MPPT) which allows it to extract maximum energy from the solar panels. The entire apparatus costs roughly PKR 25,000. After installation, you can save up to PKR 2000 on monthly electricity bill.

Pakshine also has another product called the Solar EcoMax which is essentially a charge controller and is specifically used for charging batteries.

The Hybrid SolarMax costs PKR 25,000 and can help customers save up to PKR 2000 on their monthly electricity bill.

Other than selling and deploying their own products, Pakshine has also been involved in providing services to people interested in shifting their entire household appliances to solar energy. Customers make an upfront payment of PKR 500,000 for a 10 kVA system. The team at Pakshine then designs the system, procures the required items and installs the solar-powered system in households. Their services wing is relatively new and has so far served 5 customers and generated PKR 1.2 million revenues. Some other similar projects are in pipeline from their end too.

Pakshine also designs and deploys 10 kVA solar power systems. Their services wing has brought them a revenue of PKR 1 million.

Pakshine’s main motivation for joining Telenor Velocity was to tap into potential customers. Telenor has helped run multiple campaigns for Pakshine on their 40 million customer-base. These campaigns have brought over 500 interested customers. Furthermore, Velocity became a platform for Pakshine for securing invaluable guidance and mentorship. The startup has received highly encouraging response so far. Last September, a local company was interested in purchasing 500 units of the Hybrid SolarMax from them.

However, an expanding customer-base requires more efficient production. While the startup has been completely bootstrapped, they are now looking to raise a round of investment. A large chunk of this investment will go towards large-scale manufacturing of their products. The startup plans to perform all R&D and Marketing functions in Pakistan while the manufacturing will be outsourced from China.

For a swift market penetration, Pakshine plans to partner with local technicians and electricians for both selling and deploying their products to potential customers. The future looks bright for Pakshine and they aim at installing at least 100,000 Hybrid SolarMax units across Pakistan in the next 5 years.

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Written by Maryam Dodhy
I love bringing to light stories of extraordinary people working in Pakistan's tech and startup industry. You can reach out to me through Profile

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