My interest in renewable energy began in 2012 when I taught environmental science to children in a slum community in Mumbai. I quickly learned that my students’ most pressing challenge was the lack of access to natural light in their homes. This inspired me to start a social venture called Jal Jyoti, where we used old recycled plastic bottles, water and the power of physics (refraction!) to create a clean source of light that is equivalent to a 55-watt bulb. Over the span of 2 years, Jal Jyoti illuminated over 160 families in Mumbai, leading to an average monthly saving of 25% on a household electricity bill. Our organization won two international awards, and I was invited to speak about my experience at TEDxUPComillas in Madrid in 2014 (the talk can be found here).
I was chosen as one of 25 Young World Future Energy Leaders to participate in the World Future Energy Summit hosted by Masdar in Abu Dhabi. Here, I learned that renewables such as solar were already the key to providing energy access even in developing countries. A 10 day research trip in China sponsored by Tsinghua University confirmed this hypothesis. We interviewed solar developers and manufacturers to better understand how the Chinese solar market works, and I was fascinated to learn how another developing country could incorporate renewables into its energy mix so quickly.
Over summer 2016, I worked at the Evergreen Innovation Group (EIG), the EPC arm of DPR construction. I analysed the energy storage market and crafted potential strategies for EIG to enter the space as a specialized EPC. Through this engagement I learned about innovative new storage technologies and financial models for ancillary grid applications: this excited me about the immense potential of energy storage – especially for behind-the-meter applications.
I’m currently a second-year Master of Environmental Management student at the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, and I’m specializing in both Energy and the Environment and Business and the Environment. My coursework at Yale revolves around how U.S. corporates and utilities can cost-effectively shift to renewable energy. As a Research Associate at the Clean Energy Finance Forum (CEFF) – run by the Yale Centre for Business and the Environment – I write about trends in developing renewables in emerging economies.
I’m excited to continue to explore how to effectively catalyse private investment in renewables in a mature energy market so that I can apply those learnings in India at some point down the line! Connect with me on LinkedIn.