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Wednesday, February 28, 2024

How Karan Chopra quit his TCS job to build Rs.14 cr Chirayu Power solar business

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Karan Chopra quit his job at TCS and abandoned a LED business to venture into the solar solutions sector. He now runs Chirayu Power, a Rs.14 crore solar business.

Karan Chopra’s determination and desire to achieve something on his own led him first to quit a high-paying job at TCS. Karan also abandoned a LED business he then started, as it was not doing well, and he was looking for new business opportunities.

He became interested in solar energy and established a solar installation firm, which has since expanded to become Chirayu Power Private Limited, a Rs 14 crore turnover company.

Karan is a successful entrepreneur today at Khamgaon in Buldhana district of Maharashtra.

He completed his engineering in IT from Vivekanand College, Chembur in Mumbai, where he was born into a middle-class family.

Karan’s father owns a company that crushes cotton seeds to extract the oil and then sells the oil to refineries. The unit is sited near Khamgaon’s industrial region, where Karan also operates Chirayu Power.

Karan joined TCS in Mumbai as a programmer after finishing his engineering degree in 2009. Despite securing a nice position with a salary of Rs 6 lakh per year, he was set on leaving after a year.

Karan explains his choice to leave TCS by saying, “Because everyone in my family is in business, I too wanted to be an entrepreneur and never wanted to work for anyone.”

He returned to Khamgaon and joined his father’s company. Karan realised after a few years that there was nothing for him to accomplish at his father’s unit.

According to Karan, “it was a more mechanical job and I couldn’t think of anything to add to it. It operated in the traditional manner. I made the decision that I needed to accomplish something on my own.”

Karan saw that the LED lighting business in India was expanding in 2014, with customers preferring LED lights over incandescent lights. He got some samples from a few local producers and started selling them.

“I used to gather two to three samples and walk around the Khamgaon industrial region,” Karan adds.

I was able to sell anywhere from five to 10 pieces per month. In a year, Karan earned approximately Rs 60,000 through dealing in LED lights. He went from an annual salary of Rs 6 lakh at TCS to Rs 60,000 in a year.

Karan pondered returning to a corporate job several times in order to make more money, but he never gave up. When Karan first went out on his own, he made it plain that he would not take a penny from his family.

He noticed that the solar power sector was flourishing in 2015. Karan spent six months researching solar energy.

Around this time, one of his father’s friends agreed to let him build a Rs. 30,000 solar power system.

Karan’s first endeavour was a video game. Soon after, he began to perform many OEM projects for various renewable energy companies, gaining valuable knowledge. Based on his credentials, he began receiving minor residential and commercial jobs by the end of 2015.

In 2016, Karan converted his sole proprietorship into a private limited corporation, Chirayu Power Pvt. Ltd. It was the first company in Buldhana to be registered as a Government of India (Ministry of New and Renewable Energy – MNRE) channel partner.

In 2016, Karan received his first large client, Buldhana Urban Bank, with a Rs 5 million project.

He says as it faced load-shedding issues, the bank liked his presentation. The bank then offered Karan the project to install a 5 KW battery backup solution.

At the time, no bank in the Buldhana district had gone solar. Karan won the project after convincing them of how the system would work and assuring them that it would function properly. Karan was then awarded another bank project in Shirpur, Dhule district, for a 10 KW grid-connected solution.

Karan says there was no turning back after that, and Chirayu Power is now aiming for a Rs 28 crore turnover in the current fiscal year. Karan also intends to enter the battery manufacturing and trade business.

Even the Covid-19 pandemic proved beneficial to Karan’s business. He claims that the pandemic was a godsend for them because everyone had to work from home and he presented his solutions over Zoom sessions.

Aside from installing solar power systems, the company also trades solar panels. Chirayu Power builds solar system buildings in Khamgaon, but panels and inverters are imported.

Chirayu Power, which has offices in Hyderabad, Mumbai, and Pune, is now a well-known solar energy EPC firm in Maharashtra, with over 250 clients.

Karan now oversees a 100-person team of civil engineers, electrical engineers, and sales and marketing staff.

Chirayu Power made Rs10 lakh in revenue in 2015-16. Since then, the company has grown at a rate of 100 percent per year. For 2021-2022, they estimate a revenue of Rs 28 crore.

Karan Chopra has a 5-year-old daughter. His wife Monal Chopra is also a director in the company


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