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Nitasha Badhwar – Eyeing Sustainability for a promising future

She leads the company from the front and here's looking at her vision and leadership mantra

Published: Dec 28, 2021 02:07:27 PM IST
Updated: Dec 28, 2021 02:28:31 PM IST

Nitasha Badhwar – Eyeing Sustainability for a promising futureNitasha is the Co-Founder & Chief Strategy Officer of Sunpower Renewables, a renewable energy solutions company with a mission to provide cost effective, long lasting, environment friendly and technology enabled energy storage solutions.

Nitasha is an entrepreneur and champion of sustainability solutions for a healthier and better future backed with innovative technology and products. She believes in the effectiveness of cleantech, stability and durability of renewable energy sources which benefit in the maintenance and endurance of the power economy. Nitasha advocates easy-to-use products that can accelerate the adoption of renewable energy across various industries and access to people.

Starting her entrepreneurial journey in the education sector, Nitasha has evolved in her career of more than two decades, as a leader in sustainable action to drive global changes for better living. She has been instrumental in setting up and leading multiple teams to deliver numerous renewable energy projects. As the Chief Strategy Officer at Sunpower Renewables, she leads a multidisciplinary team that thrives on delivering innovative and cutting-edge energy storage solutions ranging from last-mile products such as electric vehicle chargers and urban solar installations to large utility-scale projects focusing on solar and green hydrogen technologies.

What do you think is the single biggest challenge we are facing today?

One of the biggest challenges we face today is the diminishing health of our environment, and we have a limited amount of time to address this given the urgency of challenges such as climate change and biodiversity loss. If you look at the past 200 years, a series of industrial revolutions have radically improved the standard of living for human beings. But each past industrial revolution has borrowed from the future to pay for the present by achieving economic growth through the degradation of our planet’s health. Today’s technological revolution must break this pattern, and for the first time deliver sustainable green economic growth.

Technology is a game-changer in this space. It can enable our future systems to be more productive for the economy, and for our planet. But to create the kind of global action needed, sustainability needs to be more than a belief – it needs to be backed by data, by solutions, and by new partnerships.

What got you started in sustainability?

Sustainability is very personal for me. Climate change is affecting all of us - from the air that we breathe, to deforestation, biodiversity loss, displacement to how the economy works. It is said that it can wipe out up to 18% of the global GDP by 2050 and is no longer something that can be isolated from our everyday lives. Personally, as an ecopreneur and being a staunch advocate of sustainability, it would be great to witness some impactful changes to the environment and to facilitate that I have brought innovative solutions that address this energy gap. By the amalgamation of technology and artificial intelligence with solar, water, healthcare, and education, we can create that continuity within our economy - an economy that is energy efficient, sustainable, and more reliable for the long run.

How does your company and product contribute to sustainability?

I have always believed in providing sustainable solutions to make a meaningful impact to climate change. Globally, there is an energy crisis, and this is a huge market opportunity to innovate and introduce technology enabled products or solutions that allow everyone to contribute to building a greener future. Sunpower Renewables came into existence with the idea of providing cost effective, long lasting, environment friendly and technology enabled last mile energy storage solutions. A couple of decades ago, sustainable products were not embraced at the ground level due to a lack of awareness and commercial viability, even though there were voices about energy efficiency and its contribution to an economical and resilient renewable future. This was a roadblock to overcome as mindsets needed to change. The approach to that was to do in-depth research and develop ground-breaking products that could revolutionise the energy usage globally and assist in the wider adoption of alternate energy solutions. My approach was to stay focused despite these setbacks and pushback from the industries that are still heavily reliant on diesel. Today, we have reached power parity, so it is now a commercially viable option suitably buoyed by a greater awareness and urgency to act on climate change and energy replacement especially through forums like COP26.

Initially, we were looked at as a disruptor in this space rather than a start-up which worked in our favour because changing the energy ecosystem in India and international markets is happening through positive disruption. We continue to focus and emphasise more on research and innovation to accelerate the introduction of newer products that can bridge this gap without impacting daily lives; a seamless transition in the current energy consumption and generation market.

Since R&D serves as the backbone for Sunpower Renewables’ existence and the engine for all our innovations, we were delighted to be recognised as one of the most innovative companies in Australia and NZ in The Australian Financial Review (AFR) BOSS Most Innovative Companies. The company also won the 2021 Governor of Victoria Export Award for Sustainability (GOVEA 2021) and the Finder 2021 Innovation award for the Most Innovative social impact solution.

What is your vision for a sustainable future?

After a long time, we can make an economically positive shift towards renewables that will be good for the environment, and for mankind. I want to continue to introduce newer ways for the faster adoption of renewable and transformative products that can completely circumvent fossil fuel sooner rather than later. It is my belief that this is absolutely the right time to enable this transition actively. The uptake of these products will allow each person to contribute to lowering their carbon footprint and fuel cost. Each person taking this action for one year can bring about a paradigm shift in the energy and environmental crisis that we are facing today.

For a truly sustainable future we need more women to be involved in STEM, product innovation, and smart city development sectors. Women make up only 28% of the workforce in STEM. The industry will greatly benefit from a more diverse workforce.

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