Do you have a clean energy solution with transformative potential to drive climate action?

Innovations in Clean Energy

  • 20 start-ups
  • 4 focus areas
  • Opportunity to win access to innovation labs for prototyping, seed capital, techno-commercial pilot opportunity and market access support

Program Overview

Social Alpha Energy Challenge is back with its third edition as ‘Techtonic – Innovations in Clean Energy’.

Access to energy promotes economic growth, builds resilience and enhances the quality of life. To meet the exponentially growing energy needs of the planet and for making energy equitably accessible to all, it is critical to enhance efficiency in the entire energy lifecycle and invest in clean energy sources. Sustainable energy has the potential to transform lives, economies and the planet.

While the challenge invites renewable energy, energy efficiency and clean energy access solutions from all stages of the energy lifecycle, and across all use cases, there is a special focus on four themes this year – Energy for Livelihoods, Smart Energy Systems, Energy Storage and Thermal Comfort. We are looking for innovators and entrepreneurs with transformative technologies that have the potential to bring about deep and irreversible social and environmental impact.

Applications open for 'Innovations in Clean Energy'

Focus Areas

Ensuring energy access for poverty reduction

Farm and allied livelihoods

  • Energy-efficient Decentralized Renewable Energy (DRE) powered solutions for pre-harvest/ post-harvest/ water management/livestock management activities
  • Clean energy-based point of storage/ portable cold storage solutions across the value chain from farm to fork

Non-farm livelihoods

  • Clean energy based affordable livelihoods tools/solutions that reduce drudgery and improve working conditions and/or lead to increase in productivity and income


Making energy generation and consumption efficient, affordable and clean

Smart automation and power-system solutions

Solutions addressing challenges around:

  • High upfront cost of DRE
  • Inefficiencies, losses, theft in energy lifecycle (generation, transmission, distribution, consumption)
  • Unreliability and irregularity of energy sources/supply
  • High cost of edge of the grid solution
  • Demand and supply management/forecasting/predictability
  • Predictive maintenance issues
  • Enabling smart payments/financing/contracting

Making renewable energy applications more efficient, inexpensive and versatile

Energy storage solutions for grid, off-grid, edge of the grid, mobility and energy management applications

Solutions addressing challenges around:

  • High capex, opex and levelized cost of energy (LCOE)
  • Performance around efficiency, discharge and lifetime
  • High maintenance requirement
  • Range anxieties in mobility storage
  • Disposal and high environmental cost over the lifecycle

Solutions for disposal and reuse of batteries

Solutions addressing challenges around:

  • Second life use of batteries
  • Repurposing and recycling solutions

Enabling affordable space cooling and heating for all

Sustainable space cooling and heating solutions

Solutions addressing challenges around:

  • High upfront and operating costs of clean energy powered efficient heating/cooling solutions
  • Adverse health impact leading due to traditional unclean solutions
  • Unavailability of affordable efficiency control devices that could lead to reducing energy demand for HVAC making it more affordable
  • Lack of customised solutions to specific regional, climatic and community needs

Who can Apply

Pre-Pilot Category

( for mandatory physical incubation )

For innovation which needs support in physical prototype development and testing, and has a quick (less than 12 months) timeline for MVP; including:

  • Technology which is at a very early stage of development (lab/research), stage, but theoretical proof of concept exists or
    prototype has been designed but not built
  • Early Prototype exists and early testing is underway/planned
Post-Pilot Category

( for physical or virtual incubation )

For innovation looking for support primarily in product commercialization and Go-To-Market Strategy, which are:

  • At an advance stage of product development where prototype exists and at least one pilot has been carried out or proof of concept has been physically demonstrated
  • Pre-commercial/fully functional lab prototype with some testing and feedback from users exists
  • The product is ready and is already in the market and is looking for scale-up

Program Offerings



Early-stage start-up incubation at

Social Alpha-Atal Incubation Centre (SA-AIC)

  • Access to End-to-end prototyping lab
  • Shared CTO services
  • Mentorship
  • Credits worth 10L+ for availing incubation services


Advanced – stage start-up incubation at

Clean Energy International Incubation Centre(CEIIC)

  • Access to product testing and development labs
  • Shared CTO services
  • Mentorship
  • GTM support
  • Credits worth 10L+ for availing incubation services



Techno-Commercial Pilot Accelerator

  • Funded pilot/procurement by Tata Power/Tata Power-DDL worth upto 25L per startup
  • Technical mentorship and feedback by Tata Power team of experts

Supported by


SDG 7 Scale-up Accelerator

  • Work-order for scaled-up implementation from Social Alpha and Sustain Plus for upto 50L per startup
  • Access to Social Alpha’s implementation/grassroots partner and program network

Supported by


  • 5.
  • Seed Investment

  • Opportunity to pitch for seed capital (equity) upto 1Cr per startup to Social Alpha
  • Consideration for syndication in Social Alpha investor partners network


Important dates

  • Applications open

     February 15th, 2021
  • Last date to submit applications

    March 31st, 2021
  • Announcement* of winners

    June, 2021

*Evaluations of applications would be on a rolling basis


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