Tanya Singhal’s Journey: Pioneering Renewable Energy with SolarArise and Shaping a Carbon-Neutral Future with Mynzo Carbon

From transforming solar energy markets to leading the charge in carbon consciousness, Tanya Singhal shares insights on her entrepreneurial odyssey and commitment to sustainability.

1.       What inspired you to venture into the renewable energy sector, and how has your journey evolved over the years?

A.      In 2009, a few years into strategy consulting at the Boston Consulting Group, I attended a presentation which showed that a small box covering 7.5% of the desert on the map of India, once filled with solar panels was sufficient to power all of India! Awestruck by how powerful a force solar can be in solving our climate crisis, I followed my passion. I left my stable, flourishing consulting career and joined a solar-engineering firm to understand how solar could work in India. Four years later in 2014, I started my entrepreneurial journey and SolarArise was born with a vision to make solar prices at par, or even lower, than conventional power and make solar a sustainable power solution.

10 years later, after raising and deploying >2000 Rs Cr of capital to successfully build 7 solar plants totalling ~half a GW over ~1500 acres of land at sub-coal power prices, I could power >250,000 homes and reduce >600,000 tons of CO2 emissions/annum and today our assets are listed as a part of a trust on the London Stock Exchange. Solar is now cheaper than fossil fuels, and it’s the talk-of-the-town! Post the listing and my exit from SolarArise, continuing my passion for advancing carbon neutrality, I’m building Mynzo – MyNetZero – for climate consciousness through technology and AI, aiming to foster a low-carbon world and address the climate crisis.

2.       Can you share some key learnings from your experience in founding and leading SolarArise, especially its growth on the London Stock Exchange?

A.      SolarArise has been a full-on rollercoaster ride for me. Just like raising a child, for me, this has been a journey of grit and perseverance – there were times when things went completely off plan, we lost deals and investors said no…  but I never gave up and kept going. My family and co-founders unconditionally supported me and that further empowered me. My biggest learning is, nothing is impossible when you put your mind and heart to it and have the backing of your loved ones. I could achieve my original goal of making solar energy cheaper than coal and prove solar is no longer a CSR solution by listing the assets as a part of a trust on LSE and making multi-fold return for my investors.

3.       What motivated you to establish Mynzo Carbon, and how does it differentiate itself in the market?

A.      Even after decades of global negotiations, we are still at threat from this self-inflicted climate crisis and the 1.5-degree temperature rise target is bound to be breached. There is a lot we must all do, each of us, to move to a low-carbon world. While renewables will play a humongous path in this journey, in parallel my focus is now expanding to sensitizing and empowering individuals to become a part of this journey through technology solutions, working hand in hand with companies to accelerate our journey towards the NetZero goals.

Mynzo Carbon stemmed from this vision of sensitizing individuals and corporates towards carbon consciousness. It differentiates itself by leveraging technology like AI and IoT to measure, reduce and sequester carbon footprints, enabling personalized carbon neutrality solutions. I believe that sustainability is not just a choice, but a responsibility we all share towards the planet and future generations, and this urgency drives my passion. I’m privileged and have got so much from this planet; I must play my part in this responsibility.

4.       Could you elaborate on the technology behind MyNetZerO and its role in achieving carbon neutrality?

A.      Mynzo’s technology leverages cutting-edge algorithms and data analytics to automatically calculate an individual’s carbon footprint based on their activities. By utilizing phone’s inbuilt sensor data, we capture all the individual’s activities (without the need for any manual data entry), convert it into their carbon footprint & provide real-time, personalized insights. These emissions can be subdivided into Personal and Professional emissions, where the latter is then summed across an organization to give the organization’s employee emissions – which is a major part of their Scope 3 emissions. Our platform also delivers at-the-moment nudges, offering tailored recommendations and a way to build your own forest (assets and not offsets!) to help corporates, communities and individuals get to NetZero.

5.       How does Mynzo Carbon’s approach in creating a ‘climate identity’ contribute to the broader goal of carbon neutrality?

A.      You cannot reduce what you cannot measure. In order to take action, corporates & individuals need to have a clear understanding of their own carbon footprint. For Corporates their Scope 1, 2, 3 emissions, especially Scope 3 which are most difficult to measure and can be upto 90% of the total emissions. For Individuals, their personal contribution to climate change through their lifestyle choices, electricity consumption, and travel habits. Without knowing the problem and being able to measure it, it is difficult to effectively reduce or offset emissions. Knowing one’s climate identity enables to comprehend the magnitude of their contribution to climate change and empowers one to take subtle steps towards reducing their emissions, without drastically changing their business or lifestyle.

6.       Can you shed light on the concept of ‘My-Forest’ and its significance in the carbon recapture process?

A.      All plans to reach net zero will require a long-term plan to recapture carbon emissions. Reductions by changes in lifestyles and planned changes in infrastructure while will help reduce emission, they will not complete the whole net zero journey. To recapture emissions, Mynzo believes it is best to build long-term recapture assets, as opposed to purchasing one-time credits as an immediate transaction. Whatever can’t be reduced needs to be recaptured with assets, not offsets. Offsets were a creation of the regulatory framework to help ease the process of transition (and for some to delay it as much as possible). Instead, corporates & individuals should be building assets that take carbon out of the air. Within assets, focus on forests, not trees: The most insipid application of the ‘Offsets’ approach is planting trees (plant and forget). This has led to all the bad habits of greenwashing, ecology degradation, and lifestyle impact. Instead, a Forest approach creates a system that is appropriate for the local soil, history and environment and provides for improved livelihoods for local populations. This more holistic and long-term approach leads to better survivability and carbon recapture. Each corporate or individual can have their very own forest, with their name, that is planted and managed by Mynzo and its partners. Through a circular economy concept, the fruits of the plantation belong to the farmer who then ensure their longevity and carbon sequestered is assigned to the corporate / individual.

7.       Your commitment to empowering women in the industry is commendable. How do you envision these efforts making a lasting impact on the renewable energy sector?

A. I strongly believe it is a myth that Infrastructure is a man’s world. Maybe historically, by the sheer numbers, it has been a man’s world. But it’s no longer true.  Empowering women within the sector fosters inclusivity and diversity, breaking stereotypes, and inspiring a new generation of leaders. I have been to construction sites, worn hard hats, visited Chinese module factories, taken roles across the value chain and encouraged my female colleagues to do the same. I have been in board rooms full of men and yet never ever felt out of place! I have also been on the government industry panel, many times as the only young woman. Over the course of more than a decade, I have persevered in this journey as a woman leader in the industry and feel proud to inspire other women to join the space and make a difference.

8.       Could you share more about your involvement with Milaan and the role you play in empowering underprivileged adolescent girls pursuing professional excellence?

A.      Women in India have a really bright future. I serve as an independent director on the board of Milaan, an NGO supporting underprivileged adolescent girls who aspire to excel professionally. Along with maintaining supreme standards of Corporate Governance and financial accountability, I also have had multiple opportunities to coach and mentor the underprivileged adolescent girls. I want to share the same message I give them during my interactions – Be authentic, don’t be afraid to follow your passion. Dream big. Don’t put a gender bias to your dreams, or you would limit yourself. You must believe in your dream and be deliberate about it. It’s painful and tiring but you need to keep that vision going. The biggest challenge you face is the mindset. The mindset outside and the mindset with-in. The one within is more important to change.

9.       Your numerous accolades speak volumes about your contributions. How do these recognitions motivate you in your pursuit of sustainable solutions?

A.      In my opinion, recognitions are no measurement of the value and the impact of work one does. However, they do act as a fuel to my determination to drive meaningful change, pushing boundaries to create a more sustainable and inclusive world, especially in times of distress, when things aren’t going as planned!