Nikhil Jayaraj: Driving Perpetual Betterments for a Sustainable Future

Nikhil Jayaraj
Nikhil Jayaraj

Over the last ten years, researchers have focused on transformational leadership as being an effective leadership strategy to implement within public and private sector organizations. Transformational leaders work with their employees to implement change. These starlets create a vision for their followers and guide the change through inspiration and motivation.

They are excellent role models, and their followers emulate many of their actions. They also inspire by activating follower self-efficacy so that followers believe that they can go beyond expectations. Exhibiting these significant traits with proficiency, Nikhil Jayaraj has contributed immensely to enabling betterments with a resolute approach.

As the Managing Director at Regen Power, Nikhil stands at the helm of the enterprise and executes all the key decisions to formulate business strategies with his resilient business acumen.

Under his leadership, Regen Power has been enabling and empowering communities by making them energy efficient. Its 200 MW solar installations produce clean and green 800,000 units of electricity per day which is equivalent to burning 111 million kg of coal or planting 6 million trees every year to compensate for carbon emissions. While enabling a plethora of innovations and going ahead for perpetual betterment, Nikhil says, “I feel I have been to space and back and want to go further.”

In an exclusive interview with CIOLook, Nikhil sheds light on his journey as a business leader while highlighting the challenges he faced along the way.

Below are the excerpts from the interview:

Brief our audience about your journey as a business leader until your current position at Regen Power. What challenges have you had to overcome to reach where you are today?

My journey at Regen power has been both exciting and vindicating. I entered as a Sales and Marketing Specialist in 2010 and slowly developed my profile to Business Development Manager in 2012. I was handling solar retailing for residential, commercial, and off-grid markets in 2014 after being promoted to Senior Sales Executive.

By this time, I had identified key problems vis-a-vis business such as a judicious business idea, funding, onboarding like-minded people acquiring a conducive location, targeting customers, keeping up with the technology and coming up with tactics for beating the competition, dealing with dynamic rules and orders, and above all, tackling unforeseen challenges and expenses.

Tell us something more about your company and its mission and vision.

We live in a world where energy dependence has been twisting the scales, and its toll is borne by the common man. I want Regen to be the leading provider of sustainable energy solutions, powering a cleaner and brighter future and tipping the scales in favour of the less fortunate.

To feed my vision, we have converted it to our mission which is to design, install and maintain high-quality solar energy systems that provide clean, affordable, and reliable power to homes and businesses. I have pledged to make renewable energy accessible to everyone, even in the remotest part of the earth.

Enlighten us on how you have impacted the renewable energy niche through your expertise in the market.

Our business is to save future generations to face the brunt of incessant fossil fuel combustion and make them self-reliant in energy. We have enabled developing nations of Asia by installing solar farms of 155 MW capacity.

Regen spends $400,000 annually on R & D to materialise our idea of sustainability. Regen Academy courses, which saw 1000 registrations within 2 months of launch, are designed to equip the workforce with skills relating to renewable energy.

Describe in detail the values and the work culture that drives your organization.

Regen Power is a company driven by its mission to accelerate the transition to sustainable energy. This mission is reflected in its core values, which include, prioritising customers, sustainability, novel solutions, transparency and making products better. We believe in challenging ourselves and consider ourselves our bigger competitors. Everyone at Regen is fueled with the rigour of revolutionising the renewable energy industry with their breakthrough research and development, be it product development or customer retention.

The company’s work culture is fast-paced, innovative, and results-oriented. Employees are encouraged to take risks, think outside the box, and work collaboratively to achieve the company’s mission. There is also a strong emphasis on continuous learning and personal development, with opportunities for growth and advancement within the organisation. Overall, Regen’s values and work culture are designed to drive innovation and bring sustainable energy solutions to the market as quickly and effectively as possible.

Undeniably, technology is playing a significant role in almost every sector. How are you leveraging technological advancements to make your solutions resourceful?

Tesla, Huawei preferred partner and ISO 9001:2015 certified, Regen Power primarily deals in residential, commercial and off-grid solar energy solutions. In addition to installing rooftop solar or solar farms, we provide ancillary solutions as well. The company offers  EV charging, PV design software, solar charge controller, wind turbines, and solar battery storage.

We have patented HybridGen, a generator that runs on solar, battery and wind aims at energy conservation and helped Regen to win the Sustainable Energy Association Awards 2011. Regen’s patented technology—Regen Microgrid—runs standard diesel or gas generators in both variable speed mode and fixed mode. Regen Microgrid provides reliable 24/7/365 power with maximum renewable penetration and minimum diesel or gas consumption. Our analytics are run on Microsoft Powered BI. We try to align our solutions with contemporary technologies.

What, according to you, could be the next significant change in the renewable energy sector? How is your company preparing to be a part of that change?

World Economic Forum says that renewable energy would replace fossil fuels by 2050. If I talk solely about solar energy, the struggle is to make more efficient solar cells. The University of Toledo and the University of Toronto have reportedly made a silicon-free solar cell that is equally efficient.

I read in a paper that researchers are developing a bio-solar cell with cyanobacteria. Japanese researchers are working on transmitting solar energy from space to earth. The possibilities are endless and constantly changing. We are closely keeping an eye on these breakthroughs and our R&D team is persistently working on orienting these with our solutions.

Where do you envision yourself to be in the long run, and what are your future goals for Regen Power?

The concept of producing 100% clean and green energy seems far too recondite to the general populace today. I want to introduce disruptive technology that makes it executable and real.

With this, I see Regen Power becoming a leading solar energy solutions provider and electricity retailer in Australia. Right now, we have an 8% market share in WA, and we want to expand our presence in other states.

Our analytics have projected to grow exponentially for the next 5 years with a growing 500% installation rate. Through Regen academy, we are negotiating with 20 companies to design a course on solar energy to allow people to add a skill, make conscious choices and become employable.

What would be your advice to budding entrepreneurs who aspire to venture into the renewable energy sector?

A silkworm has to try hard to come out of its cocoon and start its journey as a fly. It is tough to advise someone else when it comes to entrepreneurship. Everyone has their own journey, challenges, discovery and flight.

However, before starting, there are some things that one should keep in mind, both altruistically and practically. Formulate a business plan around your idea and brainstorm it multiple times. You will come up with something new every time. Identify that you want to sell a product or a service and classify your target customers.

Be your own critic but be open to suggestions. It is important to weigh what you are offering with existing competition. The market is dynamic. Therefore, you have to be flexible and adapt quickly.

A Staunch Leadership

Nikhil has added many accolades to his name. He is the winner of the Business News ‘40 Under 40 Awards WA 2020’. AsiaOne Magazine has recognised him as Most Influential Young Leaders 2021- 2022.

He was the finalist in the ‘Managing Director of the year’ category in The CEO Magazine’s Executive of the Year Awards 2022.   and In the year 2019, Nikhil was the finalist in the ‘Young Entrepreneur Category’ in Belmont and Western Australian Business Award 2019.

He was also ranked in the Top 10 Indian Leaders in Australia 2022 by CEO Insight magazine. He wants Regen Power to become a leading solar energy solutions provider and electricity retailer in Australia. Regen Power has a 8% market share in WA, and it is gradually expanding its residential, commercial, and off-grid markets and solar farm project operations to cover eastern states.

They have footprints in NSW, QLD, SA, VIC. He is a staunch believer of the Gandhian philosophy of ‘commerce with morality. Therefore, he tries to give back to the community as much as possible. For instance, Regen has provided internship opportunities to more than 50 engineering graduates/students over the last 10 years under his guidance.

Regen’s Achievements under Nikhil’s Resolute Leadership

Regen Power has not looked back since Nikhil became an executive member and shareholder in 2016. The company’s annual revenue generation was $5 million which has grown six-fold now. The company has grown as a brand. After some initial hiccups and trial and error, Nikhil has helped it to become one of the fastest-growing companies in Australia.

In the past six years, Regen achieved a remarkable growth of 500% in sales and revenue. From a turnover of $5M in 2015-2016, we have increased revenue to Approx. $30M in 2021-2022. The profit margin grew over 1000% during this period.

  • For the last three years (2020, 2021, 2022), Regen is ranked in the ‘Top 500 High Growth Companies in Asia Pacific’ by Financial Times which is one of the most prestigious recognitions.
  • Winner of ProductReview Awards 2021, 2022 & 2023, 3 times in a row for receiving the highest 5-star reviews in the solar retailer category
  • Regen has experienced 600% growth in just six short years i.e., $5 million in 2016 to $30 million approx in 2022 and 1000% growth in Net profit
  • Ranked as ‘55th Fastest Growing Company in Australia’ by Financial Review in 2020, based on the last 3 years’ performance growth.
  • Won ‘Rising Star Award 2019’ from Business News under People Choice Category
  • Winner of ‘Belmont & WA Awards’ under the category ‘Business Management’ in 2019, ‘Sustainability’ in 2021 and ‘Enterprise of the Year’ in 2022.
  • Finalist in ‘Australian Technologies Competition 2014’ and semi-finalist 2019 for our patented product called “HybridGen”
  • In 2019, Regen became “TESLA Certified Installer” and in 2021 partnered with Huawei.
  • Regen is a strategic partner with Curtin University & University of Tasmania. Regen was awarded $326,000 for working on Research and Development Projects by Curtin in 2015 and $404K by the University of Tasmania in 2019. Pioneering solar energy projects
  • Until 2022-Supplied and installed rooftop commercial solar systems from 6 – 100kW with more than 2000 completed installations.
  • Until 2022- Supplied and installed rooftop residential solar systems from 1kW – 6kW with more than 40000 completed installations.
  • 2021- Established ‘Regen Solar Academy’ where people can learn about solar installation, earn a certificate and increase their employability.
  • 2019-Designed, tested and pre-commissioned the first 50MW Solar Farm Project in Vietnam.
  • 2017-Consortium Partner – designed, supplied and installed the first 500kW floating solar power system project in India.
  • 2016-Participated in the engineering design and procurement of a 5MW solar farm project in Malaysia.
  • 2016- Supplied and installed a 40kW solar-diesel hybrid system for Balladonia Roadhouse/Motel in Western Australia.
  • 2014-Supplies containerised solar hybrid system for BHP Billiton – one of the largest mining companies in the world.
  • 2014-Supply and installation of a 30kW solar-diesel hybrid system for a remote mining site in Western Australia.