To know more about the Challenge, we request you to go through our frequently-asked-questions (FAQs) section:


  • Who can apply?

    SAEC 2.0 is looking for individuals, institutions and start-ups with energy solutions that are technologically innovative and have the potential to create impact, scale across locations and demonstrate business model sustainability.

  • In which category am I eligible to apply?

    Applicants are requested to select the most appropriate category based on the development stage/technology readiness level of your product/idea/research. TRL 1 to 4 need to apply to the Pre-pilot category and TRL 5 onwards need to apply to the Post-pilot category. Please select the category carefully since both the application forms will have some unique questions.

    TRL 1 – There are paper studies to support the technology’s basic properties.
    TRL 2 – Technology concept / application formulated
    TRL 3 – Proof of Concept stage / Active R&D has been initiated. This includes analytical studies and laboratory studies to physically validate the analytical predictions of separate elements of the technology.
    TRL 4 – Basic technological components have been integrated to establish that they work together.
    TRL 5 – Technology has been put together and can be tested in a simulated environment.
    TRL 6 – Prototype is being tested in simulated operational environment or in a high-fidelity laboratory environment.
    TRL 7 – Actual system prototype is near completion or ready and has been demonstrated in an operational environment or is at pilot level
    TRL 8 – Technology is proven and developed but not yet operational or applied anywhere.
    TRL 9 – Technology has been applied in its final form and is operational

  • What happens if I apply to the wrong category?

    In case you apply to the wrong category we will shift you to the right category based on your product’s stage of development. However, you may have missed some questions that had to be answered as a part of the correct category since both the application forms have certain unique questions. So, you are advised to please choose carefully.

  • Is there any preference for an innovation?

    Applicants are encouraged to submit applications for tech-based innovations that solve a real-world challenge in the clean energy ecosystem. Innovations can be a product or a service but must be aligned to the focus areas outlined in the program. There is a preference for tech-based innovations that have a high social impact potential.


  • What is the structure of the program?

    The program is cohort-driven; however, the durations will vary based on the needs of the start-up and the pilot partner they would be working with. As part of the cohort there shall be opportunities to attend seminars and sessions organized by the Social Alpha ecosystem and its partners. Also, interspersed through the program shall be opportunities to interact with external stakeholders, funders and mentors from within the Social Alpha Network. Program structure details will be shared in advance with winners.

  • What is the duration of the program?

    The incubation program is typically 6-18 months long; however, it will vary from case to case based on the needs of the incubatees. Incubatees supported at the pre-pilot stage, will also have the opportunity to move to the pilot stage upon successful completion of milestones and may continue to receive incubation support for a longer duration.

  • What are the benefits I can avail from the program?

    Winners will receive an incubation programme covering one or many of the following depending on their need's assessment. All the winners will have access to the Clean Energy International Incubation Centre.

    Access to world-class lab infrastructure & test beds, technical advisory & mentorship support for R&D

    Support in product development, assistance with designing, rapid prototyping and design for manufacturing

    Opportunity to implement techno-commercial pilots with industry and sector leaders such as Tata Power, Tata Power DDL

    Potential to access grant funding and implement projects on the ground in the Tata Trusts network

    Hands on operational support, business mentorship and go-to-market strategic advisory for commercial grade product development

    International exposure and collaboration opportunities, especially in the Mission Innovation countries

    Potential opportunity to access Social Alpha’s seed support; and facilitated access to a large investor and donor network

    Access to shared office space with amenities and shared support services such as those for accounting, compliance, taxation, legal, IP

  • Do I have to be physically present for any cohort-based sessions?

    As part of the program, there may be a requirement to attend certain sessions in person. The incubatees will be required to attend the orientation launchpad, and other relevant workshops and events during the incubation period, unless there is a pre-communicated genuine and unavoidable reason for absence. Any incubatee who is missing most of the programme will not only lose the actual benefits of their selection, but also may be reconsidered for continuing with the program.

  • Is the mentoring paid or free?

    Mentoring is a part of the continuous engagement with the winners of the Social Alpha Energy Challenge. While some mentor support, particularly from the internal ecosystem, comes pro-bono as a part of the incubation services, however some mentors and their advisory support may have a notional or actual cost, which may be paid in lieu of the free credits earned by the SAEC winners. Participation in specialized/additional events could be subject to a nominal fee.

  • How frequently will Social Alpha interface with the winners during the program?

    There will be regular interface between the winning teams and the Social Alpha program implementation team. Each start-up will be allocated a portfolio manager to help with customized requests who will continually and regularly engage with the start-ups. Pre-pilot category winners will receive even more hand-on support from Social Alpha.


  • Will I be eligible to receive funding by Social Alpha upon selection?

    This will be determined on a case-to case basis. Some amongst the winners of the SAEC 2.0 might be considered for follow-on funding by the Social Alpha Energy Challenge committee, subject to due diligence.

  • Can I find other funding partners for investments?

    Yes, the winning start-ups can find other funding partners.


  • What are the important dates to remember during the selection process?

    Launch Date/ Application Start Date: April 26, 2019

    Application Deadline: June 30, 2019

    Announcement of Finalists: August 16, 2019

    Pitch to Grand Jury: September 5, 2019