This Inverted Canopy recycles water (& then generates solar energy too)

Thu, 2016-06-23 11:00 -- SCC India Staff

Ulta Chaata

Small interventions and relatively cost-effective innovations are the need of the hour in present times. So far, approaches towards sustainability have focussed on innovative ways to recycle water and generate solar energy.

A Mumbai-based green technology start-up, Thinkphi, has come up with an integrated innovation which helps to recycle water as well as generate solar energy.

The company’s inverted canopy structure, called ‘Ulta Chaata’ lets you harvest rainwater, and in the dry months works as a solar panel, that can light homes, factories or businesses.

How it works
Each unit of the inverted canopy or Ulta Chaata has the capability to harvest and filter up to 100,000 litres of water during the rainy season. Along with a maximum solar capacity of 1.5 kW, the product also includes a lighting system which provides various levels of programmable lighting options and a mobile charge unit, thereby making it a completely self-sustaining installation for the outdoors.

Lighting stays on for four to five days from a single solar charging. The unit also provides potable quality drinking water through an inbuilt filter. A central operating system monitors and captures data, and allows users to communicate with a cluster of units over the cloud. It is also Internet of Things-enabled, to collect useful environmental data.

The company has also filed multiple global patents on design and utility which smartly converge water harvesting and renewable energy. These solutions can be effectively deployed for Smart Cities, industries or large campuses.

Thinkphi claims that these inverted canopy structures can be used in harsh environments for over 20 years. Using intelligent engineering, the company has simplified maintenance costs to a bare minimum.

As far as generating solar energy is concerned, the company’s clean energy add-on module utilises the full area of the structure with high efficiency mono-crystalline silicon panels. The panels are lightweight and flexible to withstand high wind conditions. The power output is used for powering the integrated LED system and connecting third-party components such as battery backups, charge stations for mobile phones, computers, or electric vehicles.



  • Standard 75 mm underground water piping
  • 100 mm concrete slab required for anchor fasteners

Live Lighting

  • Self-powered RGB lighting system
  • Options of manual and ambient light sensor
  • GSM-enabled control systems

Filtration Technology

  • Patented multi-layer physical filtration system (200 -1 micron)
  • UV-based potable water convertor system, available as a plug-in

PV Modules

  • Customised high-efficiency lightweight mono-crystalline solar modules
  • Power capacity: 100 W - 1.75 kW

Harvesting Capacity

  • Varies with size and geographic location
  • Approx 48,000-108,000 litres per canopy, annually


  • External grade, flame-retardant polyester membrane with 10-year warranty

Water Quality

  • Below 10 NTU
  • Meets WHO standards for potable water

Wind Tolerance

  • Up to 100 km/h


  • SS & MS components with triple-layer corrosive protection

Summary of benefits

  • Multipurpose alternative to conventional shade structures that do not have a payback
  • Green Building Certification points through rainwater harvesting, renewable energy generation and mitigation of heat island effect
  • Low site disruption and can be plugged into an existing or new site seamlessly
  • Captures rainwater in its purest form
  • Patented integrated filtration chamber provides water quality below 10 NTU
  • Contains no chemicals (and is BPA-free) and uses no batteries for water filter
  • Low maintenance effort which can be carried out by onsite facilities management staff
  • Integrated solar capacity of up to 1.75 kW with an external connection to an inverter
  • Integrated LED fixtures provide self-sufficient lighting through solar technology
  • Higher solar energy yield per square foot through highly optimised structures which use minimal ground area and maximum elevated area for solar absorption
  • Compliant with government scheme 80-IA for Accelerated Depreciation benefit
  • Compliant as spending under CSR initiatives
  • Life of steel and tensile structures are over 10 years

Fund-raising plans
The company has so far has raised an angel round of funding from serial entrepreneur Nimmagadda Prasad. The funds are likely to be utilised towards expanding operations and to build up the research & development team. In addition, the company wants to strengthen its sales and distribution activities too. Thinkphi plans to stay asset light and focus on product design, material selection, and manufacturing. With further innovation and R&D, the company hopes to launch future products around energy-saving devices and consumer waste management.

The price of each unit starts at Rs 99,000 and varies according to the capacity of the product. Thinkphi will start selling the product actively from September and aims to sell 200 units. The start-up aims to launch another product by the end of 2017 and will set up offices in Singapore and the US.