Chris Sacca’s Lowercarbon doubles down on a startup racing to bring solar panels to rooftops in India.
SolarSquare said Thursday it has raised $13 million in a Series A funding round led by Lowercarbon and Elevation Capital, just months after securing seed funding. Existing backers Good Capital, Rainmatter, Better Capital and social commerce Meesho founders Vidit Aatrey and Sanjeev Barnwal also joined the round.
Even as India continues to add solar generating capacity, there is a large population of the South Asian nation — the individuals — that have yet to join the clean energy cart.
Less than 0.5% of Indian homes have solar panels on their roofs. Such a slow approval could dampen Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ambitious renewable energy target. SolarSquare, which sells, installs and helps individuals finance solar panels, has an ambitious plan to change that. The startup also supplies its solar solutions to housing associations and commercial institutions.
sun square says it has solarized nearly 5,000 homes in India in the past two years, saving them about $480 a year on their electricity bills and offsetting four tons of carbon emissions.
SolarSquare, which focused on serving the customer segment two years ago after years of running a profitable business that sells rooftop solar to businesses, currently generates revenue of $12 million a year, said Shreya Mishra, co- founder and chief executive of SolarSquare, in an interview with australiabusinessblog.com.
“We are on our way to becoming a full-stack roof solution provider. The market opportunity is so great that you can imagine the confidence a middle-class homeowner must have to make a purchase of that magnitude. We innovate in every aspect of solar installations to serve our customers,” she said.
The average ticket size of a solar module purchase is about 2 lakh Indian rupees, or $2,410. SolarSquare also helps customers with financing options through a network of partners. Mishra said she sees the startup getting a license to operate its own non-bank financial institution to provide better options for its customers within a year.
“Solar as a product purchase pays for itself. It is in contrast to a product such as your refrigerator, for example, which is a cost item. Once you have solar panels installed on your roof, you will start saving each month. An investment of 2 lakh will result in a saving of 12 lakh to 14 lakh in 25 years. But there’s a high initial investment, so once we realized that, it’s clear we need to offer customers more financing options,” she said.
SolarSquare – which currently has a presence in Bengaluru, Delhi, Gujarat, Hyderabad, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra – installs its solar panels within hours, compared to some older companies that take up to five days. In some houses, at the request of customers, it builds raised structures for mounting panels. The startup plans to expand across India with the new funding.
“Solar energy is now much cheaper and cleaner than digging up and burning old dinosaur bones, so it just makes sense to put it on your roof, especially in a part of the world with as much sun as India,” Sacca said in a statement. declaration. “But installing panels was not always easy. We supported Shreya, Neeraj and Nikhil for cracking the code for hassle-free rooftop solar.”
Indian companies stepping into Indian homes will help the South Asian country’s renewable energy goal. Coal currently powers 70% of India’s electricity generation, but Modi has promised that by 2030 India will produce more energy through solar and other renewable energy sources than the entire electricity grid.
It has taken steps to help startups like SolarSquare. New Delhi offers grants to homeowners powered by rooftop solar, allowing them to distribute the excess power they generate to the grid during the day and use the grid at night.
Mishra praised New Delhi’s efforts on climate change, saying: “India is the first country in the world to make net metering, this exchange of electricity, a consumer right that makes the economy more viable because you can freely trade electricity with the grid. More than 80% of our homes meet 100% of their electricity needs in this way.”
“Net metering is a policy in many parts of the world. In India it is a right. A policy is something that can be revised every few years, but a right is a right that sticks. This is one of the reasons why we have become so optimistic about serving the residential solar market in India. As long as networks are a consumer right, nothing else is needed.”