Chris Sacca’s Lowercarbon is doubling down on a startup racing to bring rooftop solar modules to India.
SolarSquare announced on Thursday that it has raised $13 million in a Series A funding round led by Lowercarbon and Elevation Capital, just months after securing its seed funding. Existing backers Good Capital, Rainmatter, Better Capital and social commerce founders Meesho Vidit Aatrey and Sanjeev Barnwal also participated in the round.
Even though India is adding more and more generation capacity from solar power, there is a large population of the South Asian nation – the people – who have yet to join the bandwagon of clean energy.
Less than 0.5% of Indian homes have rooftop solar systems. Such slow adoption could put the brakes on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ambitious renewable energy target. SolarSquare, which sells, installs and helps individuals finance solar modules, has an ambitious plan to change that. The startup also provides its solar solutions to housing companies and commercial establishments.
SolarSquare claims to have solarized nearly 5,000 homes in India over the past two years, helping them save about $480 a year on their electricity bills and offsetting four metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions.
SolarSquare, which pivoted to serve the customer segment two years ago after years running a profitable business selling rooftop solar to businesses, is currently generating $12 million in revenue. per year, said Shreya Mishra, co-founder and CEO of SolarSquare. , in an interview with TechCrunch.
“We are well on our way to becoming a complete rooftop solutions provider. The market opportunity is so great that you can imagine the confidence a middle-class homeowner must have to make a purchase of this size. We innovate on all aspects of solar installation to serve our customers,” she said.
The average solar module purchase ticket amount 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-banking financial institution to provide better options to its customers within a year.
“Solar as a product purchase pays for itself. It’s different from a product like, say, your refrigerator, which is an expense. Once you install solar modules on your roof, you start saving every month. An investment of 2 lakh will lead to savings of 12 lakh to 14 lakh in 25 years. But there is a high upfront investment, so once we realize that, it’s clear we need to offer more financing options to customers,” 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 traditional companies which take up to five days. In some houses, at the request of customers, he builds raised structures for mounting panels. The startup plans to expand across India with the new funding.
“Solar power is now much cheaper and cleaner than digging up and burning old dinosaur bones, so putting it on your roof makes sense, especially in such a sunny part of the world as India,” said Sacca in a press release. “But installing the panels was not always easy. We’ve backed Shreya, Neeraj and Nikhil because they’ve cracked the code for hassle-free rooftop solar.
Indian companies making inroads into Indian residences will contribute to the South Asian nation’s renewable energy goal. Coal currently powers 70% of India’s electricity generation, but Modi has pledged that India will generate more power from solar and other renewables than its entire network by 2030.
He has taken steps to help startups such as SolarSquare. New Delhi is offering subsidies to homeowners who are powered by rooftop solar, allowing them to distribute the excess electricity they generate to grids throughout the day and use grid electricity at night .
Mishra hailed New Delhi’s efforts on climate change, saying: “India is the first country in the world to make net-metering, this electricity trading, a consumer right that makes the economy more viable because you can freely exchange electricity with the grid.Over 80% of our homes meet 100% of their electricity needs 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 will last. This is one of the reasons why we have become so optimistic about serving the residential solar market in India. As long as net metering is a consumer right, nothing else is needed.