Climate

Sacca’s Lowercarbon doubles down on startup bringing solar modules to Indian rooftops

Comment

Solar panels on roof of building in India
Image Credits: SolarSquare

Chris Sacca’s Lowercarbon is doubling down on a startup that is racing to bring solar modules to rooftops in India.

SolarSquare said on Thursday it has raised $13 million in a Series A funding round led by Lowercarbon and Elevation Capital, just months after securing its seed financing. Existing backers Good Capital, Rainmatter, Better Capital and social commerce Meesho founders Vidit Aatrey and Sanjeev Barnwal also participated in the round.

Even as India is increasingly adding generation capacity from solar power, there’s a large population of the South Asian nation — the individuals — that has yet to join the clean energy bandwagon.

Less than 0.5% of Indian homes have rooftop solar systems. Such slow adoption could dampen Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ambitious renewables goal. 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 societies and commercial establishments.

SolarSquare says it has solarized close to 5,000 homes in India in the last two years, helping them save about $480 yearly on their electricity bills and offset four metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions.

SolarSquare, which pivoted to serving the customer segment two years ago after running a profitable business selling rooftop solar to corporates for years, is currently generating revenue at a runrate of $12 million a year, said Shreya Mishra, co-founder and chief executive of SolarSquare, in an interview with TechCrunch.

“We are on a path of being a full-stack rooftop solutions provider. The market opportunity is so large, you can imagine the trust a middle class homeowner has to have to make a purchase of that size. We are innovating on every aspect of solar installation to serve our customers,” she said, adding that she estimates that solar modules worth more than $50 billion will be purchased by residences in India in this decade.

The average ticket size of a purchase of the solar module 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 nonbanking financial institution to provide better options to its customers in a year.

Nikhil Nahar (left) and wife-husband duo Shreya Mishra and Neeraj Jain founded SolarSquare. Image Credits: SolarSquare

“Solar as a product purchase pays for itself. It’s unlike a product like, say, your refrigerator, which is an expense. Once you have put solar modules on your rooftop, you start saving each month. A 2 lakh investment will result in savings of 12 lakh to 14 lakh in 25 years. But there’s a high upfront investment, so once we realized that, it’s clear that we need to bring more financing options to customers,” she said.

SolarSquare — which currently has presence in Bengaluru, Delhi, Gujarat, Hyderabad, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra — installs its solar panels within hours, compared to some legacy firms that take up to five days. In some homes, based on customers’ requests, it builds elevated structures for mounting panels. The startup plans to expand across India with the fresh funding.

“Solar is now much cheaper and cleaner than digging up and burning old dinosaur bones, so putting it on your roof just makes sense, especially in a part of the world with as much sun as India,” said Sacca in a statement. “But getting panels installed wasn’t always easy. We backed Shreya, Neeraj, and Nikhil because they’ve cracked the code on hassle-free rooftop solar.”

Indian firms making inroads with Indian residences will help the South Asian nation’s renewables goal. Coal currently powers 70% of India’s electricity generation, but Modi has pledged that India will produce more energy through solar and other renewables than its entire grid now by 2030.

It has taken steps to help startups such as SolarSquare. New Delhi offers subsidies to homeowners who are powered by rooftop solar, allowing them to distribute the excess power they generate to grids throughout the day and use the grid power 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 economics more viable as you’re able to freely trade electricity with the grid. More than 80% of our homes meet 100% of their electricity requirements this way.”

“Net-metering is a policy in many parts of the world. In India, it’s a right. A policy is something that can be revised every few years, but a right is a right that is going to stick. This is one of the reasons why we became so bullish on serving the residential solar market in India. As long as net-metering is a consumer right, there is nothing else that is needed.”

More TechCrunch

Some startups choose to bootstrap from the beginning while others find themselves forced into self funding by a lack of investor interest or a business model that doesn’t fit traditional…

VCs wanted FarmboxRx to become a meal kit, the company bootstrapped instead

Uber and Lyft drivers in Minnesota will see higher pay thanks to a deal between the state and the country’s two largest ride-hailing companies. The upshot: a new law that…

Uber and Lyft’s ride-hailing deal with Minnesota comes with a cost

Andreessen Horowitz’s American Dynamism fund has established a new fellowship program aimed at introducing top engineers and technologists to venture investing, a move that could help the firm identify less…

a16z’s American Dynamism team launches program to introduce technical minds to VC

Another fintech startup, and its customers, has been gravely impacted by the implosion of banking-as-a-service startup Synapse. Copper Banking, a digital banking service aimed at teens, notified its customers on…

Teen fintech Copper had to emergency discontinue its banking, debit products

Autodesk — the 3D tools behemoth — has acquired Wonder Dynamics, a startup that lets creators quickly and easily make complex characters and visual effects using AI-powered image analysis. The…

Autodesk acquires AI-powered VFX startup Wonder Dynamics

Farcaster, a blockchain-based social protocol founded by two Coinbase alumni, announced on Tuesday that it closed a $150 million fundraise. Led by Paradigm, the platform also raised money from a16z…

Farcaster, a crypto-based social network, raised $150M with just 80K daily users

Microsoft announced on Tuesday during its annual Build conference that it’s bringing “Windows Volumetric Apps” to Meta Quest headsets. The partnership will allow Microsoft to bring Windows 365 and local…

Microsoft’s new ‘Volumetric Apps’ for Quest headsets extend Windows apps into the 3D space

The spam reached Bluesky by first crossing over two other decentralized networks: Mastodon and Nostr.

The ‘vote Trump’ spam that hit Bluesky in May came from decentralized rival Nostr

Welcome to TechCrunch Fintech! This week, we’re looking at the continued fallout from Synapse’s bankruptcy, how Layer wants to disrupt SMB accounting, and much more! To get a roundup of…

There’s a real appetite for a fintech alternative to QuickBooks

The company is hoping to produce electricity at $13 per megawatt hour, which would be more than 50% cheaper than traditional onshore wind.

Bill Gates-backed wind startup AirLoom is raising $12M, filings reveal

Generative AI makes stuff up. It can be biased. Sometimes it spits out toxic text. So can it be “safe”? Rick Caccia, the CEO of WitnessAI, believes it can. “Securing…

WitnessAI is building guardrails for generative AI models

It’s not often that you hear about a seed round above $10 million. H, a startup based in Paris and previously known as Holistic AI, has announced a $220 million…

French AI startup H raises $220M seed round

Hey there, Series A to B startups with $35 million or less in funding — we’ve got an exciting opportunity that’s tailor-made for your growth journey! If you’re looking to…

Boost your startup’s growth with a ScaleUp package at TC Disrupt 2024

TikTok is pulling out all the stops to prevent its impending ban in the United States. Aside from initiating legal action against the U.S. government, that means shaping up its…

As a US ban looms, TikTok announces a $1M program for socially driven creators

Microsoft wants to put its Copilot everywhere. It’s only a matter of time before Microsoft renames its annual Build developer conference to Microsoft Copilot. Hopefully, some of those upcoming events…

Microsoft’s Power Automate no-code platform adds AI flows

Build is Microsoft’s largest developer conference and of course, it’s all about AI this year. So it’s no surprise that GitHub’s Copilot, GitHub’s “AI pair programming tool,” is taking center…

GitHub Copilot gets extensions

Microsoft wants to make its brand of generative AI more useful for teams — specifically teams across corporations and large enterprise organizations. This morning at its annual Build dev conference,…

Microsoft intros a Copilot for teams

Microsoft’s big focus at this year’s Build conference is generative AI. And to that end, the tech giant announced a series of updates to its platforms for building generative AI-powered…

Microsoft upgrades its AI app-building platforms

The U.K.’s data protection watchdog has closed an almost year-long investigation of Snap’s AI chatbot, My AI — saying it’s satisfied the social media firm has addressed concerns about risks…

UK data protection watchdog ends privacy probe of Snap’s GenAI chatbot, but warns industry

U.S. cell carrier Patriot Mobile experienced a data breach that included subscribers’ personal information, including full names, email addresses, home ZIP codes and account PINs, TechCrunch has learned. Patriot Mobile,…

Conservative cell carrier Patriot Mobile hit by data breach

It’s been three years since Spotify acquired live audio startup Betty Labs, and yet the music streaming service isn’t leveraging the technology to its fullest potential — at least not…

Spotify’s ‘Listening Party’ feature falls short of expectations

Alchemist Accelerator has a new pile of AI-forward companies demoing their wares today, if you care to watch, and the program itself is making some international moves into Tokyo and…

Alchemist’s latest batch puts AI to work as accelerator expands to Tokyo, Doha

“Late Pledge” allows campaign creators to continue collecting money even after the campaign has closed.

Kickstarter now lets you pledge after a campaign closes

Stack AI’s co-founders, Antoni Rosinol and Bernardo Aceituno, were PhD students at MIT wrapping up their degrees in 2022 just as large language models were becoming more mainstream. ChatGPT would…

Stack AI wants to make it easier to build AI-fueled workflows

Pinecone, the vector database startup founded by Edo Liberty, the former head of Amazon’s AI Labs, has long been at the forefront of helping businesses augment large language models (LLMs)…

Pinecone launches its serverless vector database out of preview

Young geothermal energy wells can be like budding prodigies, each brimming with potential to outshine their peers. But like people, most decline with age. In California, for example, the amount…

Special mud helps XGS Energy get more power out of geothermal wells

Featured Article

Sonos finally made some headphones

The market play is clear from the outset: The $449 headphones are firmly targeted at an audience that would otherwise be purchasing the Bose QC Ultra or Apple AirPods Max.

8 hours ago
Sonos finally made some headphones

Adobe says the feature is up to the task, regardless of how complex of a background the object is set against.

Adobe brings Firefly AI-powered Generative Remove to Lightroom

All cars suffer when the mercury drops, but electric vehicles suffer more than most as heaters draw more power and batteries charge more slowly as the liquid electrolyte inside thickens.…

Porsche Ventures invests in battery startup South 8 to boost cold-weather EV performance

Scale AI has raised a $1 billion Series F round from a slew of big-name institutional and corporate investors including Amazon and Meta.

Data-labeling startup Scale AI raises $1B as valuation doubles to $13.8B