Good Capital and Chris Sacchi’s Lowercarbon support India’s SolarSquare

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While India is increasingly ramping up solar generating capacity, setting an example for many other developing countries, the majority of the South Asian country’s population has yet to join the clean energy movement: Indian households.

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Less than a percent of Indian homes are equipped with solar panels on their roofs. This slow rollout could thwart Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ambitious renewable energy goal. Sunny Squarea startup that aims to sell, install and help individuals fund solar modules wants to change that.

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On Friday, several investors announced they were backing SolarSquare’s plans. SolarSquare has raised $4 million in a round led by Good Capital. Chris Sacchi’s Lowercarbon Capital also invested in the firm, its first backing in India.

The round also featured Symphony Asia, Rainmatter, Better Capital, Climate Angels, as well as operators including OYO’s Maninder Gulati, Urban Ladder’s Ashish Goel and Amit Kumar Agarwal, NoBroker’s Akhil Gupta and Saurabh Garg.

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“The history of electricity is such that it is produced in heavily polluted coal-fired power plants, somewhere hundreds of kilometers from your home, and from there it goes from the distribution network to your home. It’s polluting, it’s expensive, and a lot of energy is wasted in transmission,” Shreya Mishra, co-founder and CEO of SolarSquare, told TechCrunch.

“The future is in distributed electricity, where every home has its own solar panel. It’s much cheaper than buying electricity from the grid, and it’s environmentally friendly,” she said.

SolarSquare, which moved into customer service a year and a half ago after running a lucrative corporate rooftop solar business for years, has sold solar systems to more than 3,000 homes and apartments in the South Asian market.

“Our average home saves up to $650 on energy bills each year,” she said. SolarSquare systems and their installation cost about $1,500 and have a lifespan of 25 years. The equation is simple, said Mishra, who previously worked in e-commerce. “You get free electricity for 21 years.”

Founders and leaders of SolarSquare (Image credit: SolarSquare)

SolarSquare, which currently has a presence in Delhi NKR, Maharashtra, Bangalore, Telangana and Madhya Pradesh, installs its solar panels within 8 hours, compared to some legacy firms taking up to five days. In some houses, at the request of customers, an additional ramp is being built for mounting panels.

“The challenges of climate change are real and urgent. As a firm, we are committed to partnering with best-in-class entrepreneurs who are solving problems in this market. We are very excited to partner with Shreya, Neeraj and Nikhil as they intend to build the leading residential solar brand in India,” said Rohan Malhotra, Managing Partner of Good Capital, in a statement.

Indian firms invading Indian residences will help the South Asian nation meet its renewable energy goal. Coal currently provides 70% of India’s electricity generation, but Modi has promised that by 2030, India will produce more power from solar and other renewables than its entire grid.

He has taken steps to help startups like SolarSquare. New Delhi is offering subsidies to homeowners who are powered by rooftop solar panels, allowing them to distribute the excess electricity they generate to the grid during the day and use grid power at night.

The startup plans to use the new funds to expand its presence in India, as well as build a technology stack for consumers to help them track solar energy performance in real time.

Mishra is confident that India will see the same adoption of rooftop systems as it has seen with smartphones and mobile internet.

“India is already the third largest consumer of electricity in the world and they will add European level capacity in the next twenty years to keep up with demand. Solar Square will help drive this growth with its one-day rooftop solar installations, which are already making energy cheaper and more reliable for thousands of Indian homes,” said Clay Dumas, general partner at Lowercarbon, in a statement.

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