Arcadia Power has raised $25 million from a collection of investment groups for purpose of expanding its ability to offer electricity services to homeowners and renters that don’t have access to clean energy. Additionally, the company announced that is has “secured” over 120 MW of solar power for its community solar programs.
The funding, the group’s second round of funding following a $6 million investment in 2017, was led by G2VP, with participation from ValueAct Spring Fund, McKnight Foundation, Energy Impact Partners, Cendana Capital, Wonder Ventures, BoxGroup, and existing investors.
The new funding was noted as being to support the company’s nationwide growth goals, as well expanding the companies data science and engineering teams. They hope these individuals will develop new flexibility services for electric utilities by connecting them with more homeowners who have intelligent hardware – such as a Nest Thermostat.
The companies community solar initiatives offer a 5% electricity discount for going solar, with two key features -nearly instant access to the energy discount, and no longer term contracts.
In addition to offering digital services to customers, the company also offers home efficiency upgrades. The Nest Thermostat was noted, but also LED lighting, smart electric meters and demand response opportunities. These tools tie to over 100 nationwide utilities.
The company noted they’ve got more demand from customers for community solar than developers who’ve built projects.
Community solar is an amazing concept that pv magazine thinks has a large opportunity to expand into as more than 35% of Americans rent their residence, and a large number of those who do own don’t have a viable location to install their own solar power.
However, the questions remains how far can community solar scale when the offerings from a large majority of developers – like Arcadia – only give a 5% discount. This is equal to about $90 in savings a year based upon 12,000 kWh/year at 15¢/kWh.
If the community solar market is to truly expand to its potential, it’s going to need to offer ownership of the systems with an opportunity for them to pay off in time. This current model simply offers a nice discount plus the good feeling of supporting clean energy. While this isn’t trivial, it isn’t enough to change the game.