As cost reductions have created a bigger addressable market, the clean tech sector has generated more consumer and business data, enabling companies to use big data tools and software to analyze and drive down customer acquisition costs and increase access to financing.
Here are leading “FinTech” companies that are using information technology and data to advance clean tech business models and bring more capital to the sector:
(founded in 2009, based in Santa Clara, CA)
Provides “big data” and credit ratings on solar projects for project developers and investors, who pay a fee to use the service. Its database tools can shorten the due diligence process and accelerate securitizations of residential and commercial portfolios.
Its database tracks over 570 unique data points on 10GW of commercial, industrial and utility distributed generation solar assets. It has info on over 750 active projects, with data on: investors, panel suppliers, construction timelines, local regulations, system pricing, project timelines, etc.
It raised $1.7 million in Series A funding from Vision Ridge Partners, Augment Ventures and Shah Capital in January and raised $2 million from Vision Ridge Partners, Augment Ventures and Shah Capital in June 2013.
(founded in 2011, based in Austin TX)
An online platform that matches commercial and industrial energy efficiency projects with banks and investors and identifies available rebates and incentives. The financing partners who are part of the matchmaking service pay for access to investment opportunities and receive software that helps them analyze risk and measure savings on energy efficiency projects through energy data they collect on past projects.
In March, Noesis raised a $30 million project fund to finance energy efficiency retrofits that range from $300K to $1 million through a “Shared Savings Agreement” modeled after the solar PPA.
It raised $8 million in Series B funding from Black Coral Capital and Austin Ventures in Sept. 2013 and has raised $14.5 million in VC funding to date.
(founded in 2008, based in San Francisco, CA)
An energy service comparison marketplace that allows consumers to compare retail electricity plans, including solar options, and helps them enroll online in deregulated utility markets. The company receives commissions when consumers switch plans.
The data they collect on consumer preferences is shared with their energy service partners who can customize plans based on the preferences of consumers, including price, plan length, brand desire, and % of renewable energy. In fact, price is not the biggest factor for plan switching, says the company, and consumers are willing to pay a premium for plans with renewable energy.
It raised $7.5 million in Series B funding from Kleiner Perkins, BlueScape Resources, NGEN Partners, Stephens Capital Partners and Michael Polsky in Nov. 2013. And it raised $4 million in Series A funding from Kleiner Perkins and Stephens Capital in March 2013.
Clean Power Finance
(founded in 2007, based in San Francisco, CA)
An online marketplace for the distributed solar industry that connects providers of capital with solar marketers to expand access to financial products to more solar professionals. Its CPF Tools is software-as-a-service that simplifies complex
sales, quoting, proposal and finance processes and minimizes the “soft costs” of selling solar.
The company raises 100 percent third-party owned project finance funds and manages $500 million of project financing on behalf of fund investors. Investor capital is packaged as solar leases and PPAs and made available to solar professionals. It charges a fee to capital providers for its risk management and fund services.
It raised $37 million in Series C funding in May, 2013 and has raised over $65 million in VC funding to date from investors including: Hennessey Capital Management, Edison International, Sand Hill Angels, Claremont Creek Ventures, Clean Pacific Ventures, Kleiner Perkins, and Google Ventures.
(founded in 2011, based in Martinsburg, WV)
Uses “big data”, analytics and mapping to stream line online procurement, financing, installation, and maintenance of solar, which allows solar installers and financiers to lower the cost of acquiring new customers. It uses satellite data to build 3D representations of neighborhoods and their rooftops to calculate their solar potential, and includes data on incentives and utility rates to show consumers the cost of going solar.
Geostellar’s system, called Solar Mojo, pulls in data from multiple sources to create an estimate as well as displaying what deals are available from installers in a particular area. Consumers can then sign up for one of the solar plans on their website and Geostellar claims a portion of a system’s total installed price.
It won $750,000 in U.S. DOE SunShot Initiative funds in Oct. 2013 and raised $14 million in Series B funding from NRG, GeoEye, Flash Forward Ventures and the state of Maryland in June 2012. The company has raised $28.5 million in funding to date.
(founded in 2012, based in Oakland, CA.)
Produces “big data” information tools for risk management of solar investment, creating solar information transparency that enables solar leases to be securitized. It provides information to institutional investors and industry participants who pay a fee to use the service.
The company’s database tracks over 20,000 PV systems, 3M modules, and 50,000+ inverters, representing 1GW of generating capacity in the U.S. It analyzes energy and credit data from industry stakeholders to generate insight into the performance of the solar asset class across the commercial, residential and utility scale segments.
It won $500,000 in U.S. DOE SunShot Initiative funds in October 2013. Although they are not currently fundraising, they are “open to partnership and opportunistic situations” says CEO Richard Matsui.