Investing in OpenSolar to catalyse solar deployment
By Rahul Parekh and Jacob Bro
As a tech investor focussed on sustainability, it’s incredibly rare to come across a company that’s already facilitating billions of dollars of transactions, whilst having the potential for enormous impact on the environment. That’s exactly what we found in OpenSolar, a leading software platform for solar contractors operating in Australia, U.S and the U.K.
And when we met the incredible founders, Andrew (“Birchy”) and Adam, we were blown away by their expertise in the solar industry and their vision for OpenSolar — to enable every compatible roof in the world to generate clean energy by 2050.
OpenSolar provides one of the world’s fastest and most accurate solar design tools, completely free of charge to solar contractors. With its global database of tariffs and incentives combined with its unique approach to 3D site modelling, shade analysis, and energy production, the platform can produce extremely accurate and compelling solar proposals.
With a built-in Customer Relationship Management system, contracting and permitting tools, and embedded services such as finance and hardware ordering, the platform operates at the core of the solar contractor’s workflow. The end-to-end functionality acts as the backbone for contractors’ businesses, saving them tens of thousands of dollars every year and freeing them up to deliver more solar electrification to homes and businesses more efficiently. By speeding up the process from accurate solar design to proposal and sale, and from permitting to install, OpenSolar is becoming the number one choice for installers around the globe.
For a market as mature as solar, it’s easy to discount the potential for climate impact and disruption. However, solar panel installation is still a highly fragmented and hyperlocal market, with thousands of contractors installing less than 50 units per month on average. Suboptimal processes in procurement, design, installation, and client management negatively impact homeowners, while a product like OpenSolar can streamline the whole value chain and provide services such as financing and hardware ordering at scale allowing contractors to pass on significant cost savings to their customers.
According to the latest IEA report on renewables, global solar PV capacity is set to triple over the 2022–27 period, surpassing coal to become the largest source of power capacity in the world. So while climate mitigation is a key feature of OpenSolar’s impact, its role in expanding zero-carbon generation is just as critical. We need just under 8000 GW of new PV capacity installed between 2020–2050 and the IEA estimates that 75 million homes will need to install rooftop PV systems between 2020–2030 to support a net-zero pathway by 2050.
We’re absolutely thrilled to be partnering with OpenSolar, its mission-driven leadership team and our co-investors Telstra Ventures in this $15m funding round. With hundreds of thousands of home solar systems designed so far, we believe that OpenSolar’s platform can proliferate and bend the curve of solar adoption around the world.
2150 is a venture capital firm investing in technology companies that seek to sustainably reimagine and reshape the urban environment. 2150’s investment thesis focuses on major unsolved problems across what it calls the ‘Urban Stack’, which comprises every element of the built environment, from the way our cities are designed, constructed and powered, to the way people live, work and are cared for. Find out more at www.2150.vc