Arcadia Power, the creator of the United States’ first nationwide digital utility, announced last week the closing of a $25 million funding round and the announcement of 120 megawatts (MW) worth of new community solar projects.
Arcadia Power announced last week that it had closed a $25 million Series B funding round which was led by asset management firm G2VP — with participation from ValueAct Spring Fund, McKnight Foundation, Energy Impact Partners, Cendana Capital, Wonder Ventures, BoxGroup, and existing investors — which will support the company’s “rapid growth” across all 50 states, the expansion of its data science and engineering teams, and spur the acceleration of new flexibility services for utilities and smart home technology companies.
As the self-proclaimed developers of the country’s first “digital utility” Arcadia Power advertises itself as a “direct-to-consumer platform” which “integrates with more than 100 utilities, has two terawatt-hours of annual energy demand under management, and has experienced 500 percent member growth over the last 12 months.” The aim of the company is to transition away from the traditional utility-consumer relationship and “using technology to put consumers first.”
Once you work your way through all the publicity jargon, Arcadia Power provides a free service to members who can connect their existing utility with Arcadia’s network — be they tenant or homeowner — which allows the consumer to connect with wind and solar power, exercise greater cost control over their utility bill, access smart home devices, and payment options without transaction fees. Among the options that Arcadia Power members have are:
- Wind Energy. By leveraging Renewable Energy Certificates, Arcadia Power automatically enrolls its members in 50% wind energy for free, and gives each member the opportunity to upgrade to 100% for 0.015c/kWh.
- Community Solar. Members can either subscribe to a share of a local community solar project for free — using virtual Power Purchase Agreements or Net Metering, depending on the member’s location — or purchase a panel from one of Arcadia Power’s solar partners. Members then receive guaranteed solar savings on each monthly power bill with no installation, equipment, fees, or commitment contracts.
- “For example, if you live in a state where we have a direct partnership with a local community solar developer and utilities (New York, D.C., Maryland, CA) we connect our members directly to projects that only Arcadia Power members can subscribe to for free,” Arcadia Power’s spokesperson explained. “These are virtual net metering (VNM) projects that send power to the local utility, and then Arcadia Power manages the subscription and billing process for the end user – guaranteeing a 5% savings on the solar portion of their bill.
- “The goal is to have the above mentioned Community Solar program in markets across the country soon. If you live in a state where we do not have direct partnerships with your utility to send local solar power to the grid, we have an option where you can purchase a “panel” from a community solar project somewhere in the U.S. with one of our solar partners. By purchasing a “panel” for about $100 members will then receive credits on their bill every month. The credit amount depends on how much power the project generates.”
- Price Alerts. Arcadia Power constantly monitors competitive energy markets and uses the combined purchasing power of members to secure exclusively low, fixed rates for energy.
- Home Efficiency. Members can save by purchasing home efficiency devices, such as smart thermostats and LED lighting, at zero upfront cost, participate in demand response programs in select states, and access efficiency tips on their dashboard.
- Bill Pay. Members can choose their preferred payment method, track the status of their monthly statements, view payment history, and more. Arcadia Power offers zero-percent fees on credit transactions and guarantees on-time payments with autopay.
The company was founded in January 2014 by Kentucky coal-country native and company CEO Kiran Bhatraju, and in 2017 secured a $6 million Series A funding round thanks to Energy Impact Partners and prior investors BoxGroup and Wonder Ventures.
“The future of energy is people-powered,” said Kiran Bhatraju. “The electricity industry hasn’t changed much in the last hundred years, and we believe that homeowners and renters want a new approach that puts them first. Our platform places clean energy, home efficiency, and data insights front and center for residential energy customers in all 50 states.”
Speaking to me via email, Kiran Bhatraju elaborated on what drove him to form Arcadia Power and the problems that needed to be fixed.
“I worked on Capitol Hill after college where I learned about the complicated way the energy industry is structured. We would joke that if Edison came back today, he wouldn’t think much had actually changed since he built the first utility! Against that backdrop, I was watching people on the west coast build software across industries, opening up markets in finance and healthcare, and wondering why someone couldn’t do the same in the power sector. Consumers understand waste and the need to recycle; their transportation and emissions associated with driving or flying; but there was a disconnect between the power you use in your home and trying to change how its generated. That’s what I wanted to fix, because I knew that something as simple as giving a customer a choice would be enough to transform the debate on climate change. I just needed to find a way to to make home energy real and tangible.”
Following the completion of the $25 million Series B funding round, Arcadia Power added to its board Alex Laskey, Founder and President of Opower; Dan Leff, experienced operator and investor in energy and technology companies; and Ben Kortlang, partner at G2VP.
“Startups are using technology to digitize traditional industries, and energy is no exception,” said Ben Kortlang, Partner at G2VP. “Arcadia Power uses technology to provide low-cost clean energy to consumers in all 50 states. As the utility of the future, the company’s technology makes a customer’s energy experience just as clean and simple as their transportation app. Arcadia Power’s rapid growth demonstrates the strong demand for easy, affordable access to renewable energy, payment flexibility and energy efficiency.”
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