March 5, 2024

Solar Design Software Startup Raises $100 Million Series B

  • PVcase, a software startup that makes designing solar projects easier and faster, just raised $100 million.
  • Series B for Lithuanian startups comes from Highland Europe, Energize Ventures and Elephant VC.
  • We got a peek inside the 14-slide pitch deck he used to collect the money.

A solar design software startup has just raised $100 million in fresh funding.

Lithuanian startup PVcase, founded in 2018, helps engineers plan and design solar energy projects through its software-as-a-service 3D modeling platform. The startup emerged from a solar consultancy where it was built and used in-house.

Solar capacity is set to to overtake coal in 2027, becoming the energy source with the greatest potential in the world. Generation increased by 26% in 2022, to 1300 terawatt-hours. A terawatt-hour is enough to burn a million houses for a year.

Co-Founder and CEO Deividas Trainavicius has been working in solar since 2009. As the market rode the tails of legislation and benefited from subsidies, he noticed that there was land where it was “easy” for solar projects to development too easy.

The continued growth of solar has meant that developing large projects is becoming more complicated, Trainavicius said. Their design depends on the terrain and topography, whether it is near mountains or valleys, and the track of the sun.

“You need to spend more time on 3D modeling, and that didn’t exist seven, eight years ago,” he said. “So we just took that opportunity and created software that is truly customizable, and that takes complexity into account.”

The startup, which claims to be easier, cheaper and faster than traditional design methods, is already working in more than 80 countries. Project developers import data on a potential solar site environment and use the platform to run design simulations on top of that. The designs are geo-referenced, which can be used in construction.

Designs are usually drawn by engineers and each potential site will have up to ten iterations, Trainavicius said. “It just takes so much time.”

“Software automates all of that. You can run 100,000 simulations at once and find the one that increases your project ROI by several percent,” he said.

“This gives a huge advantage because you can design more power plants, you can build faster, you can design faster, you can be more precise, your procurement process is completely different because accurate data is coming from the software.”

PVcase is not trying to automate the process for engineers but to help them work smarter and eliminate human errors.

The Series B funding, which comes from Highland Europe, Energize Ventures, and Elephant VC, brings the company’s total to $123 million. It took four to six months to close the round.

It will use the fresh funds to expand its services, with the goal of creating an end-to-end platform to serve the entire lifecycle of a solar project, from finding the best sites to providing a detailed list of construction components. This would save engineers more time because they wouldn’t have to migrate – and potentially lose – data from different platforms, Trainavicius said. PVcase may also include maintenance features when solar projects are underway, such as predictive solutions.

Trainavicius has ambitious growth targets despite the softening market. Currently a team of 200, the co-founder plans to double this but said profitability is still in mind. This strategy struck a chord with investors, he said.

The Biden Inflation Reduction Act also boosts U.S. solar manufacturing, which has led to customers planning larger solar plants, Trainavicius said.

“I’m really excited to be in this industry and see how it has changed over the years. I started in 2009, the technology was completely different,” he said. “The biggest thing that has changed is not the advancement of technology – that’s huge, of course – but the mindset of the people. It was nice to have renewable energy, now it’s a must.”

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