Arcadia, a Silicon Valley software firm that helps companies and consumers monitor energy usage and assess their carbon footprints, has acquired Atlanta-based Urjanet to deepen its access to utility data.
Urjanet is the largest provider of utility data in the world, spending the last decade growing its reach into more than 9,500 utilities in 52 countries.
As Global Atlanta reported in 2019, the Georgia Tech-born company recently worked with Equifax on a global partnership to unlock the power of that data to improve credit access for consumers. It has 400 employees working at offices in Atlanta and Chennai, India.
Launched in 2014, Arcadia has grown to become the top manager of “community solar” projects, where utility end users buy directly from solar farms. But this month, Arcadia raised $200 million from J.P. Morgan Asset Management and other investors to build out its data platform, bringing its capital raised to $380 million to date and valuing the company at $1.5 billion.
Arc software platform, launched in November, provides APIs to offer a “software layer for the zero-carbon economy,” helping companies build better energy-related products and investors gain greater transparency into companies’ “climate risk” as regulators weigh more stringent emissions and carbon reporting requirements.
“It’s impossible to overstate the importance of accurate energy usage and tariff data for companies working toward sustainability goals. Increasingly, companies are going to have to think about their emissions and how to mitigate them,” founder and CEO Kiran Bhatraju wrote in a blog post announcing the acquisition.
He theorized that every company will soon have to think like a climate-tech firm, noting that the World Bank estimates that only 9 percent of companies use software to monitor their environmental, social and governance (ESG) goals.
With the addition of Urjanet, Arcadia will incorporate permissioned data from 1.35 million utility accounts representing $18 billion in energy spending around the world and covering 95 percent of American households.
Curtis Snyder, general manager of the Arc Platform at Arcadia, told Global Atlanta that the data will be useful for grid-builders serving consumers seeking better control over their carbon impact, but also also for companies across industries like electric vehicles, solar, energy storage and smart-home/Internet of Things. The platform also empowers retail energy companies, especially those providing solar power, to offer single source of billing and usage management, bundling everything in one white-labeled platform.
Mr. Snyder noted that the company consolidates account data only with customer consent and sees utility data as “infrastructure” enabling innovation tackling decarbonization of the power sector.
“With democratized access to data, we are helping remove a significant friction point in energy innovation, and allowing utilities and other innovators to build the energy experience that their customers demand, all while leveraging the billions that have already been spent on digital customer accounts,” Mr. Snyder said.
One use-case example could hit home in Georgia, where two electric-vehicle plants have been announced in the last six months. Arc is used by at least one EV maker to offer insights to customers, helping them charge when the grid is cheapest and cleanest, saving them both money and carbon emissions. In California, the company said the average EV owner overspends on charging by $4,300 over a five-year period due to a lack of transparency in pricing data. The company said it’s also lobbying Georgia legislators on the importance of residential solar.
Arcadia will keep Urjanet’s offices in Atlanta and Chennai as a regional offices, adding to New York office and its headquarters in Washington D.C.
Urjanet in 2020 raised $14.65 million in a Series D round led by Equifax to expand the use of utility data for ID verification, credit scoring and alternative financing. Building on this, Arcadia is exploring the prospect of using utility data to widen access to credit for potential rooftop solar customers.
Learn more in the news release here.