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Charleston solar-tech business raises $29M to fuel future growth

Palmetto Clean (copy)

Charleston-based Palmetto Clean Technology Inc. has raised $49 million in 2020, an otherwise challenging period for small businesses seeking new capital. Palmetto Clean Technology/Provided

A Charleston company specializing in solar technology has raised another $29 million to help finance its expansion plans, bringing its total to $49 million for the year.

Palmetto Clean Technology announced the new investment round last week.

The firm, which is headquartered in the Pacific Box & Crate development on Charleston's upper peninsula, sells clean energy solutions to retail customers and commercial brokers who market solar panel and energy storage systems. Thousands of small businesses use its platform. 

"We are honored to have support from a wide range of partners and appreciate their recognition in the importance of our mission to mitigate climate change," Chris Kemper, CEO of Palmetto, said in a written statement. 

Kemper added that the proceeds "will help us further grow our product lines and expand into a wider range of services with our consumers." 

Few Charleston-based startups have hauled in as much in publicly disclosed fundraising efforts.

Ceterus, which develops accounting software, has gone through a few investor rounds in the past few years, with $10 million in late 2019 being the most recent.

Also, the cybersecurity firm Phishlabs has raised close to $32 million in private placements since 2013. 

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Earlier this year, Palmetto announced a $20 million commitment from an existing investor, Energy Impact Partners.

The COVID-19 outbreak has made it more challenging for startups to raise money, according to CB Insights. Venture capital deals were down 9 percent in the first quarter of the year, the firm reported. Deals targeting early-stage businesses accounted for the majority of that drop. 

Palmetto's latest cash infusion is considered a mid-stage series for the 10-year old company. 

Backers include Greycroft Partners, which was part of previous round of funding in 2018. Will Szczerbiak, a principal with the New York-based firm, said in a statement that Palmetto has "the best platform to bring renewable energy products and services to market." 

Other investors include ArcTern Ventures, Shell Ventures, Box Group, Evergy Ventures, the Leto Family Office and Falkon Ventures.

"The potential for rooftop solar and the electrification of homes in the U.S. is huge and the competitive landscape is fairly fragmented with just a few dominant players," said Robert Linck, chief investment officer at Shell Ventures

Palmetto said it will use the newly raised capital to fund growth across its business, including the development of new software, customer service upgrades and geographic expansion plans.

Reach Mary Katherine Wildeman at 843-607-4312. Follow her on Twitter @mkwildeman.

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