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Charleston-based Palmetto Clean Technology provides software and other products for the solar industry. File/Provided.

A Charleston solar business has raised $20 million in new funding, following a strong year of investments and signaling rapid growth for the clean energy firm.

New York-based private equity and venture capital firm Energy Impact Partners provided the latest backing for Palmetto Clean Technology Inc. in a deal announced Friday.

Palmetto isn't in the business of making solar panels. Rather, it distributes hardware and software for the industry. One of its applications gives users updates about their energy usage and how well their panels are working. Its leading product, called Alchemy, helps generate sales proposals for its sales force.

Palmetto also designs solar systems, oversee installation and provides customer service, according to its company's website.

The firm's largest funding round to date will enable the company to expand westward, CEO Chris Kemper said Monday.

Kemper founded the business in 2009. Since then, it has closed four investment rounds totaling more than $30 million, with the latest being its largest. Last year, it raised $6 million from a group of investors that included former National Basketball Association commissioner David Stern.

Kemper said he plans to use the new financing to hire dozens of employees in the coming months, particularly  engineering and software positions. 

Energy Impact Partners is backed by major utilities and promises to foster relationships between those companies and the businesses it invests in, according to its website.

"We have been looking at this space for a long time and were extremely impressed with Palmetto's management and employee talent," Harry Giovani, managing partner at Energy Impact Partners, said in a statement.

Kemper said the new chance to work with the utility industry will benefit the company.

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"It's much more advantageous to work alongside them and have them invested in your interests," he said. "We're now aligned in the mutual success of Palmetto."

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Palmetto's growth also prompted the company to relocate to a bigger space in the Pacific Box & Crate development on upper King Street.

Palmetto also has offices elsewhere, including in Seattle and Charlotte. 

Reach Mary Katherine Wildeman at 843-937-5594. Follow her on Twitter @mkwildeman.