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Exclusive: Perch raises $30M from Nuveen for community solar

Illustration of a stack of solar panels with a currency band

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Community solar services provider Perch Energy raised $30 million in an initial close of its Series B, the company tells Axios exclusively.

Why it matters: The investment targets a solar energy sector that's seen its growth stagnate in the U.S.

What's happening: Nuveen's equity investment in Perch is aimed at connecting the Boston-based startup with the investment giant's sprawling portfolio of apartments and low-income housing.

How it works: Perch acquires and manages subscribers for small, offsite solar projects known as community solar.

  • The model offers one of the only ways for apartment dwellers and lower-income households to access cheap renewable energy.

The intrigue: Community solar projects have been snarled in grid-connection backlogs.

  • New installations fell 16% in Q2 and remained flat from last year.

Yes, but: Perch says it's doubled its client roster since closing its Series A last year, with about 740 MW capacity in its portfolio.

Of note: Community solar projects are typically smaller than 5 MW.

  • They make up 3.8% of U.S. solar-generating capacity, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Solar panels overall generated 4.7% of the country's electricity in 2022.

What's next: Nuveen so far remains the sole investor in Perch's Series B. The startup says it may raise up to $35 million in the round.

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