A Sydney-based solar energy data startup has closed a $4.4 million Series A round has it looks to aggressively expand around the world.

Solar Analytics raised the funds from existing seed investor AGL Energy, along with a consortium of private investors from the renewable energy sector.

The tech company offers a hardware and software solution to give users real-time data on their solar system’s performance and household energy usage in order to help improve production and consumption.

Solar Analytics was founded in 2011 and has enjoyed 10 times year-on-year growth since and now monitors over 10,000 solar energy systems in Australia.

Solar Analytics CEO Stefan Jarnason says the company’s long-term vision helped to get the investors on board.

“Raising funds is always a fairly long and somewhat difficult process,” Jarnason tells StartupSmart.

“You really need to have a story worth telling. The Solar Analytics mission is to increase the amount of residential solar being deployed globally.

“The way we do that is by actively engaging with the customers to give them more value from their solar systems. Everything we do is designed around making residential homeowners love their solar.”

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The Solar Analytics platform gives users live solar data with an aim to empower them to better understand their own production and usage, and then optimise it to be more cost-effective, Jarnason says.

“We can tell residential solar customers how well their system is performing and what they can do to get even more value for themselves from having solar on their roof,” he says.

“The issue people are facing with solar is that they don’t actually know whether their system is working and how to make the most out of it. We solve that problem for them.”

With rapid uptake in Australia, he says the Solar Analytics offering is saving consumers thousands of dollars.

“Our customers check the dashboard every day, they love seeing what’s happening,” Jarnason says.

“It’s no longer some $5000 purchase that goes on the roof. Now they feel like they’re getting the benefits of it every day.”

After opening a two-person office in California, the latest cash injection will be used to accelerate the startup’s growth in the US.

“We’re getting really good traction and generating a lot of sales and interest there,” Jarnason says.

“The funds are being used to grow and expand that market. It’s a very big and difficult market to crack and we needed to raise funds in order to do that.”

The funding will also be going towards further product development and R&D, Jarnason says.

“We’ll accelerate our build of fun new features that will add even more value to people’s solar systems,” he says.

For other founders and entrepreneurs, he says it’s crucial to do your research before pitching, and know what you’re looking for from an investor.

“Prepare your pitch deck and pitch, pitch pitch,” Jarnason says.

“It does take a lot of time. The most important thing is to spend your time to really understand who you’re pitching to. You should be spending as much time researching these people as actually pitching to them.

“And really understand whether you need a strategic partner or a straight-out VC to grow as a company.”

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