Trevor Hiltbrand and Matthew Smith, with backgrounds in e-commerce and tech startups, set out to disrupt the solar industry by cutting out commissioned sales reps from the solar business model. The result is Project Solar, a commission-free solar sales, design, permitting and procurement company that hopes to increase transparency and efficiency along the way.
If you are unfamiliar, that might soon change. Project Solar just closed a $23 million Series A financing round led by Left Lane Capital, with additional support from within the industry. This is first institutional capital raised by the company to scale their direct-to-consumer offering in additional markets. The company will also further invest in the development of its solar installation technology stack that sits across the entire solar process – from automated quoting to project management.
“Solar has never been more attractive from an investment perspective, nor more needed from an environmental perspective,” says Matthew Smith, President and Co-Founder of Project Solar. “Our online model allows us to offer top tier equipment, with warrantied professional installation, for industry leading low prices,” Smith adds.
Project Solar offers an automated solar quoting and checkout experience that pairs with full installation services through their proprietary network of contractors. With just a few inputs from customers, Project Solar instantly calculates the needed system size and corresponding price for a home’s current electrical usage, all without talking to a sales rep.
Back in 2021 when the company launched, Project Solar targeted do-it-yourselfers with their DIY solar kits, but quickly pivoted their focus to full installation by creating an installer network covering 20 solar-friendly states.
By cutting out the commissioned sales representatives, who often make anywhere from $0.30-$1.00/watt, Project Solar can offer lower prices, selling at an average of $2.20/watt.
“At our pricing, solar is an amazing investment for nearly every homeowner in the United States. Nationally, our customers see an average ROI of 18% in the first year,” says Trevor Hiltbrand, CEO and Co-Founder of Project Solar.
The installers within the network are vetted and fully managed by Project Solar, offering the customer the benefit of local labor and serviceability, while maintaining the warranty benefits, scale, and pricing advantages of a large national brand.
Project Solar is on track to having 30 MW of solar installed this year, with the goal of installing 150 MW during 2023. With this additional funding and the continued trust that customers put into the brand, Project Solar is on its way to becoming the most trusted household brand in solar energy.
“We are thrilled to partner with the entire Project Solar team. The company’s growth over the last year speaks for itself. With rising energy costs and more awareness of our climate impact, it has never been better for the consumer to consider solar as a complete energy solution for their home. Project Solar has adopted technology across the entire organization which has allowed the business to scale rapidly across the entire country,” says Derek Urben, investor at Left Lane Capital.