Bright raises $4 million to provide solar energy to the developing world

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Green power

Clean energy startup Bright has achieved a $4 million investment in seed money to develop and build its solar software and infrastructure. The company installs and distributes solar panels.

Bright has developed in Mexico, where it began building last year. As a startup, it came out of the latest cohort of Y Combinator, and its key purpose has been to provide efficient energy in the notoriously difficult Mexican environment. According to the Mexican Federal Electric Commission, energy is expensive and complicated to produce. It can cost up to $4,000 MXD ($250USD) in the scorching summer months.

Government subsidies are available to support the poorest families with their energy bills, but not everyone can access them. Bright founder and former Chevron executive, Jonah Greenberger, likens the situation to what would happen if the DMV controlled energy in the US.

“Solar is the path forward. Specifically, it’s a solution that doesn’t need to be centrally controlled and distributed (i.e. it can sit on roofs instead of in one large location in a desert), which means we can be independent from a totally government controlled solution,” he said.

The idea is a simple one. The solar panels can be installed for free, and the customer then pays a subscription to use them. Similar to Bright’s main rival in Mexico, Evolta, private investment helps with the cost of installation. Although Evolta builds and installs the panels, Bright has sub-contracted much of this work to local contractors.

What can’t be argued is the abundance of sunlight that is available in Mexico and can be harnessed into energy.

Greenberger said: “The goal is for any installer in any country to offer a high quality rooftop solar installation at no upfront cost, and do so over and over, millions and eventually billions of times.”

The seed funding is being invested by a number of interests, including First Round Capital, Patrick Collison, Max Levchin, Felicis Ventures, and several YC partners.

Bright will use the funding to grow its workforce. Greenberger said that Bright’s intention is to create a business that can help “tackle one of the largest and most significant challenges of our lifetime – delivering clean energy to a planet of over 7 billion people.”

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