Tempe-based Erthos raises $24 million in funding to scale large solar projects
A Tempe-based solar panel startup has raised a new round of funding and inked an agreement for a 180-megawatt solar plant in Mississippi, bringing its total projects under contract to 18 nationwide.
Erthos secured $24 million in equity financing led by Capricorn Investment Group, a sustainability-focused venture capital firm that was an early backer of Tesla, SpaceX and Helion.
The new round of capital will accelerate Erthos’ growth and support upcoming large scale projects, according to a company release.
“After showcasing two years of outstanding performance data, we’ve demonstrated our technology’s reliability, leading to significant market demand,” Charles Pimentel, president and chief commercial officer at Erthos, said in a statement. “This capital ensures we can meet this demand with confidence.”
Erthos builds earth-mounted solar panels directly on the ground – a technique the company says saves customer money via an automated cleaning system.
Because the panels are flat, Erthos can deploy a cleaning robot that sweeps them each night, capturing module health data and ultimately leading to cheaper power, according to the company.
Earlier this month, Erthos announced an agreement with five solar developers for 34 megawatts of new projects in California, Utah, Arkansas, Texas and South Carolina.
In addition, the company secured a contract this week with Mississippi Energy Developers, Inc., which is developing a 180-megawatt solar plant that will generate revenue for three Mississippi schools. The project, which is using Erthos’ earth-mounted solar panels, will be built near Taylorsville, Mississippi, according to the company.
“It’s great to see Earth Mount Solar PV being used to benefit these schools,” Jim Tyler, CEO of Erthos, said in a statement. “Lower cost of energy means more revenue for the schools and Erthos offers the lowest cost of any source of electricity on the planet.”
Erthos now has 18 solar plants — two of which exceed 100 megawatts — under contract nationwide, according to the company.
Tyler, a former executive at Tempe-based First Solar Inc., founded Erthos in 2019 and received a patent for the company’s earth-mounted panels in 2020.
After receiving $7.4 million in funding in 2020 and working in stealth mode for a couple of years, the company formally entered the market in 2021, the Business Journal previously reported.
Erthos in 2022 raised $17.5 million in series B funding from Palo Alto, California-based Capricorn.
At the time, Tyler told the Business Journal that Erthos had five solar projects underway and was planning to increase its headcount from 33 to 60 employees by the end of the year.
Plans to expand workforce
With projects now totaling nearly 400-megawatts under contract, Erthos is continuing its path toward mass market adoption.
The company currently has 75 employees and plans to expand its workforce to 125 in the next year, Daniel Flanigan, chief marketing and product officer for Erthos, told AZ Inno.
Erthos stands out in the market because of its potential to revolutionize cost-effectiveness in the solar industry, Ion Yadigaroglu, partner at Capricorn Investment Group, said in a statement.
“Their vastly simplified supply chain, rapid construction, reduced land use, and lower equipment and labor costs are unparalleled,” Yadigaroglu said. “Their two years of field data confirm their energy performance. The resilience displayed by their California power plants, enduring one of the harshest recent winters, further impressed us. We’re thrilled to back them.”