Palmetto, a clean energy software company with a mission to reduce climate change, is moving its headquarters from Charleston to Charlotte’s South End, and planning to bring up to 100 jobs there by next year.
The company also is a “unicorn,” a start-up that is valued at over $1 billion. Palmetto currently employs about 400 people.
Palmetto said its software platform makes it easier for homeowners and businesses to choose renewable energy sources. The company helps customers find solar providers that fit their budgets through a network of sellers and installers.
Clean energy uses sources such as sunlight, water and wind, and fewer fossil fuels that cause harmful greenhouse gas emissions. Electric vehicle charging stations is another service offered through Palmetto.
“We are really interested in building out the clean tech hub for the country in Charlotte as we put more emphasis on this market and bringing more partners in,” company founder Chris Kemper said.
He said the city’s diverse talent pool, cost of living and the growing emphasis around climate change, technology, electrical engineering and analytical data education at colleges and universities throughout the state were factors in the decision to move.
Palmetto started recruiting for the Charlotte office in January.
The South End office is scheduled to open in October and will have enough room for 200 people. It’s designed for team learning, professional development and bonding with activities such as an indoor miniature golf course.
Palmetto said the neighborhood offering things such as restaurants, breweries and art galleries was another plus. South End is also home to Lowe’s Tech Hub and LendingTree headquarters.
The new Palmetto location will be at 1616 Camden Road and is just under 7,000 square feet, but will expand to over 16,000 square feet next year.
Some employees are already in Charlotte, while others are planning to relocate soon. Additional jobs will be added over time.
“We’re built for the long term and as the company continues to perform and execute, we’ll continue to create roles,” Kemper said. “It will not only benefit Palmetto, but in an indirect way, the city too.”
Palmetto looks to expand
Palmetto is preparing to open office hubs in 2024, including a revamped Charleston office and in San Francisco. The company services 25 states and reaches 72 million customers.
“We’ll eventually expand internationally,” Kemper added.
Palmetto said its work with homeowners helping them switch to solar energy is preventing more than 2 million metric tons of carbon dioxide from reaching the atmosphere. This is the equivalent to 8.2 billion fewer miles driven and 3.7 billion fewer pounds of coal burned, according to Palmetto.
Kemper is hoping other companies and investors join them in Charlotte to bring more clean technology to the area. He said if the company is successful, and eventually has a big presence in the city, it could support other entrepreneurs in the clean tech field.