AWS Startups Blog

Arcadia accelerates climate tech innovation while building on AWS

Data startups know that siloed data can lead to limited visibility that stifles innovation and collaboration, while increasing costs. Unified data allows organizations to derive insights, innovate quickly on behalf of customers, and operate more efficiently.

Kiran Bhatraju, Arcadia founder and CEO

Kiran Bhatraju, Arcadia founder and CEO

Did you know that a lack of unified data is an issue that occurs both within companies as well as across industries? Arcadia, a climate technology company founded by Kiran Bhatraju in 2014, unifies energy utility consumption and pricing data, making the data accessible and useful to businesses and individuals.

Based on his experience at multiple clean energy startups—as well as his time spent shaping energy policy in Washington, DC—Kiran had seen firsthand how difficult it was to innovate in the clean energy space without a single source of utility data.

“Making sure that society moves away from fossil fuels is a huge problem,” Kiran explains. “I founded Arcadia because I did not see a way to transition to clean energy fast enough if utility data was not made available for all of the new clean energy companies coming to market.”

The concept of using software and data as tools in the fight against climate change is what inspired Anil Beniwal to join Kiran as Arcadia’s chief technology officer (CTO). “We have an opportunity to create a foundational data platform that can support the entire climate tech industry,” says Anil.

This climate tech unicorn makes the data easily accessible via their Arc platform and suite of API products. To democratize this access to energy data, Arcadia builds on Amazon Web Services (AWS) as their primary cloud provider.

In addition to bringing energy data to businesses, Arcadia also makes it easier for individuals and companies to join local solar farms—known as “community solar”—to use clean energy while also benefiting from solar credits on their utility bill.

Driving change with data

With thousands of utility providers in over 50 countries—and data coverage for 95% of US of residential and commercial utility accounts—Arcadia is proving that it’s possible to simplify the consolidation and impact of energy data.

Anil Beniwal, Arcadia CTO

Anil Beniwal, Arcadia CTO

Arcadia uses the data to make informed business decisions that support their company’s growth, to create impact in the clean energy industry, and to add value for their customers.

“Data is the heartbeat of our organization,” says Anil. With AWS, “We build sophisticated data acquisition, normalization, auditing, and delivery pipelines. These enable our customers to understand their own energy footprint, to provide new energy experiences to the end customers, and anything in between.”

The impact is substantial. Climate tech innovators are using Arcadia’s platform and API to:

  • Surface the best clean energy prices for commercial builders based on rates and tariffs
  • Create ESG (environmental, social, and governance) scores to help investors make more sustainable financial decisions
  • Help electric vehicle owners find the best-priced vehicle charging stations
  • Enable accurate prediction of solar panel production and costs

“All new energy products need to run through the “big grid”—the trillion-dollar infrastructure of poles and wires—which is probably one of the most incredible engineering feats in the country,” laughs Kiran. “Yet the data from it has never been available in a single source of truth. Arcadia is taking that pain point and making it into something simple for the first time.”

Accelerating Arcadia’s success with the help of AWS

With more than seven years of building on AWS, and as long-time members of AWS Activate—a program for startups— Arcadia agrees firsthand that AWS cloud is the right choice for climate tech companies to build, scale, and go to market.

Benefits such as AWS credits supported their work to build and scale in the early days, while an AWS Well-Architected review empowered them with key insights that helped them select the right AWS services to build up the micro-services stack they would best support their technical goals.

Building their tech stack

With all of their workloads running on AWS, Arcadia balances their technical goals with providing their customers with a great product experience.

“AWS allows us to scale seamlessly. We use a large swath of AWS services to quickly deploy, manage, and monitor our applications,” explains Anil. “Being able to quickly deploy new services and new capabilities—with the push of a button—and scale them to meet demands means we can be more responsive to the needs of our customers and our business.”

On the compute side, Arcadia relies heavily on Amazon Elastic Kubernetes Service (Amazon EKS) for their Kubernetes workloads. Their data acquisition workflows also rely on AWS Lambda, a serverless event-driven service that allows you to run code without managing or provisioning servers.

For queuing, Arcadia uses Amazon Simple Queue Service (Amazon SQS). They chose Amazon EventBridge, a serverless event router, for event streaming between their services.

To meet their database and storage needs, Arcadia primarily uses Amazon Aurora, along with Amazon DynamoDB. Arcadia keeps their historical data and files stored in Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) buckets.

Machine learning is a tool that allows Arcadia to enhance positive outcomes for their customers. “When we take all of that data, we use tools like Amazon SageMaker to help us drive more customer value,” says Anil. “We also use SageMaker to add more efficiency for our internal team.”

Arcadia also leverages many of the AWS security services to ensure a security posture that is compliant with their internal policies, as well as industry best practices.

Optimizing the cost of the cloud

As is the case with many startups, saving money while optimizing their product is a priority for Arcadia. Throughout their company journey, Arcadia has kept a consistent focus on right-sizing their AWS infrastructure to support both their business priorities and customer needs. Additionally, they use AWS tools such as Savings Plans and Amazon EC2 Reserved Instances to improve efficiency and get the most out of their cloud spend.

“By working with the AWS team, we’ve identified ways to bring our monthly costs down through things such as architectural reviews, reserved instance purchases, and savings plans,” Anil explains. “With the AWS team, we were able to find some real opportunities to drive down our costs without sacrificing at all on our customer value.”

Planning for their future growth

Along with building their tech stack on AWS, Arcadia works with their AWS account team to find opportunities that can grow their customer base and provide a better customer experience.

“The startups organization within AWS has been helping us to find new opportunities to scale with our customers,” explains Anil. “One way is by leaning into an offering on the AWS Marketplace as another procurement channel where customers can sign up for the Arc platform.”

Inspiring replicable success

What tenets help Arcadia to succeed in the clean energy sector? Kiran explains there are three important table stakes to building a successful and long-term company:

  1. “Great companies are built by great people.” Having spent a decade leading Arcadia to its current size, Kiran recognizes the importance of “making sure the talent bar is consistently high for your company in its earliest stages, and definitely in its later stages.”
  2. A strong and aligned relationship with your startup’s investors is equally important. “Choose your investors wisely and make sure they’re aligned with both the mission and what you want to build,” Kiran explains.
  3. For early-stage founders especially, Kiran advises that “You have to really care about what you’re building or else you’re going to lose. Be committed to getting through the tough times and be in it for the long haul.”

Building a greener future

Market opportunities for climate tech startups continue to grow as large companies and consumers take a stronger stance on the importance of sustainable choices. By 2027, the climate tech market is expected to reach nearly $1.4 trillion, representing a compound annual growth rate of 8.8%.

Kiran cites the Inflation Reduction Act, which passed in August of 2022, as an example. “That is the largest climate investment by any country in history, with a financial impact between $350 million and $1 trillion,” he says. “It’s a hard opportunity for startups to ignore.”

As others are starting to build, Arcadia plans to continue growing. “One of the things we’re really focused on is making sure that customers have access to all of the data they need,” Kiran says. This includes growing Arcadia’s community solar market, continuing to make their APIs developer-friendly and easy to use, and exploring how working with AWS to incorporate new technology such as artificial intelligence can help Arcadia bring more to the table for its customers.

“Climate tech is the most exciting place to build a career right now,” says Kiran. “I think decarbonization will be bigger than the internet because it will touch every single sector and piece of the economy.”

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Megan Crowley

Megan Crowley

Megan Crowley is a Senior Technical Writer on the Startup Content Team at AWS. With an earlier career as a high school English teacher, she is driven by a relentless enthusiasm for contributing to content that is equal parts educational and inspirational. Sharing startups’ stories with the world is the most rewarding part of her role at AWS. In her spare time, Megan can be found woodworking, in the garden, and at antique markets.