The World's #1 Renewable Energy Network for News, Information, and Companies.

Third-Party Residential Solar Surging in California; Nearly a Billion-Dollar Business

Statistics released this week by SunRun and the PV Solar Report show the growing popularity of residential solar energy in general, and third party-owned solar in particular.

Third party-owned solar installations have grown significantly in the past few years, and now represent more than half of new solar capacity in California and a handful of other states, according to Greentech Media. For residents, outright self-ownership might be more expensive up-front but could generate an overall higher return, but along with ownership comes decisions about maintenance and other issues, notes Stephen Torres, managing director of the PV Solar Report. With the third-party model, "all that other stuff is taken care of; someone will do it for you, and for lower overall cost."

Total solar energy systems in California rose 54 percent in 2012 to nearly 40,000, according to the PV Solar Report. In terms of contract dollar values, more than $1.2 billion of solar energy systems were sold, a 41 percent increase from 2011. Third-party owned solar delivered than $938 million to the California economy in 2012, an 86 percent jump from a year ago and roughly equaling the previous five years combined, according to their report.

 

 

San Diego, San Jose, and Bakersfield all reported more than 1000 total solar energy systems sold in 2012, and Los Angeles, Murrieta, and Temecula all doubled their total installations from a year ago.

Note what these communities have in common: a lot of sun, and high electricity prices. San Francisco is an outlier for the former, but certainly not the latter; it's also one of the bigger adopters of third party-owned solar.

Third party-owned solar system sales doubled to nearly 29,000, and now represent 74 percent of the state's home solar market, up from 56 percent of homeowners who went solar via the third-party route in 2011. San Diego, Murrieta, and Temecula, all tripled such systems from a year ago. Third-party sales are particularly favored in Clovis, Bakersfield, Fresno, and Murrieta, where they represented more than 80% of total systems sold in 2012.

"We are seeing notable growth across the board, with a particular emphasis on growth in median-income zip codes," explained Susan Wise, SunRun's 'consumer educator,' in an emailed response. "The concept that solar is limited to wealthy, coastal communities is a myth." (SunRun, of course, is among the vendors who provide such third-party solar services, from system ownership to maintenance to insurance.)

The wide adoption of third-party-owned solar systems are indeed taking a chunk out of the market of cash deals where the homeowner buys and owns the system), but not as extensively as expected, noted Torres. "We expected those to be cannibalized completely," he said, but cash sales have "really stayed the course."

 

 

Torres offered a peek inside the massive and granular master database, which tracks and compares solar systems at the city, installer, and component level. Another interesting correlation reveals the different marketing strategies among panel suppliers -- SunPower has the largest share of modules sold, and not by small margin, despite not having a presence among the top three installers who put in residential solar systems in California (SolarCity, Verengo, and REC). That illustrates the power of building a large installer network, as opposed to other panel brands which choose a price/volume strategy, he noted.

RELATED ARTICLES

Solar panels

New Tool Helps Utilities Manage the Rapidly Growing Community Solar Market

Vince Font, Contributing Editor Community solar projects are among the fastest growing solar segments in the U.S with some estimates forecasting that community solar initiatives will be responsible for the addition of 500 MW (megawatts) of annual capacity...
Pope Francis

A 9-Minute Guide To Pope Francis’ Encyclical on Climate Change

Jim Lane, Biofuels Digest Pope Francis issued Laudato si’ (Praise Be to You) On the care for our common home, his second encyclical, concerning Catholic doctrine with respect to climate change, consumerism, and development.

Intersolar Europe 2015: Spirits Up, Stats Down

William P. Hirshman, Contributor Intersolar Europe, billed at the world’s leading exhibition for the solar industry, is indeed big. But Intersolar Europe 2015, one of five Intersolar-branded gatherings around the globe each year, was not as large as the an...
US Capitol

Republicans and Democrats Back Bill to Level the Playing Field for Renewable Energy

Vince Font, Contributing Editor U.S. Senators Chris Coons and Jerry Moran are leading a bipartisan effort to reintroduce tax code legislation aimed at leveling the playing field for renewable energy investment. The Master Limited Partnerships Parity Act w...
Jim is Contributing Editor for RenewableEnergyWorld.com, covering the solar and wind beats. He previously was associate editor for Solid State Technology and Photovoltaics World, and has covered semiconductor manufacturing and related industries, ...

CURRENT MAGAZINE ISSUE

Volume 18, Issue 3
1505REW_C11

STAY CONNECTED

To register for our free
e-Newsletters, subscribe today:

SOCIAL ACTIVITY

Tweet the Editors! @megcichon @jennrunyon

FEATURED PARTNERS



EVENTS

NFMT Orlando

NFMT Orlando is a trade show and educational conference for facility pro...

Green Sports Alliance Summit

The annual Green Sports Alliance Summit is the world’s largest and...

SAP for Utilities

The SAP for Utilities conference is the most comprehensive SAP for Utili...

COMPANY BLOGS

Five Ways GreenLancer Creates High Quality Solar Designs

High quality solar designs don’t have to take weeks to get back to...

How To Ace A Presentation

Most sales professionals are asked to give presentations from time to ti...

More Middle-Class Massachusetts Residents Are Going Solar

Massachusetts is known for the Pilgrims, Boston cream pie and its excell...

NEWSLETTERS

Renewable Energy: Subscribe Now

Solar Energy: Subscribe Now

Wind Energy: Subscribe Now

Geothermal Energy: Subscribe Now

Bioenergy: Subscribe Now  

 

FEATURED PARTNERS