A New Solar Leasing Company Is In Town

Based in New York but operating in California, BrightGrid has just entered the marketplace as a new solar leasing company, taking on established solar leasing giants such as SunRun and SolarCity.

Like all the solar leasing programs, homeowners that choose to lease solar PV equipment pay a small upfront fee to the leasing company to have a system installed on their homes.  Then they pay a monthly fee to the leasing company for a fixed period — in most cases, 20 years, for BrightGrid it’s 18 years.  The leasing company owns (and sometimes maintains) the system and collects any renewable energy credits (RECs) associated with it.

BrightGrid says that what is different about its offering is that it works solely through installers instead of originating customers itself, like SolarCity and SunRun, who are actively involved in marketing and branding their leases.

BrightGrid is really focused on the financial services end of the market, said Steve Crawford, CEO.  BrightGrid makes its technology platform available to its integrator partners who handle every other piece of the transaction from attracting the customers, to making the sale and installing the equipment.  The installer is then responsible for fixing any problems associated with the system through the warrantees it offers. 

Crawford said the BrightGrid will not actively maintain the systems it leases but that it will monitor them to ensure that PV power output is maximized.  Should its monitoring equipment alert BrightGrid to a possible problem, the company will follow-up through the original installer.  Since BrightGrid is collecting the RECs, it will certainly be in its best interest to make sure the systems operate efficiently.  And Crawford said that customer satisfaction is also key to the success of his company, of course.

BrightGrid isn’t releasing the names of its partners yet, said Crawford, but he said that a proven track record of quality systems using quality equipment is a prerequisite for a partnership. 

BrightGrid is currently running a pilot program in northern California in the PG&E service territory but has plans to expand to the southwest, to states along the eastern seaboard and to other states that aren’t being served by the solar market yet, said Crawford.

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Jennifer Runyon has been studying and reporting about the world's transition to clean energy since 2007. As editor of the world's largest renewable energy publication, Renewable Energy World, she observed, interviewed experts about, and reported on major clean energy milestones including Germany's explosive growth of solar PV, the formation and development of the U.S. onshore wind industry, the U.K. offshore wind boom, China's solar manufacturing dominance, the rise of energy storage, the changing landscape for utilities and grid operators and much, much, more. Today, in addition to managing content on POWERGRID International, she also serves as the conference advisory committee chair for DISTRIBUTECH, a globally recognized conference for the transmission and distribution industry. You can reach her at Jennifer.Runyon@ClarionEvents.com

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