SolarCity Makes Major East Coast Acquisition

It’s been a big month for leading solar-services company SolarCity. Weeks after closing a $40 million fund with Citi to expand residential installation/financing options, the company acquired the residential solar business of top East Coast installer groSolar.

This follows the acquisition of the solar business of Clean Currents, an installer based in the Mid-Atlantic region. The acquisitions allow SolarCity to enter burgeoning Northeastern markets like Massachusetts and New York and Mid-Atlantic markets like New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

groSolar will continue building its distribution business and commercial installations under the groSolar brand. SolarCity will take over the residential business and integrate its solar leasing options. The purchase brings SolarCity’s services into 10 states nationwide.

To top off the February expansion news, SolarCity brought in Mark Roe, the former senior director of world services for Apple, to be vice president of operations. While at Apple, Roe oversaw international product introductions and product-delivery logistics – an important set of skills to bring to a company expanding as quickly as SolarCity.

This is yet more proof of the dominance of residential solar services like leases and power purchase agreements. Other companies like SunRun, Sungevity and new-entrant BrightGrid have made similar expansions and funding announcements over the past year.

And in surprise news this week, after four years of silence, the controversial early solar-lease company Citizenre announced it had raised $20 million in construction-level debt to install systems under its rental program in California. The company says it’s out to compete with the heavyweights in the sector.

With developments like the ones we’ve seen this month, it’s going to be increasingly hard to catch up with the incumbents.

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I am a reporter with ClimateProgress.org, a blog published by the Center for American Progress. I am former editor and producer for RenewableEnergyWorld.com, where I contributed stories and hosted the Inside Renewable Energy Podcast. Keep in touch through twitter! My profile name is: Stphn_Lacey

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