Sungevity Enters Solar Lease Space

As the solar-as-a-service space grows rapidly in the U.S., another company has announced the creation of a lease program for California-based homeowners. Sungevity, an online solar provider is teaming up with U.S. Bancorp to finance 10-year solar leases in the state.

U.S. Bancorp has been very active in the solar-service sector, investing hundreds of millions of dollars over the last 18 months in solar lease companies SolarCity and SunRun. By creating a new tax equity fund to finance solar leases, Sungevity hopes to compete with these industry-leading companies.

“We like the residential solar space and are convinced its growth will outpace commercial solar development in the coming years,” said Darren Van’t Hof, Vice President of Renewable Energy Investments for U.S. Bank.

Currently, there are no 10-year lease programs available to homeowners. Sungevity believes that it can create demand for its services by offering this more flexible option. At the end of the 10-year period, customers can either sign on for another 10 years or purchase the solar system.

Sungevity started offering the solar leases earlier this month, selling 250-kW worth of systems. To design and sell systems, the company uses an “iQuote” process, allowing system designers to use satellite images and aerial photography to assess the solar site. Within a day, the company offers a number of design options for the homeowner, and then hooks the customer up with a solar installer. The company says that this process can reduce installation costs by around 5 percent.

By expanding its services to include solar leases, Sungevity believes it will create much more demand for its online sales model.

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