Sungevity just announced that Rabobank, a Dutch bank, has established a residential solar fund to support more than $50 million of new U.S. residential solar lease projects. Sungevity is growing fast in revenue and headcount, along with having raised funds to support over $175 million in residential solar projects. Sungevity founder Danny Kennedy called Rabobank one of the few remaining AAA-rated banks.

Sanyo North America just teamed up with BrightGrid Solar to offer a residential solar leasing program to help get Sanyo's high-efficiency (and high-cost) modules installed on consumer rooftops.

U.S. Bancorp, which seems to have a very strong appetite for the tax-equity funding of solar roofs from firms such as Sungevity, SunRun, and SolarCity, funded another $75 million for residential solar with partner Vivint in Utah, Hawaii, and New York. Vivent is using Zep Solar for the mounting portion of the installation.

A few weeks ago we broke the news that OneRoof Energy had raised a $50 million round A and project fund for opening up solar installation to the roofer trade and installing solar on a roof when it is being built or rebuilt.

Late last month, Clean Power Finance received a $75 million fund from Google to finance residential solar projects.

Third-party financing of solar, be it some form of lease or power purchase agreement (PPA), is becoming the leading method by which homeowners can afford to install solar. June of this year was the first month in which more Californians elected to go with a third-party-owned solar installation rather than a cash purchase, according to PV Solar Report.

This form of financing was largely non-existent in solar a decade ago, but SunEdison pioneered the process for commercial installs and firms like SunRun, Sungevity, SolarCity and, more recently, Clean Power Finance and OneRoof Energy have joined the fray with their own slant on the finance tool for residential solar.

Growth in this financing method is true for non-residential installs, as well. This chart from GTM Research shows the growth of third-party financing in non-residential CSI deployments -- 17.6 megawatts in the first quarter of 2011 up from 7 megawatts in the previous quarter.


Here's some more data out through Q2 2011, again drawn from GTM Research's Solar Market Insight on residential third-party ownership in megawatts.


More data from GTM Research's Solar Market Insight, this on Xcel, the Colorado utility's third-party solar ownership share:



Recently, SolarCity told Greentech Media that 12,000 of their more than 15,000 solar projects completed or underway have chosen financing options. Solarcity's numbers are from across the U.S. and vary in size from residential to commercial.