The two largest solar distributors in the Americas are now the one largest solar distributor. Soligent of Rohnert Park, Calif. has combined with SunWize of San Jose, Calif. to form Soligent Distribution. A release referred to the transaction as "the integration" of SunWize by Soligent.
Sources close to the deal put the combined revenue of the two firms at $170 million.
The firms offer solar product distribution to more than 4,500 dealers, as well as dealer support and services such as project financing, design, materials management, and permitting.
Jonathan Doochin, CEO of Soligent (who is speaking at next month's Solar Summit on the "Opportunities and Threats in the Residential Solar Market"; register here) told GTM in an earlier interview that he saw the firm "at the epicenter of 4,500 dealers -- dealers that come to us for support." Soligent aims to "accelerate adoption of solar while making independent solar dealers more competitive and profitable," according to the CEO.
“The first two decades of the solar industry revolved around advancing the state of technology and lowering the cost of equipment,” said David Kaltsas, SunWize president and COO, in a release. “The next ten years will revolve around services and solutions for getting solar to market more easily."
Soligent recently introduced a service called Solar Engine that helps bring a low-cost backend to small and medium-sized dealers. It lets them focus on their core competencies, whether that be installation or sales. Doochin said that "it lets dealers play to their strengths."
"Think of us as a large back office for anything that a installer or dealer might want," he added. The CEO and COO also spoke of helping lower the cost of capital and helping dealers with permitting, design and logistics.
Doochin characterized the Solar Engine as being able to reduce the type of paperwork that can make dealers "miserable," as well as reducing soft costs and boosting profitability.
Approximately 6 gigawatts of residential, commercial and utility-scale solar capacity are expected to be added in 2014, a 26 percent increase over the record established in 2013, according to GTM Research.
Doochin has suggested that a comprehensive service offering from a large distributor will allow roofers, contractors, and electricians to add solar as a core part of their business.
This type of consolidation in distribution supply chains boosts economies of scale in this growing market -- and continues to chip away at soft costs in the system.