Sunrun maintained its position as the largest residential solar installer in the U.S. in the last quarter of 2019.
As the coronavirus emerges as a potential threat to demand, Wood Mackenzie's solar leaderboard data through Q4 2019 provides a snapshot of the state of play before COVID-19 — and a benchmark against which solar companies’ resilience will be measured after the crisis is over.
In Q4, Sunrun edged out Vivint by only one-tenth of a percent in overall market share for new capacity installations. Sunrun claimed a more decisive residential market lead over Vivint for 2019 as a whole, at 9.2 percent of the market compared to Vivint’s 8.3 percent.
This is an improvement from 2018 for Vivint, however, as the company’s market share trailed Sunrun's by 1.4 percent last year. Vivint showed strong growth in legacy markets such as California, Massachusetts and New Jersey, while Sunrun battled labor shortages throughout mid- to late 2019 and ultimately missed its annual growth guidance.
With 2019 in the books, it is apparent that the Tesla/SolarCity decline which became clear in the first half of the year is not a temporary blip.
Tesla stayed in third place in terms of residential market share every quarter last year, claiming 5 percent market share in the final quarter of 2019. Earlier in the year, privately owned competitors Momentum Solar, Trinity Solar Power and Titan Solar Power looked poised to take over third place if Tesla’s slide continued.
While the former market leader’s volumes remain a fraction of its peak, Tesla’s slight rebound in Q3 and Q4 provides some evidence that its online-only approach to customer acquisition is working to buoy its current market position for the time being.
Loanpal held onto the top spot for residential finance and increased its market share to 15 percent. Sunrun regained its No. 2 spot in the residential financier rankings in Q4, which it had lost briefly to Sunlight Financial in Q3.
For the second year in a row, NextEra Energy ranked No. 1 for ownership of commercial solar projects, with a 7 percent share of the market in 2019. Standard Solar appeared on the scene, tying with CleanCapital for second place at 4 percent market share.
Tesla’s share of the commercial market dropped from 5 percent in 2018 to 2 percent in 2019.
The U.S. residential solar market installed a record 2.8 gigawatts last year as the market diversified beyond the historical “big five” states (California, Arizona, New York, New Jersey and Massachusetts). The U.S. non-residential solar market installed 2.05 gigawatts in 2019.
Wood Mackenzie’s solar PV leaderboard combines detailed project-level data with survey data collected directly from installers and suppliers. The leaderboard contains quarterly state-level market share estimates for installers, inverter manufacturers and module suppliers in the U.S.
Bryan White is a solar analyst at Wood Mackenzie and a contributor to the PV leaderboard. Follow him on Twitter.