U.S. Residential Solar PV Financing: The Vendor, Installer and Financier Landscape, 2013-2016

by Shayle Kann

Third-party financing of solar PV has become the predominant business model in some of the largest residential markets in the U.S.; today, third-party financed residential installations comprise greater than 50% of new capacity in California, Arizona, Colorado and Massachusetts, with the model gaining greater market share in other states such as Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Texas, Vermont, and Washington.

Prior to 2010, there were few residential third-party ownership (TPO) vendors. SolarCity and Sunrun pioneered the residential third-party financing model, closely followed by Sungevity. SunPower entered not long after, offering residential leases through its enviable dealer network. Today, we count at least ten major TPO companies operating, and a number of others still getting off the ground. Each company has a unique business model; some have an in-house solar renewable energy credit (SREC) trading business, while others offer energy management services such as energy audits in addition to solar installations. 

FIGURE: GTM Research U.S. Residential Solar Finance Landscape Map

Source: GTM Research

This 21-page report from GTM Research provides an integrated look at the vendors, installers and financiers addressing third-party residential markets across 13 U.S. states. The report analyzes the leading vendors and their business models, the strategic relationships and market shares of third-party residential installers as well as the financiers that are capitalizing on the market. In addition, the brief examines the total addressable residential market in the U.S. with forecasts to 2016.

Companies Mentioned Include: American Solar Direct • Astrum Solar • BGE • Blackstone Group • Canadian Solar • Centrosolar • Citi • Clean Power Finance • Cobalt Power • Constellation • Credit Suisse • Energy Capital Partners • Galkos • Goldman Sachs • Google • GRID Alternatives • Hanwha Solar • Hyundai • Kyocera • LG • MorganStanley • Motech • NRG Solar • OneRoof Energy • One Block off the Grid • PetersenDean • PG&E • Q-Cells • Rabobank • REC • REC Solar • Real Goods Solar • Roof Diagnostics • Sharp • SolarCity • SolarWorld • Solar Monkey • Solar Service Center • SunEdison • Sungevity • Sunpower • Sunrun • Suntech • Trina Solar • Trinity Heating and Air • U.S. Bancorp • Verengo Solar • Vivint • Yingli

Shayle Kann Senior Advisor

Shayle Kann advises GTM Research, the market analysis, advisory and consulting division of Greentech Media. GTM Research analyzes and forecasts the dynamics impacting the transformation of the global electricity sector. An expert on next-generation energy, he has presented at conferences around the world, been featured in publications such as The Economist, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Forbes, Bloomberg, Reuters, and Financial Times, spoken at Harvard, Yale, MIT and Columbia, and testified in front of the U.S. House of Representatives.

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