America's rooftop solar market has entered a new era defined by customer ownership and local installation.
Starting in 2012, third-party leases and PPAs dominated residential solar — at one point making up nearly three-quarters of installations. As better loan products hit the market and solar costs fell, that number slid downward. Last year, third-party ownership accounted for 41 percent of all rooftop solar installed. This year, it'll likely fall to 38 percent. Customers want to own their systems.
Tesla's de-emphasis of solar was a major reason for the market change. Vivint's shift to loans also played a big role. Meanwhile, local installers are finding it easier to partner with loan providers. The result: the continued rise of the solar long tail.