Sunrun, one of the United States’ leading residential solar developers, announced this week that it has recently completed expanding into seven new US state markets, nearly doubling its market reach in just under four months.
The California-based company bills itself as the largest dedicated residential solar, storage, and energy services company, though it falls behind larger companies like SolarCity. However, while its nationwide ranking may not explode immediately, Sunrun has just finished expanding its market share, extending its reach into seven new markets — New Mexico, Rhode Island, Texas, Vermont, Wisconsin, Washington D.C., and Florida — states which, according to recent analysis, add nearly 12 million candidate homes for residential solar systems. This effectively doubles the company’s addressable market, thanks also to expanding operations in Pennsylvania, and re-entering Nevada after the state’s policymakers passed legislation re-allowing solar net metering. (Vivint Solar, another of Sunrun’s competitors, similarly announced that it was re-launching its Nevada services following the passing of the same legislation.)
These recent expansions subsequently bring Sunrun’s total market reach up to 22 states and Washington, D.C., and according to the company’s announcement, “offer another proof point of the inevitability of solar. It demonstrates that falling solar installation costs, combined with strong consumer demand for energy choice, are increasing homeowners’ access to solar power.”
“Expanding to these new markets will give homeowners the opportunity to power their homes directly from their rooftops, making energy more affordable and the electric grid cleaner and more reliable,” said Lynn Jurich, CEO of Sunrun. “Better yet, we provide this service by creating one of our country’s other great needs: new, highly paid jobs that can be neither exported nor automated.”
The move takes advantage of larger global swings in solar cost momentum, which has surprised just about everybody — even the optimists among us. A new report published this week by GTM Research Solar Analyst Ben Gallagher predicts that the average global solar price could decline by 27% by 2022 — and there’s very little that is likely to stem this downward trend.
Unless you are a solar company in America, each of which is currently waiting to hear whether the country’s International Trade Commission (ITC) will rule in favor of a trade filing by Chinese-backed solar company, Suniva, which has asked for a $0.40/watt tariff for cells and a floor price of $0.78/watt on modules. Separate reports from the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) and GTM Research have expanded on just what a Suniva favorable ruling could do, with SEIA explaining that 88,000 jobs, or a third of the country’s solar workforce, would be lost, while GTM warns the ruling could slash two-thirds of expected installations through to 2022.
One cannot help but hope that Sunrun haven’t unintentionally stretched themselves too thin on pretenses which will prove false if the ITC rules in favor of Suniva.