New data from GTM Research shows that the top home solar companies in the 2nd quarter of 2014 were, by far, SolarCity and Vivint Solar. Together, the two companies took over 50% of the market. This is the first time the two have combined to surpass the 50% marker. The milestone is also a bit shocking to me, given how distributed the solar industry is.
Both SolarCity and Vivint Solar offer financing as well as installation, and both are now on the stock market (Vivint Solar just had its IPO).
With the home solar market growing fast, these top home solar companies are growing extremely fast.
Both companies rely heavily on solar leasing or PPAs. Vivint Solar actually offers PPAs only. However, the solar market is shifting to ownership via loans for a number of reasons. SolarCity seems ready to make the shift. It has just started offering its first home solar loans, and it says that it expects its market for that to be between $500 million and $1 billion in 2015.
I think it’s only a matter of time before Vivint Solar expands into loans as well. The writing is on the wall that this is an increasingly important segment of the market.
I would think that the home solar power market would lend itself well to mom & pop companies and a distributed industry, but that’s simply not the way things work in this day and age, and it seems the market is moving more and more toward consolidation. If that’s the case, it is going to be hard for anyone to catch up with SolarCity and Vivint Solar. Sungevity and Sunrun have potential, and Sungevity has actually expanded into Australia and Europe (before the others). But there’s now a big gap between them and the top two home solar companies.