U.S. Solar+Storage Rivals Utility-Scale Installations as California Power Shutoffs Hit Home
- Dec 5, 2019 9:43 am GMT
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The U.S. residential solar market is on a fast track, with rooftop deployment numbers rivaling utility-scale plants and wildfire-induced power shutdowns turning more ratepayers in the direction of solar+storage installations.
One key takeaway from the “residential solar horse race at this pivotal moment” is that “the annual output of the most prolific rooftop solar installers is starting to rival utility-scale plants,” Greentech Media reports.
San Francisco-based Sunrun “leads the pack,” writes Greentech, “on track to install more than 400 megawatts this year through its in-house crews and installer partners.” That figure puts Sunrun nipping at the heels of the 400-MW Eland project being developed for the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power by 8minute Solar Energy. Sunrun will actually leave 8minute in the dust, given that the utility-scale project “will take three to four years to fully complete.”
And “Sunrun’s annual installations keep growing,” Greentech says, with sales growing 15% per year, despite projected labour constraints. Across the U.S. residential solar market, Sunrun is the frontrunner by a long shot, with Utah-based Vivint Solar and Tesla placing a distant second and third.
It remains to be seen whether “there’s a market for several companies pumping out a decentralized 400-megawatt power plant every year,” Greentech writes. But business is booming in California, where “the threat of days without power [has] become business as usual in particular parts of the state this fall” and produced a surge of interest in decentralized solar+storage.
In a “particularly stark snapshot of changing customer attitudes,” Greentech says, Sunrun CEO Lynn Jurich reported that in October, which saw the biggest power shutoff thus far by power utility PG&E, the percentage of Bay Area customers choosing storage alongside solar doubled, from 30% to 60%.
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