Are Solar Leasing & PPAs Going To Suffer From Maturing Solar Market?

A representative of Soligent recently passed along an interesting note regarding a US movement away from solar PPAs and leases. Basically, as solar costs have dropped and banks have warmed up to solar, it has become more and more attractive for homeowners to go solar with cash or a bank loan. That trend is expected to continue. In the following Soligent graph of a home in California, you can see how different options turn out for customers over the course of several years.

solar leasing chart

I’ve previously looked at solar leasing/PPAs vs financing a solar system via a loan vs buying outright with cash and have found a split between leasing/PPAs and getting a loan (buying outright is always better in the long term, but that’s without considering opportunity cost). However, that was just a look at 10 houses in 10 different cities. Furthermore, it was a snapshot, rather than a look at prevailing trends.

Along the same lines as Soligent’s point above, analyst Travis Hoium on Motley Fool recently noted that SolarCity seems to be seeing a bigger % of its business coming from sales despite preferring to do leases.

Travis writes:

I think cash or loan sales will become ever more common in the future, particularly as costs fall. If a consumer buys a system, he can keep the tax benefits as well as all of the cost savings from going solar. As solar loans become more prevalent, we’ll see rates fall to somewhere near SolarCity’s securitization deal, meaning homeowners will be able to take advantage of solar financing without giving ownership out to someone else.

I also think we’ll see installers compete on cost of installation as the number of installers grow, which will cut margins. It’s far easier to compare two cash offers from installers than a 20-year lease to a fixed cost to install a system, which may be the case today. Since SolarCity has better infrastructure in financing, it can offer better rates on leases, expanding margins, but won’t have the same advantage competing for cash sales.

No disagreement here, which is one reason why I’ve bought stock in SunPower but not SolarCity. Specifically regarding that topic, Travis writes:

That’s why I see SunPower, which makes the industry’s most efficient panels and sells through partners, and RGS Energy, which offers a suite of sale options, as better values in the current marketplace. With a $6 billion valuation, SolarCity is priced as if it will generate $2 in value from installations for years to come, but I think that number will fall, particularly as cash sales increase. 

If the shift away from leases does happen, SunPower and RGS Energy will be better able to compete and offer more upside for investors with $4 billion and $200 million market caps, respectively.

SunPower is already profitable, RGS Energy expects to be EBITDA positive in Q4, and SolarCity is still losing money quarter after quarter and can’t generate positive margins on cash sales today. You’d have to assume leases continue to grow and margins remain high to think SolarCity is a value today and that’s not the way I think the market is headed.

To back up this one analysts thoughts and words on a potential shift away from solar leasing & PPAs, here’s a recent graph from GTM Research on the flattening out of these options as a percentage of all residential solar installations over the past few years:

solar leasing flattening out

Interesting stuff. But third-party solar is still clearly dominant. We’ll be keeping an eye on these things in the months and years to come.

Are Solar Leasing & PPAs Going To Suffer From Maturing Solar Market? was originally published on Solar Love!.

Mitsubishi Outlander Plug-in Dominates Sweden’s Plug-in Car Sales (April Report)

In one more Scandinavian electrified vehicle registrations report, Sweden shows its strong preference for plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, especially the beautiful Mitsubishi Outlander Plug-in, which takes the crown with a whopping 60% of the EV market. The only other car to break 10% market share was the Volvo V60 Plug-in Hybrid (14% market share). For January through April, […]

Mitsubishi Outlander Plug-in Dominates Sweden’s Plug-in Car Sales (April Report) was originally published on EV Obsession.

Nissan Leaf Crushes Competition In Denmark Electrified Vehicle Sales

There’s no other way to say it — the Nissan Leaf crushed the competition in Denmark in April. It accounted for 68% of all electrified vehicle registrations. The Tesla Model S was a distant #2 with 12% of the market and the VW e-Up! was close behind it with 10% of the market. The remaining registrations can be counted […]

Nissan Leaf Crushes Competition In Denmark Electrified Vehicle Sales was originally published on EV Obsession.

Nissan Leaf Back On Top In Norway (April Electric Car Registrations Report)

Rising to #1 yet again, the Nissan Leaf overtook the Tesla Model S last month in Norway, in terms of new electric and plug-in-hybrid-electric (PHE) car registrations. The Leaf actually topped the charts in January and February as well. It was only March that saw a big surge in registrations put the Tesla Model S at #1. Interestingly, […]

Nissan Leaf Back On Top In Norway (April Electric Car Registrations Report) was originally published on EV Obsession.

“Fracking Village” Going Solar

A website titled Back Balcombe writes: “Last summer, a company called Cuadrilla came to drill for oil and gas. It did not go well. So the village did what villages do best: they held a public meeting.”

But this meeting resulted in more than complaining. It was one of countless such meetings across the world that led to a clean energy transition. In this case, a clean energy co-op called REPOWERBalcombe.

“They’re building enough community-owned solar power to match the electricity needs of every home in the village. It’s bold, it’s brilliant, and it should be the shape of things to come.”

There isn’t a lot more info there, but there’s an option to sign up for updates, and I did snap a few screenshots that I think are worth seeing:

Solar Power Price

Germany Renewables


Yes, I’m sure that first one looks familiar to many of you, as it’s the same one we often share but with white bars instead of blue. The source of the data is Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

“Fracking Village” Going Solar was originally published on Solar Love!.