SolarCity, the U.S.’s largest residential solar installer just made it easier for the public to invest in solar power—even if it’s for their neighbor! Yesterday (Jan. 15) the company announced that it will soon launch a web-based investment system that will allow individuals and investors of all sizes to invest in solar power.
The news comes shortly after SolarCity was announced the leader in residential solar installations in the U.S. by Greentech Media’s US PV Leaderboard, with 32 percent of the U.S. market’s residential installations. In naming SolarCity the leader GTM said that it’s diverse sales strategies played a major role in its ability to capture nearly a third of the residential solar market, observing that the company has partnerships with companies like Home Depot, Honda, and Viridian Energy, which help it find new potential customers. "The installer has been quick to enter and dominate new residential growth markets such as New York and Connecticut," said GTM Research Solar Analyst Nicole Litvak.Now SolarCity is looking to more diverse ways to fund its installations. As such it purchased Common Assets LLC, a financial technology company that developed the investment platform SolarCity plans to use to distribute its new investment offerings, the company said.
“People want to support clean energy development. Customers are seeing the benefits of getting solar for their homes but they would like to participate in other ways as well,” said SolarCity CEO Lyndon Rive. “Previously, only institutional investors could participate in the financing of most solar assets. With our investment platform, we’re hoping to allow far more individuals and smaller organizations to participate in the transformation to a cleaner, more distributed infrastructure.”
“SolarCity’s financial products will provide an exciting new opportunity for people to make an impact—both for their own financial future and our global future—by investing in the shift to solar energy,” said Tim Newell, president of Common Assets, who will stay on with SolarCity as its vice president of financial products. Newell formerly advised US Renewables Group, and served as a manager at E*Trade and Draper Fisher Jurvetson “Unlike crowdfunding and community solar approaches that typically aggregate investors to provide loans for individual projects, SolarCity plans to offer debt investments backed by diversified portfolios of solar assets.” As such in investment in the new product offerings will be backed by numerous installations and investments and not just one, increasing the promise of a return on investment.
At this point however, SolarCity has not yet launched the platform and is not offering any securities. The company said it has not determined the terms or structure of the securities it plans to offer through the platform.