This afternoon (Feb. 4) Sunrun purchased Mainstream Energy Corp.’s residential division of REC Solar, AEE Solar and SnapNrack. The purchase will allow Sunrun, which primarily operated as a residential solar financing company, to expand its offerings in the residential solar space. It also follows purchases by two of the nation’s other largest residential solar companies, SolarCity and Vivint Solar. The purchase shows the company is diversifying its offerings at a critical time for the residential solar industry, which remains hot, according to at least one industry expert.
It allows Sunrun to acquire consumers, provide the financing and in some cases—in a minority of cases, do some of the installation themselves,” explains Joe Miller EVP at Solar Universe. “So this kind of a pass at them being vertically integrated,” he tells Solar Reviews.
“Previously their business had been strictly financing and I think they realized how valuable touching the consumer’s home ultimately is,” Miller says. “Their business is interesting because to date they worked through third-party companies like ours. It gives them the ability to work through some of the biggest and best.”
"The residential solar market is growing rapidly and this acquisition marks the next step in our multi-channel growth strategy,” said Sunrun CEO Lynn Jurich. “REC Solar's residential division, AEE Solar and SnapNrack complement our thriving channel business and further enable us to fulfill the enormous market potential for home solar nationwide.” REC, according to Sunrun already has more than 11,000 customers across seven states.
The purchase of REC Solar represents Mainstream’s residential solar sales, design and installation services. The purchase of AEE Solar represents Mainstream’s wholesale distribution while SnapNrack is its and mounting systems and hardware businesses. Mainstream will continue to offer commercial solar under the name REC Solar Commercial Corp.
"REC Solar is the industry leader in customer satisfaction and high quality construction, while AEE Solar and SnapNrack bring capabilities that allow us to make solar energy affordable for more consumers, provide superior systems and service, and lay the foundation to become a major energy company," Jurich said.
Solar Universe is a downstream solar integrator like REC solar, Miller says. The company, he says, is the fourth largest residential solar company in the U.S. and one of Sunrun’s biggest partners. “SunRun is meaningful part of our business and we use their services to engage many consumers,” he says. However the company also uses other sources of financing through entities including NRG Energy, Clean Power Finance and Admirals Bank.
Solar Universe plans to continue working with Sunrun. “Right now the consumer solar market is very attractive, consumers are now able to beat the price they’re getting from utility,” he says, adding that has fomented a lot of growth in the industry. “From our perspective still a very hot industry with very modest penetration to date,” he explains.
The acquisition is also allowing Sunrun to expand its executive leadership. Mainstream’s CEO Paul Winnowski will join Sunrun as chief operating officer and its Chairman Timothy Ball joins Sunrun's board of directors. Meanwhile Jurich will continue as Sunrun CEO, while co-founder Ed Fenster will assume the role of chairman. Sunrun chief operating officer Tom Holland will assume the role of president for the company.Tweet