Report: 73.4% of new home solar systems in California are third-party owned

A report released yesterday found that almost 75 percent of Californians going solar now choose third-party owned systems.

The report, released by Sunrun and PV Solar Report, claimed that third-party owned solar reached a record level of 73.4 percent of residential solar systems in California in February 2012. Almost 3 out of 4 households installing a PV system decide not to purchase a PV system outright.

New PV system installation in California. Credit: PV Solar Report

Sunrun President and co-founder Lynn Jurich says consumers are now more frequently opting for solar power service because “it’s a smart financial choice.” The company claims that one in three Californians choose Sunrun when switching to solar.

“Sunrun relieves customers of operational responsibility so they get the choice for affordable clean energy without the hassle of owning equipment,” she continued. “This encourages more homeowners to make the switch to solar, which catalyzes economic growth at the local and state levels.”

Sunrun offers both solar leasing and purchase power agreements (PPAs), with the company owning, insuring and maintaining PV panels installed on a homeowner’s roof. Under a solar lease, homeowners pay a fixed monthly amount, regardless of energy produced, whereas under a PPA, homeowners pay a fixed rate for the electricity produced.

The analysis is based on data from the California Solar Initiative (CSI), which includes data from the California utilities SDG&E, PG&E and SCE.

The report further found that 3rd-party-owned solar grew 174 percent in the first two months of 2012 compared to the same period last year, and that these options have generated over $100 million in growth for the California economy so far this year.

“This trend is taking hold on a national scale,” said Stephen Torres,founder and managing director of PV Solar Report.

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