Third party-owned solar in California generated $938 million last year, amounting to almost 75% of new installations in the state.
That record figure comes from a new report from research firm PV Solar Report and Sunrun, a residential solar firm that specialises in third-party owned solar.
Third-party ownership – in the form of solar leasing and purchase power agreements (PPAs) – means that homeowners pay for the electricity generated from PV panels, but the system is owned and maintained by a company like Sunrun.
These figures cover the total dollar amount of solar contracts for 2012, and indicate that third-party ownership generated as much in the last 12 months as for the previous five years in Californai.
“Nearly 75% of homeowners who went solar in 2012 chose third-party-owned, compared to 56% in 2011,” said Stephen Torres, Founder and Managing Director of PV Solar Report.
“We are seeing the most growth in low and median-income zip codes as companies like Sunrun continue to remove the barriers to access.”
The report also looked at top solar cities in California for 2012, based on the value of system contracts, with San Diego, San Jose and Bakersfield topping the list.
“Solar service is bringing solar to more American families not only because it eliminates the upfront cost, but also because it removes the hassles of ownership,” said Sunrun co-CEO Lynn Jurich.
“Homeowners feel the impact of a tight economy and are looking for ways to own less in order to save more money. Our business model meets those needs, plus it helps the planet.”