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Published on May 24th, 2016 | by Joshua S Hill


Top 10 US Commercial Solar Developers Account For Only 42% Of Market

May 24th, 2016 by  

The top 10 commercial solar developers in the US only account for 42% of the total US commercial market, according to new figures published this week.

According to figures published in GTM Research’s latest report, U.S. Commercial Solar Landscape 2016-2020, the US commercial solar market is much more fragmented than its companion residential solar market, where the top three companies installed nearly half of the residential segment total in 2015.

“The fragmented commercial developer landscape is largely the result of bottlenecks in the customer origination process that make it difficult for any individual player to consistently grow,” according to Senior Solar Analyst and report author Nicole Litvak. “There are therefore no dominant players driving the overall market growth, as SolarCity does in residential.”


As can be seen in the above graphs, the commercial solar industry still has leading players, with SolarCity and SunPower leading the way. The 13 leading national commercial developers, as highlighted in the report, have a number of common criteria for their success, according to GTM, including “an emphasis on originating large deals for Fortune 500 customers, a captive source of low-cost capital, and the ability to offer ancillary products and services such as energy storage.”

Additionally, the report highlights how regional developers are having more success in the commercial solar sector than national developers, however, this also results in more difficulty in financing the projects. “The commercial market has struggled to efficiently match individual projects with financing,” added Litvak. “Furthermore, there is almost a complete lack of tax equity financing available for systems with non-creditworthy customers.”


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  • ROBwithaB

    I suspect that we’re going to see this situation change quite dramatically over the course of the next decade or so.
    Sure there will still be strong regional players, but the ability to integrate things like demand response, EV charging, peak shaving, centralised tenant billing, etc etc into one holistic solution tends to favour the larger players.

    In fact, the installation might simply be subcontracted out to the local guys, whilst the valuable, specialised long-term stuff is kept in-house.

  • neroden

    This is as it should be. The construction industry also doesn’t have “dominant construction companies”, thank goodness.

  • Don Osborn

    The fact that we have a lot of competition and smaller more diverse firms in the commercial is nothing but a good thing. Glad to hear it.

  • Bryan

    The solar leasing company cannot gain additional market share because the market has matured. The low hanging fruit has been picked. Consumers are no longer falling for the leasing/PPA company’s overpriced gimmicky financing.

    Consumers today want low prices. They want a deal and the overpriced solar leasing companies can’t give them that.

  • JamesWimberley

    Why is this bad news? Diversity of supply, competition, and local roots are all valuable. I would put it the other way round: the domination of SolarCity in US residential solar is not a good thing. It overshadows local businesses, and relies on rent extraction from uninformed and cash-strapped customers using a dubious financing model.

  • Mike333

    Because they’re overcharging???

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