The residential market installed 792 MW in 2013, representing 60% annual growth.
Over the past three years, the U.S. residential solar market has been distinguished by its remarkably consistent incremental growth. On a national level, residential solar has steadily gained steam as homeowner financing options (leases, loans, and PPAs) become more widely available, system costs continually decline, and market participants innovate. Some of the most impactful developments in 2013 included:
- Evolving Channel Strategies – Residential solar installers and originators spent much effort in 2013 honing their strategies to reach customers. Some announced new retail partnerships (e.g., with Home Depot, Toyota), while others linked up with electricity retailers or local service professionals. We expect to see further diversification of sales channels in 2014, including a number of new partnerships with electricity suppliers, the entry of cable and other home service providers, and potentially an increased role for local banks in solar sales.
- Financial Innovation – Though its immediate impact is small, the long-term impact of SolarCity’s first securitization of distributed solar assets is likely to be huge. Securitizing pools of residential solar assets can both lower the cost of capital and increase its availability – removing two of the primary historical barriers to growth in the residential sector. In 2014, another residential system owner will almost certainly securitize its own portfolio and, if all goes according to plan, yields on these pools will begin to decrease.
Most notable about 2013 was the Q4 boom, in which installations jumped 33% over the previous quarter – the largest quarterly increase in recent history.
* Excerpted from SEIA/GTM Research “U.S. Solar Market Insight: 2013 Year in Review”