The largest U.S. residential solar installer is now going after small and mid-sized businesses. SolarCity announced Tuesday that it had introduced a new service to help SMBs pay less for solar power than they pay for utility power. SolarCity CEO Lyndon Rive said the solar industry has neglected SMBs for years due to costs and financing difficulties.
How SolarCity plans to cut costs for businesses
To bring down costs for these businesses, the San Mateo-based company will use its own employees to install panels instead of outsourcing the installation work to third parties. The company will also employ a new lightweight panel mounting system that can be installed in as little as two days instead of the usual 2-3 weeks.
Unlike large corporations, the creditworthiness of most small and mid-sized business is not rated. So, the solar installer will use a financing program that lets businesses pay for solar power on their property tax bill. The Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) program has become immensely popular. California has started allowing businesses to use the program to finance their solar systems.
SolarCity remains committed to the residential market
Simply put, the program allows businesses to secure loans for energy-efficiency improvements, which is repaid as part of property taxes over the period of up to 25 years. Lyndon Rive said, under the program, SMBs will pay 5% to 25% less for solar power than they pay for utility power. The service will initially be offered in California, though the company plans to expand it to the East Coast next year.
The move doesn’t mean SolarCity is shifting its focus away from the residential market. Rive said residential market remained the company’s priority. It launched the new program for SMBs due to its desire to keep growing rapidly. The company is scheduled to release its fiscal Q2 results on Wednesday, July 29 after the market closes. Analysts expect SolarCity to post $90.10 million in revenue and quarterly losses of $1.57 per share.
SolarCity shares rose 0.66% to $56.40 in early trading Wednesday.