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Report: Third-party-owned solar nears $1 billion in state economic impact

According to a report from San Francisco-based solar power provider Sunrun and PV Solar Report, a solar market data aggregator, third-party-owned solar delivered more than $938 million to the California economy in 2012, marking a single-year record. San Diego, the report also said, was the state’s top city for the year in total value of home solar contracts, third-party-owned or not.

Third-party-owned solar, also known in the industry as solar power service, refers to the relationship between a solar energy system’s owner and its user, and means that a provider, like Sunrun, owns, maintains and insures solar panels on a homeowner's roof. According to the Sunrun/PV Solar Report analysis, California third-party-owned solar generated about the same economic impact in 2012 as in the previous five years combined.

In a statement released with the results, Stephen Torres, founder and managing director of PV Solar Report, said the industry is seeing the most growth in low and median-income ZIP codes.

The total of $938 million represents 74 percent of California’s 2012 home solar market, the analysis noted. Sunrun co-CEO Lynn Jurich said third-party-owned solar has become the preferred model for homeowners because it eliminates upfront costs and removes the hassles of ownership.

That share of total installations for third-party-owned solar was virtually identical -- 75 percent -- in the report’s analysis of the state’s top 10 cities for the year in total value of home solar contracts.

San Diego ranked No. 1 on that list, followed in order by San Jose, Bakersfield, Los Angeles, Fresno, San Francisco, Corona, Murrieta, Clovis and Temecula.

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