If you had asked that question three years ago, you might have thought that SolarCity, the largest residential solar installer by far, was going to keep growing fast while raising (and losing) vast sums of money. SolarCity would continue its market dominance by grinding down cost-per-watt with software, scale and strategic acquisitions (such as Zep’s mounting gear and Silevo’s solar cell technology).
Solar leases from a vertically integrated national solar installer jacked up on Silicon Valley DNA were supposed to crush the local or regional installer model. But instead, growth was slowing, loans were in vogue, Wall Street was disenchanted, conventional accounting methods revealed deep losses, and local installers were winning.
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