Sungevity nails new GE finance

Sungevity, a key rival of SolarCity in the thriving US solar leasing sector, has landed $15m in fresh equity financing led by GE Ventures, following on a $125m financing package it netted earlier this year.

The extra money will allow the California-based company to accelerate the development of new service offerings and further expand its geographic footprint, which currently covers nine US states plus Australia and the Netherlands.

The investment was made on the basis of Sungevity’s “sophisticated technology platform, capital-light business model, and strong potential for growth as rooftop solar hits meaningful scale”, says Colleen Calhoun, senior executive director for GE Energy Ventures.

Sungevity offers potential customers a free online estimate of the costs and benefits of installing a PV system on their homes. In some cases it will then install modules for no upfront cost – instead taking a cut of the earnings generated by the modules over a period of years.

Among the financial institutions that have contributed upfront funding for Sungevity’s expansion is the Netherlands’ Rabobank.

Sungevity had a 3.1% share of the US residential market during the first half of 2012, compared to SolarCity’s 13.3% share, according to GTM Research.

Sungevity chief executive Andrew Birch says the privately held company’s sales have doubled in 2013 compared to last year.

The company counts Lowe’s – which has nearly 2,000 home-improvement stores throughout North America – among its exclusive partners.