SolarCity to sell low-cost PV systems in Best Buy

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SolarCity – the U.S. solar company that provides customers with a 20-year lease for its PV systems – has announced that it will soon begin selling its low-cost products at 60 Best Buy stores across the country.

Following a successful trial run at two Best Buy stores in California and New York last year, SolarCity will employ sales representatives at 35 stores in California, and more in Hawaii, Oregon, Arizona and New York.

Best Buy customers will be able to chat with the SolarCity sales reps, who will provide estimates of energy and cash saved, as well as giving potential customers an idea of what a PV system will look like once installed on their house.

"People go to Best Buy to buy all sorts of devices and appliances, and almost everything you buy consumes a tremendous amount of electricity – your flat screen TV, your dishwasher," said Lyndon Rive, SolarCity’s CEO and cousin to entrepreneur founder, Elon Musk. "Now we can sell a product that addresses those energy needs."

Making solar simple

SolarCity’s unique selling point for customers is its leasing model. The company’s home-installed solar systems require no upfront charges to the customer. Instead, the costs for equipment and installation are covered by investors and banks. The customer simply signs up to a 20-year lease and pays only for the electricity they use.

The collaboration with Best Buy is rooted in a shared revenue model, with the retail giants taking a percentage of each sale made. SolarCity will also offer a $100 Best Buy gift card to any customer that signs up for a lease before April 22, which is Earth Day.

The solar leasing model championed by SolarCity has shown impressive growth across the U.S., helping the residential solar PV market become the fastest growing solar sector in the country last year. SolarCity estimate that 62% of U.S. homeowners are interested in installing solar panels on their homes, but so for fewer than half a million households currently have rooftop panels installed.

While California leads the way, SolarCity’s presence in some of the lesser-heralded markets is having a positive impact, not least in Hawaii, where there are two Best Buy stores and 6.9 MW of PV installed across the island. Currently, SolarCity is Hawaii’s seventh-largest solar PV company, but hopes to shoot up the rankings following this latest collaboration.