SolarCity, Vivint take more than half of the U.S. residential market in Q2


SolarCity climbed from 28% to a record 36% share of the U.S. residential installer market from the first to the second quarter of 2014, according to new data from GTM Research. Over the same period, Vivint Solar nearly doubled its market share to 15%.

This is the latest in a trend of increasing consolidation in the residential space, led by two companies that offer integrated financial solutions and installation services. SolarCity and Vivint are taking a larger share of an expanding market, which grew to 247 MW during the quarter.

GTM Research Solar Analyst Nicole Litvak says that both companies have seized momentum. “Once you already have that kind of market share to being with, it’s that much easier to expand through referrals,” notes Litvak. “SolarCity is in about a dozen states. Any state where it is legal to have a PPA or a lease, they’re there.”

Litvak also cites the success of Vivint Solar’s sales model, which comes from the parent company. “Vivint is in fewer states, but with their door-to-door sales model that fits that model better, where they can focus on a specific area and double down on certain neighborhoods that they know are a good target.”

This increasing consolidation has consequences for module and inverter suppliers, and Litvak notes that the two companies use modules from a select range of suppliers. These include Trina Solar, which SolarCity is using, and Yingli and Trina for Vivint.

The companies which benefit from this consolidation will change in future quarters. In early June SolarCity signed a major module supply deal with REC Solar, and additionally has begun work on its "gigafactory" in upstate New York, which will produce modules based on Silevo technology. The company cited the recent tariffs imposed on Chinese PV in both moves.

The impacts of consolidation may be even more dramatic in the inverter space. Vivint Solar exclusively uses Enphase microinverters, which supports Enphase’s role as the leading inverter supplier in the U.S. residential market. Litvak says that SolarCity was getting more than half of its inverters from Power-One during Q2, but notes an increasing share of SolarEdge inverters in its mix.