SolarCity partners with DirecTV on marketing deal


In an effort to expand its customer base, SolarCity, the largest U.S. rooftop solar developer, has signed a new marketing deal with satellite pay-TV broadcaster DirecTV to promote its residential solar business.

As part of the agreement, DirecTV technicians will peddle SolarCity’s rooftop installations and leasing deals to pay-TV subscribers in major markets where the solar company is currently active.

The companies announced the marketing deal on Wednesday at DirecTV’s California Broadcast Center facility in Long Beach, where SolarCity recently installed a 1 MW PV system.

On the same day of that announcement, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) filed a civil lawsuit against DirecTV in California federal court accusing the satellite-TV giant of engaging in deceptive advertising. DirecTV, which is in the process of being acquired by telecom giant AT&T pending a review by federal antitrust regulators, has denied the charges. The FTC is seeking a court order to permanently bar DirecTV from continuing such practices and is also seeking unspecified damages for consumers.

SolarCity installs residential and commercial PV systems at little to no upfront cost to customers who sign long-term contracts to buy the electricity from the company.

The group, which saw its net loss last year grow from $151.7 million in 2013 to $375.2 million, is investing most of its revenue into new solar installations that will generate long-term sales. The company, which currently has 190,000 customers in the U.S., is looking to increase that figure to 1 million by 2018.