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SolarCity acquires solar installer, expands to East Coast

Home solar startup SolarCity is expanding its reach to the East Coast. To establish a toehold there, it has acquired solar installation expert Clean Currents Solar, formerly the solar installation division of a Mid-Atlantic green energy company.

The company will begin offering home solar leases and power purchase plans in Maryland and Washington, D.C. by mid-February. The company could consider more Atlantic acquisitions “if there’s a clear growth story,” CEO Lyndon Rive told Bloomberg this morning. The company is hiring for its East Coast operations in Silver Spring, Maryland, putting an emphasis on doubling sales in the first year.

Home solar startups like SolarCity primarily started out in California but are expanding as the solar leasing model grows in popularity and success. SunRun announced last year it would enter the Hawaiian market, while Sungevity said its new round of capital would allow it to expand, potentially to the northeast.

Solar City has perhaps the broadest offering among home solar startups, with solar leases, installation and home energy efficiency solutions and says it pioneered the zero-down solar leasing model. Its competitor, SunRun, says it pioneered the solar leasing model, in which homeowners lease solar panels and pay for power generated by the panels — aided by subsidies and clever financing, the total comes out to equal or less than what traditional utilities charge.


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