Home solar-panel leasing company SolarCity has raised $14.8 million of a planned $42 million funding round, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
SolarCity leases residential solar panels for a 15-year period, handling all the maintenance during the life of the lease. The electricity generated by the panels powers homes directly, taking some load off the electric grid. The company works in the “distributed solar” space, which is designed to help reduce some of the strain on power grids during peak usage hours when homes are drawing more electricity for air conditioning or, in the future, electric car charging.
Google recently created a $280 million fund for residential solar power projects run by SolarCity. The fund gives SolarCity the capital it needs to create more reasonable financing options for homeowners who are interested in installing solar panels on their roofs but don’t necessarily have the cash to buy panels outright.
SolarCity is currently the second-largest provider of residential solar panels behind SunRun. SolarCity has a market share of around 14 percent of the leasable solar panel market, while SunRun has a market share of around 28 percent.
A study done by the University of California at Berkeley found that home values increase when solar panels are installed. The study found that homes with solar panels sold for an extra $5.50 per watt of solar power installed, for an average of $17,000 more per house. That goes against a lot of not-in-my-backyard arguments that have been plaguing clean energy providers because some homeowners see solar panels and wind turbines as an eyesore.