NRG Energy bets big in California rooftop solar

NRG Energy is expanding rooftop solar business in California with two new offices and adding 100 employees in the state, Reuters  reported.

The new offices will be located in Merced and San Diego. NRG Energy already has offices in Emeryville and San Francisco already employing 1000 employees.

The company is also offering new financing options to customers in California who want to own solar rooftop.

Currently two types of solar financing are popular in the U.S.  Under solar leasing, homeowners pay a monthly fee for their panels while another company owns them.  Loans, on the other hand, are more popular among homeowners because of the general federal tax credits for solar systems.

why-go-solar-infographic by NRG
why-go-solar-infographic by NRG

NRG Energy currently offers solar leasing program featuring energy guarantee, which means if the system doesn’t produce the kilowatt-hours stated in the lease, the company pays the difference. However, if the system produces more power, consumers are entitled to use them without any extra price.  The company takes care of the design, installation, monitoring, and maintenance.

According to Kelcy Pegler, president, NRG Home Solar, leases and power purchase agreements will be the most popular options for customers over the next two years.

NRG’s primarily focus was large scale power generation projects. However, NRG’s recent initiatives like acquisitions of solar installer Roof Diagnostics Solar and online solar marketplace Pure Energies show the company’s growing interest in rooftop segment as well.

With increased focus on residential solar segment in California, NRG Energy is set to take on its rivals in the U.S. As per the latest solar providers’ ranking by GTM Research, NRG Home Solar stood 4th with 2.4 percent of the U.S. solar installation market, behind SolarCity, Vivint Solar and Sungevity.

To further diversify its solar energy business, NRG recently signed agreement to acquire Goal Zero, which focuses on the distributed solar segment. Goal Zero focuses on a variety of solar-based products including portable power chargers, solar panels, solar kits, lights and accessories.