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You asked Nat Kreamer, President and COO of SunRun, all sorts of questions about solar and power purchasing.


And he was kind enough to answer them!  So read on below...and get the scoop on how you can get solar without getting overwhelmed by the upfront cost.


Q:  Logistically, how do your power purchasing agreements work? [For example, what happens if you move?  Do monthly costs increase over time?] (by stins)

A:  First, monthly costs do not increase over time--when a customer goes solar with SunRun, he or she locks in a low, fixed rate for solar electricity that never increases. SunRun's rate is lower than the utility's rate and is at about 13.5 cents per kilowatt-hour, with the average residential PG&E rate being 16.5 cents. SunRun customers only pay for the solar electricity they use – they don't have to purchase any of the solar equipment. As part of the power purchase agreement (PPA), SunRun owns and maintains the system, monitoring and guaranteeing its performance—meaning that a homeowner never has to climb on a roof to wash panels, pay to fix a broken inverter or worry about the system, which keeps the whole experience truly hassle-free.

SunRun is proud to make solar electricity affordable and hassle-free. To these ends, we provide a flexible agreement that gives the customer different options if he or she decides to move before the end of the initial term, as we find that giving him or her a variety of options is the best way to keep our service consumer friendly. There are three options if you decide to move.  The first solution is to assign SunRun Solar Service agreement to the new homeowner, which provides them with flat-rate clean energy service.  Second, you can purchase the system outright, and wrap the value of the system in the home's value and price. Or finally, you can pre-pay the remaining contract and also wrap the value of that free solar electricity into the selling price of the home.

Q:  On average, how much less is the cost of power after installation of a Sun Run system? (by nitedreamer)

A: How much a customer can save depends on a number of variables, most notably the size of their monthly electricity usage, which determines the amount they pay their utility for electricity. In general, SunRun lowers the upfront cost of a system by about one-half, which allows homeowners to lock in a low, fixed rate for electricity that keeps their electric bills with SunRun significantly lower than what they were with the utility. Over the course of the 18-year contract, homeowners continue to save with this fixed low rate. The best part about SunRun is that homeowners can see the savings right away, and because we keep the upfront payment low, they aren't overwhelmed by the $30,000 or $50,000 cost of purchasing a system outright.

Q:  I presume you've heard of Citizenre, which seems to provide a similar service (or rather plans to in the future).  What's the difference between Sun Run and Citizenre? (by

A: While both SunRun and Citizenre want to lower the costs of going solar and help more homeowners make the switch, each company is pursuing that objective in a different way. At SunRun, we partner with high quality installers and provide a power purchase agreement. Citizenre's plan is to manufacture panels and then rent them to homeowners. There are many differences between SunRun Solar Service and Citizenre's lease, but the biggest is that SunRun already has hundreds of solar electricity systems already installed and generating electricity for customers.; SunRun Solar Service is a transparent, no-nonsense agreement that guarantees a low fixed price for solar electricity.

Q:  Is there any upcoming technology (such as thin film) that you're anticipating adapting? (by dana1981)

A: Our installation partners offer just about every type of traditional photovoltaic panel on the market, which gives our customers a lot of options when their system is designed and installed to deliver their SunRun Solar Service. At the moment, thin film is not viable for residences simply because it requires such a large amount of square footage to deliver the same amount of generation as a solar electricity system that integrates high-efficiency PV panels.,   It's difficult to say whether thin film efficiency will ever be good enough for residential application, but of course we are following advancements in the technology very closely.

Q:  How do you see SunRun and other PPA companies impacting the adoption of residential solar and the development of solar (on a larger scale)? (by jessg)

A:  SunRun is impacting the residential market in a big way: We pioneered the PPA model for the residential market, and are the first company to sell solar electricity to homeowners instead of panels. Already, the PPA model is used in many commercial endeavors, and has been proven as the most successful model for solar adoption.  The commercial market for solar electricity exploded when it was introduced. We believe that this will also be true for residential solar, as it makes more sense to buy solar electricity rather than deal with all the hassles and added costs of buying, installing, maintaining and repairing solar panels yourself.

Q:  With your knowledge of the Solar Industry, what percentage of US power do you believe can be transitioned to solar energy in the next 10 years? (by Deej)

A: The Department of energy has predicted that in the next ten years, 20% of our energy could be met by solar sources, and we see no reason to believe why this prediction will not come true.

Edited by stins - Tue, 12 Aug 2008 17:37:28 GMT