Sunpower, Tesla, NRG Lead US Commercial Solar Industry, Reveals GTM Research

Sunpower Leads US Commercial Solar Industry

New analysis of the US solar market by GTM Research has revealed that SunPower leads the way as the foremost US commercial solar provider, followed by Tesla and NRG. GTM Research’s Senior Analyst for Distributed Solar, Michelle Davis, published a free research note last week which looked at the […]

GTM Research’s Senior Analyst for Distributed Solar, Michelle Davis, published a free research note last week which looked at the data from the top engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) providers, project developers, asset owners, and other leading companies in the US commercial solar market, resulting in a ranking of the top players in the downstream US commercial solar industry.

The top US commercial solar deployments list is made up of 15 companies which participated in the market in 2017 and were involved in half of all commercial solar capacity as either a developer, EPC, financier, and/or long-term owner, and were led by solar manufacturer SunPower, followed by Tesla and NRG.

Total US Commercial Solar Deployments in 2017

Sunpower Leads US Commercial Solar Industry

SunPower leads the solar insustry by almost double it’s closest competitors, Tesla and NRG

According to Davis, the commercial solar segment “is the most fragmented segment of the US solar market, with numerous companies involved in any single project.”

SunPower has such a healthy lead at 231.2 megawatts (MW) compared to Tesla’s 156 MW and NRG’s 145.7 MW, thanks in large part to its direct installation business as well as its channel partner business, with the latter representing the main source of the company’s 2017 growth. And though SunPower is not involved in the actual installation of its commercial channel partners’ development, it is nevertheless involved in numerous steps through the development cycle including customer lead generation, marketing, financing, and project design. SunPower, therefore, manages to lead the way by being involved in multiple segments of the commercial solar market.

Looking at those companies below SunPower, the data shows that “there is a clear competitive advantage for developers who also own their projects.” For example, Tesla owns 90% of its commercial projects, and in 2017 its installations increased by 2% despite downturns across its residential solar business.

“In a fragmented sector, having more control over multiple steps in the value chain appears to be a winning strategy,” explained Michelle Davis. “As long as developer-owners continue to benefit from this strategy, they will stay at the top of the commercial market.”


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