SolarCity, one of our 2011 Most Innovative Companies, just got a little bit bigger. The largest solar installer on the West Coast this week acquired the residential installation division of groSolar, the largest solar installer on the East Coast.
Before the acquisition—which added Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania to its footprint—SolarCity was already the country's largest solar service provider by project volume. As of this week, the company also has the largest residential solar installation reach in the nation, with 21 operations centers in 10 states.
"SolarCity will be able to offer solar to many homeowners and businesses in the Northeast at or below the cost they currently pay for electricity," said Lyndon Rive, CEO of SolarCity, in a statement. "We expect thousands of additional homeowners in the Northeastern states to go solar this year, while local incentives are strong." SolarCity doesn't sell solar panels to customers—instead, it offers homeowners the opportunity to lease panels for a monthly fee and a fixed electricity cost (potentially allowing customers to avoid rising electricity prices over the years). SolarCity also offers free repair and monitoring services. In addition to taking over the solar installation space, SolarCity does have another end goal: bringing the cost of solar to parity with grid power through economies of scale by 2016. Considering how fast the company has grown since its inception in 2006, we wouldn't be surprised if it succeeds.