NRG to lay off more residential solar employees

According to anonymous sources cited by Greentech Media, NRG has recently given notice of termination to employees in its residential solar sales and installation teams. This follows the layoff of an estimated 500 employees last May when the company exited its Home Solar brand and shifted its presence in several states from installation to origination and sales for partner companies

The exact number and scope of layoffs in this latest round is not clear. NRG declined to answer pv magazine questions about the job cuts, except to state that it was continuing its move to an “energy integrator” model where it leverages partners including Sunrun and Spruce.

“In May 2016, we made a commitment to both our employees and our investors that we would restructure this business to be a profitable one – consistent with what we expect from all of our businesses,” Marijke Shugrue of NRG’s Corporate Communications division told pv magazine.

“After significant improvements and a diligent assessment, we have determined that the best way to achieve that commitment is to pivot to this new business model.”

The news comes as growth slows in the U.S. residential solar sector. Residential solar installation volumes grew only 19% in 2016 over the previous year, despite a near-doubling of the overall market. During Q3, residential installations actually fell from Q2 levels, the first quarterly decline in years.

It is important to note that the company’s move away from installing residential solar and its Home Solar brand does not mean that NRG is quitting solar. NRG retains a strong presence in the utility-scale and commercial and industrial (C&I) solar sectors, including community solar.

As part of its ongoing progress in community solar, today the company announced subscription agreements with the Red Wing Shoe Company for two of the eight community solar projects the company is building in Minnesota.

NRG says that it will reveal more information on the changes to its residential solar division in a conference call on February 28.