Sunlight Financial has been very successful raising money in recent years. In January of this year the company raised $400M and in May of last year it raised $500M, after securing $130M a few months earlier in 2017 to help it expand nationwide. In mid-2015 the company raised $300M.
On April 4th, the company announced an additional $225 million capital raise – bringing the total to $1.55B since 2015. Hudson Clean Energy Partners will finance the loans with capital from its infrastructure fund and a $180 million senior finance facility from Global Atlantic Financial Group.
Sunlight expects to provide financing for more than 9,000 homes with the capital – approximately $25,000 per loan. With the U.S. average solar system size of about 5.7 kW-DC, this suggests an all-in cost of approximately $4.40/W. This price is stronger than national average pricing of ~$3-3.25/W and could reflects finance fees and/or the tendency towards larger system sizes then taking out bank loans. It may also reflect a focus on premium markets.
With 2.2 GW of residential solar installed in 2017, considering the aforementioned 5.7 kW per system, approximately 390,000 residential solar power systems were installed in the U.S. last year. The U.S. broke one million residential solar rooftops sometime in the middle of 2016 – and expects to possibly break two million later this year.
EnergySage’s most recent recent Marketplace Intel Report shows Sunlight just peeking out into the top 10 loan providers by market share.
The company’s growth is part of the general movement away from solar power leases, owned by third parties, toward solar loans and cash purchases. Even some of the largest third-party solar companies are moving toward cash sales, and as emblematic of this trend Tesla sold more distributed PV systems in the fourth quarter of 2017 than it leased.