Sungevity rebounds with two Hawaiian grid edge providers


Sungevity has had a bumpy road these last few years. After a messy implosion in March 2017, the brand returned in August 2017 in the merger of Horizon Solar Power and Solar Spectrum, the latter of which held much of the original company’s assets. This new Sungevity expanded further in September of last year with the acquisition of BrightCurrent and the solar sales division of Skyline Solar.

And the progress has not been shabby: the new Sungevity has returned to become the 7th largest residential solar provider in the nation as of the first half of this year, according to Wood Mackenzie Power & Renewables U.S. DG Service (formerly GTM Research). This gives it a 1% market share.

Today the company announced that it is making a major move into the Hawaiian solar and battery storage market, with the acquisition of two companies that go beyond solar into batteries and energy management: Hawaii Energy Connection and E-Gear.

Like Sungevity, Hawaii is also on the rebound. The island state was forced to move whole-hog into paired solar and storage with regulators abruptly shut down net metering in late 2015, and since then the island’s solar market has struggled through a series of policies that greatly restrict the ability of owners of behind-the-meter PV systems to export electricity to the grid.

But where rooftop solar has struggled, batteries have flourished, and some of the nation’s largest residential solar providers have launched combined solar and battery products in the state. As shown by California this is the direction that behind-the-meter markets are moving as they reach higher penetrations of solar, and as such this can be seen as the Hawaiian market being forced to mature more quickly.

And this is where these two companies come in.

Hawaii Energy Connection is a provider of solar PV, battery storage and solar water heating for homes and businesses. This includes its KumuKit hybrid packages which include home energy management and optional battery systems. The company has branded its products as a way to deal with restrictive policies in Hawaii, with a tagline of “don’t buy more PV than you need or waste the power that you generate”.

E-Gear moves further towards the “grid edge”, with offerings of energy management controllers, batteries and AC combiners to provide intelligence and energy use control to both energy consumers and utilities.

Sungevity notes that these acquisitions will allow it to provide solar solutions integrated with energy storage and management, and this will not only apply to Hawaii. “Joining the Sungevity team enables us to offer our advanced energy solutions across the United States while at the same time providing more resources and capabilities as we expand services to our customers here in Hawaii,” said Steve Godmere, Co-Founder and Managing Partner of EGear and Hawaii Energy Connection.

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