How the 2Q16 Revenues of Downstream Solar Players Compare




The downstream solar (TAN) business is all about capturing market share. Because solar lease contracts and power purchase agreements (or PPAs) typically last for 20 years, a company with a higher market share in the mature stage could get more revenue than a company with less market share.

Major downstream solar players SunPower (SPWR), Sunrun (RUN), Vivint Solar (VSLR), and SolarCity (SCTY) all reported their revenues beating analysts’ 2Q16 revenue expectations.

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For 2Q16, Sunrun reported $122.5 million in revenue compared to $72.7 million in 2Q15. The combined 2Q16 revenue of SunPower’s residential and commercial segments’ revenues (Sunpower’s revenue from its power plant business isn’t included in this comparative analysis) rose from $215.2 million in 2Q15 to $297.1 million in 2Q16.

Vivint Solar reported revenue of $34.9 million in 2Q16 compared to $16.1 million in 2Q15. SolarCity’s 2Q16 revenue came in at $185.8 million compared to $102.8 million in 2Q15.

Growth rate

Higher sales and a rise in the total MW of energy systems placed in service resulted in higher 2Q16 revenue growth for VSLR compared to its peers. 

On a YoY (year-over-year) basis, VSLR’s revenue more than doubled—a rise of ~117%—in 2Q16. SolarCity’s and Sunrun’s revenues rose 81% and 69%, respectively, in 2Q16 on a YoY basis.

Revenue per watt installed

When 2Q16 revenues are considered on a per-watt basis, SunPower has the highest revenue per watt installed at $2.30, followed by Sunrun’s $1.88. SolarCity’s revenue per watt installed came in at $0.92 compared to Vivint Solar’s $0.57.

Lower revenue per watt represents aggressive pricing. On a YoY basis, Vivint Solar’s revenue per watt installed rose 135%, the highest among its peers. The revenues per watt installed by SunPower, Sunrun, and SolarCity rose 11%, 9%, and 70%, respectively.

In the next article, we’ll look at the cost performances of major downstream players in 2Q16.


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