Sungevity is a global solar electricity company based in Oakland, California. Founded in 2007, it was the first American solar company to design residential solar energy systems remotely over the Internet, using satellite imagery. This Remote Solar Design (RSD) strategy allows Sungevity to offer a firm price quote and system design without visiting the home. The company designs home solar systems; provides financing options; and manages system installation, maintenance, and performance.
Sungevity operates in the United States, the Netherlands, and Australia. Within the United States, Sungevity installs solar solutions in California, Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Maryland, New Mexico, Vermont, Delaware and Washington D.C.. In 2012, the company reported having more than 250 employees.
Co-Founder and president Danny Kennedy is a former campaigns manager for Greenpeace and authored the book "Rooftop Revolution: How Solar Power Can Save Our Economy - and Our Planet - from Dirty Energy" (2012).
In 2010, Sungevity developed its Solar Lease payment option to make solar energy more affordable. The lease allows homeowners to install solar power generation with little to no upfront cost: the price of the solar panels and system are instead paid over twenty years. Before lease financing was applied to the solar industry, most customers experienced a return on their investment in solar-energy equipment only after many years. Leases allow customers to experience an immediate return on their investment.
Sungevity offers additional financing options including cash loans and power service agreements.
Sungevity was founded in 2007 by Danny Kennedy, Andrew Birch (CEO), and Alec Guettel. On September 22, 2009, Sungevity announced that it had raised $6 million to expand its services to Southern California and California's Central Valley. On May 1, 2010, Sungevity partnered with US Bank and launched its Solar Lease program.
In December 2010, Sungevity raised an additional $15 million toward its Series C funding round, led by existing investors including Greener Capital and Firelake Capital, and with new investor Brightpath Capital Partners, an OaklandImpact investment fund. In 2011, Sungevity established partnerships with U.S. Bancorp, Rabobank, and Citigroup to fund residential solar installations. Also in 2011, Lowe's, the world's second-largest home-improvement retailer, purchased a stake in Sungevity.
In April 2014, Sungevity raised $70 million in equity, its biggest funding round yet. Investors included General Electric, Lowe's, Jetstream Ventures, and E.ON, Europe's largest investor-owned utility.
In November 2011, Sungevity announced that it was expanding internationally by taking an equity stake in Dutch solar company Zonline. Through the partnership, Sungevity would provide Zonline with its proprietary software tools, including the company's Remote Solar Design services and brand-identity assets. In June 2014, Sungevity acquired Zonline and launched Sungevity Netherlands.
In April 2012, Sungevity and Australian solar company Nickel Energy announced a joint venture, called Sungevity Australia, that would provide Australian homeowners with their first pay-as-you-go solar option, which the company dubbed RoofJuice.
Every Child Has a Light
In 2011, Sungevity announced the Every Child Has a Light program in partnership with Empowered by Light (EBL), a non-profit organization dedicated to improving lives through renewable energy technologies. Their joint "Go solar, give solar" campaign donates one solar light kit to schools in need in Zambia for each residential solar system Sungevity installs in the United States.
Globama (Solar on the White House)
In April 2010, Sungevity introduced the Solar on the White House campaign. The stated purpose of the campaign was to have the President highlight the environmental and fiscal benefits of solar energy. The campaign highlighted the fact that President Jimmy Carter had installed solar panels on the White House in 1979, at the same time he introduced several solar incentives. The panels were removed by President Ronald Reagan in 1986 when Carter's incentives ran out.
In January 2011, Sungevity announced the launch of Sungevity.org as a way to help schools and non-profit organizations raise money while getting more homeowners to put solar on their rooftops. For every customer that a participating non-profit or school sends Sungevity's way, the company donates money to both the school or non-profit and the customer. The Sungevity.org program has raised over $1.5 million for non-profits and has helped offset 322,436 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions, equivalent to planting more than 7.5 million trees. Sungevity also partners with environmental non-profits such as The Sierra Club.
Awards and recognition
- Bay Area Green Business
- 2009 Green Business Award
- Green Jobs Award 2011
- Planet Forward Innovator of the Year 2011
- Diamond Certified, Fifth Consecutive Year (2009-2014)
- Certified B Corporation since 2007
- B Corporation Best for the World 2013
- B Corporation Best for the Environment 2014
- "Startup sells solar panels online," San Francisco Chronicle, May 2009
- Jeff Himmelmann, 'The Secret to Solar Power', New York Times, August 9, 2012
- "Solar Leasing: Solar's Next Big Thing," Daily Finance, May 2012
- Lowe’s Buys Sungevity Stake to Offer In-Store Solar Lease - Bloomberg
- "Solar firm taps social-media expert to spur a 'rooftop revolution'," Christian Science Monitor, August 2011
- "What E.ON And Other Energy Firms Want: Solar Investments," Forbes, April 2014
- "Sungevity Takes Equity Stake in Dutch Solar Company," Business Reel, November 2011
- "Sungevity & E.ON Team Up To Expand Solar Energy Business In Europe," CleanTechnica, June 2014
- "Pay-as-you-go solar panels are proving a hit," Sydney Morning Herald, April 2012
- Solar on the White House
- "Where Did the Carter White House’s Solar Panels Go?" Scientific American, August 2010
- "White House's Solar Panel Installation Has Begun, Source Confirms," Huffington Post, August 2013
- "White House Solar Panels Are Finally Up," Huffington Post, May 2014
- "Solar Company Sungevity Raises $1.5 Million For Nonprofit Partners," Huffington Post, July 2014
- "Sierra Club's local solar campaign, brought to you by Sungevity," SFGate.com, June 2011
- ABAG Green Business Program
- SF Biz Times honors greenest and cleanest (tech that is) - San Francisco Business Times
- 2011 Winners | Green Jobs Award