|Key people||Chairman of the Board|
Sungevity is a 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 price quotes within 24 hours, without needing to send a representative to the location. The company designs home solar systems; finances new systems with its Solar Lease program; 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, New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Maryland, and Delaware. In 2012, the company reported having more than 250 employees.
The Solar Lease
In 2010, Sungevity developed its Solar Lease payment option to further its vision of making solar energy as affordable as possible for consumers. The lease allows homeowners to go solar with no upfront cost—the price of the solar panels and system are paid back 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 this investment.
Sungevity was founded in 2007 by Danny Kennedy (President), Andrew Birch (CEO), and Alec Guettel (Chairman of the Board). 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 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 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. Sungevity and EBL’s "Go solar, give solar" campaign has donated one solar light kit to schools in need in Zambia for each residential solar panel installation in the United States.
Globama (Solar on the White House)
In April 2010, Sungevity introduced the Solar on the White House campaign by offering to donate a system to the family of President Barack Obama, in order to send a message to the American public that solar is an affordable and viable way to help bring about energy independence. 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. As of the beginning of 2012, President Obama had expressed willingness to put solar on the White House but had not yet done so.
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. Sungevity.org has since raised over $385,000 for non-profits and saved over 32,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere. Sungevity also partners with environmental non-profits such as The Sierra Club.
Awards and Recognition
Sungevity has received the following awards and recognition:
- NABCEP Certification
- Better Business Bureau perfect record
- Solar Energy Industries Association member
- Bay Area Green Business
- 2009 Green Business Award
- Green America member
- Angie's List ‘A’ Rating
- Green Jobs Award 2011
- Planet Forward Innovator of the Year 2011
- "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
- "Sungevity Takes Equity Stake in Dutch Solar Company," Business Reel, November 2011
- "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
- "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