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This article is about the solar company. For other uses, see Sun Run.
Sunrun Inc.
Founded 2007
Headquarters San Francisco, California, U.S.
Key people
Lynn Jurich (CEO)[1]
Edward Fenster (Chairman)[1]
Tom Holland (President)[2]
Bob Komin (CFO)[2]
Products BrightPath (software)
Services Solar system leasing

Sunrun Inc. (NASDAQRUN)[3] is a United States-based provider of residential solar electricity and operates the "second largest fleet of residential solar energy systems” in the United States.[4] Headquartered in San Francisco, California and founded in 2007 with a focus on home solar power installation, financing and leasing,[5] Sunrun pioneered the use of solar as a service for residential customers and in some states offers customers either a lease or a Power Purchase Agreement[6] (PPA) business model, whereby homeowners pay for electricity that their solar panels produce but do not have to buy solar panels outright.[3] Sunrun has a number of service packages. The BrightSave option lets a customer lease a solar system for their residence, while the BrightBuy option allows a customer to directly purchase a system from Sunrun. BrightAdvantage allows a customer to finance their system through a loan.[7]

Sunrun acquired the residential solar division of REC Solar, a subsidiary of Mainstream Energy, in early 2014,[1] which allowed the company to directly install systems and become "more of a full-service home solar supplier." They also acquired SnapNrack and AEE Solar.[8] In October 2014, the company officially debuted its Sunrun Partner Program to develop its network of installation and sales partners.[9] In 2015 Sunrun acquired the "consumer demand generation" company Clean Energy Experts (CEE), with CEE billed at the time as the "largest lead generation company in the solar industry."[10][11] Sunrun completed their IPO in 2015,[4] raising $251 million in August.[12] Sunrun currently has approximately 100,000 solar customers[13] in fifteen states.[14]


Background and founding (2007)[edit]

Sunrun was co-founded in 2007 in San Francisco, California.[15] Co-founders Ed Fenster[2] and Lynn Jurich[16][17] had met as students at Stanford Business School, and had also both worked in finance and investments: Fenster with The Blackstone Group and Jurich with Summit Partners.[18] Together they came up with the idea of forming a startup company in San Francisco,[17] and in 2007 Fenster, Jurich, and fellow co-founder Nat Kreamer became intrigued with SunEdison, a renewable energy company which delivered solar power to commercial and industries customers, but had faced little competition in the U.S. market. According to VentureBeat, "the three decided to do SunEdison one better. They pioneered the idea of leasing solar panels to residential homes, starting with houses where electricity prices are the highest."[18] Kreamer was appointed president and chief operating officer,[6] while Fenster took the role of CEO.[2][19] Fenster also proved to be Sunrun's first customer, installing panels on his San Francisco home where Sunrun also had its first office.[17] The founders established a business model wherein Sunrun hired local contractors and installation companies to handle putting in the solar panels, as well as maintenance.[18]

Initial financing and growth (2008-2010)[edit]

By the summer of 2008 Sunrun was selling services only in its native California.[15] The company secured venture capital funding in June 2008 from a group of investors including Foundation Capital,[15][18][20] and by October Sunrun had raised a total of $85 million from Foundation, Accel Partners and Sequoia Capital. In October Sunrun also secured project financing from PG&E Corporation and $300 million in funding from U.S. Bancorp.[18] Sunrun secured an additional $40 million in financing from US Bank in November,[17] and U.S. Bancorp then invested $100 million in Sunrun in December 2008.[18] In 2009 Sunrun closed a Series B round of funding for $18 million led by Accel Partners and joined by Foundation Capital,[21] resulting in a total of $30 million new funds.[16] The company also received an additional commitment of $90 million in tax equity from U.S. Bancorp in 2009.[16][21] Kreamer left the company in 2009, with Jurich taking on the role of president.[18][22] Fenster retained his role as CEO.[22] That year Jurich was named one of the Ten Most Powerful Women Entrepreneurs by Fortune.[16]

According to the California Solar Initiative, Sunrun held over half of the residential solar market share for California by 2010. Despite its dominance in the California solar market, at the time Sunrun remained largely limited to states with incentives friendly to solar power, in particular Arizona, California, Hawaii, and Massachusetts. However, Sunrun was also reaching customers in Colorado, New Jersey and Pennsylvania through an alliance with Home Depot.[18] By then Sunrun was helping[23] companies such as Toll Brothers to build new houses with pre-installed Sunrun systems.[18]

In June 2010 Sunrun struck a deal with PG&E for $100 million in financing, afterwards announcing $55 million in fresh capital from Sequoia Capital.[21] Sunrun was given the Green Power Leadership Award from the U.S. Department of Energy that October. At that point the company was providing solar to around 6,000 residences in seven states[24] and was growing by 300 percent a year.[5] States included California, Arizona, Colorado, Hawaii, Massachusetts, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.[22] wrote in December 2010 that Fenster and Jurich had overall "raised $85 million in venture capital and an additional $400 million in project financing to purchase the solar systems, which are installed by regional contractors."[5]

Growth into new states (2011-2014)[edit]

Sunrun published a white paper in January 2011 which claimed that the U.S. permit process added "an average of $2,500 in costs to each installation," and that streamlining that process could over the next five years "provide a $1 billion stimulus to the residential and commercial solar power market." The analysis, which urged the federal government to push for common permit processes across states, was shared with the White House and the US Energy Department.[25] In March 2011 Jurich and Fenster were both given the Leadership Award in Finance at the Excellence in Renewable Energy Awards for "their important work in creating solar services that have dramatically expanded the U.S. solar market."[22] By early 2011 the company had expanded to nine states, with Sunrun controlling 10 percent of the residential solar market in the United States by July 2011. At the time, the company was installing approximately $1 million worth of solar equipment per day, and 12,000 American homes were using their services.[26] In cooperation from the Long Island Power Authority (LIPA) in December 2012, Sunrun expanded into Long Island in New York.[27]

In 2012, the Sunrun subsidiary Clean Energy Experts was given a grant of $495,040[28] from the Department of Energy as part of the Sunshot Incubator Program. The money was intended to "help Clean Energy Experts complete a cloud-based software toolkit to reduce customer acquisition and sales costs for U.S. solar companies." At the time, Clean Energy Experts was "the nation’s largest solar lead generation provider."[29] In 2013, Jurich and Fenster began serving as co-CEOs,[30] and the following year Fenster took the role of Executive Chairman.[2] In February 2014, Sunrun acquired part of San Luis Obispo, California-based company Mainstream Energy, in particular "the residential installation and racking units" of its REC Solar division. Mainstream Energy's CEO Paul Winnowski joined Sunrun as chief operating officer,[1] and in April 2014 the companies announced that REC Solar would be rebranded as Sunrun.[31] Sunrun continued to hire local contractors to build its solar projects on homes, though the acquisition of Mainstream Energy allowed Sunrun to expand its direct-to-consumer sales business while continuing to invest in its group of certified partners.[8]

Acquisitions and new technologies (2014)[edit]

The company closed a $150 million equity round in May 2014.[8] Lynn Jurich announced that among other projects,[32] some of the funds would be devoted to "reaching the highest numbers of customers with the lowest cost structure" and "customer services processes," as well as software tools to "price out new contracts more quickly, optimize solar panel designs for individual homes, build appropriate financing options, arrange for truck rollouts, and so on."[32] In August 2014 Sunrun debuted its BrightPath software, which among other functions is intended to aid in solar system customization and design. BrightPath's development had been partially funded by the U.S. Department of Energy in 2013, particularly the DOE's Sunshot Initiative 8.[33] Also in August 2014 Sunrun agreed to buy as much as 100 megawatts of panels from REC Solar ASA, which Bloomberg Businessweek wrote would ensure Sunrun's panel supply in 2015 "amid concerns of a looming shortage."[34]

By May 2014 Sunrun had services in eleven states, including Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Oregon and Pennsylvania.[32] As of July 2014, Sunrun had approximately 60,000 customers,[17] and Sunrun was dubbed by The Boston Globe as "one of the most successful installers of residential solar power systems in Massachusetts."[17] In August 2014 Sunrun claimed to be the "largest dedicated residential solar company in the United States"[33] and announced it was expanding into Nevada,[35] bringing up the number of states Sunrun was based in to twelve.[33] Sunrun announced in September it would hire 800 more employees and expand on offices in Arizona, California, Nevada, and Hawaii by 2015.[36] Sunrun was included on a list of the Top 100 Companies at the 2014 Global Cleantech Awards.[37]

Recent developments (2015-2016)[edit]

In February 2015, Sunrun opened a new "solar design engineering center" in Irvine, California, employing their Brightpath "automated software platform" for hardware selection, "scheduling, permitting and installation services."[11][38] Sunrun announced that its AEE Solar subsidiary would put the battery in "its line of energy storage offerings for use in homes."[39] Sunrun acquired the "consumer demand generation" company Clean Energy Experts (CEE) in April 2015, with CEE billed at the time as the "largest lead generation company in the solar industry." Sunrun and CEE had been collaborating since 2010, and it was announced that CEE would continue to operate under its original name as a Sunrun subsidiary.[10]

As of June 2015, Sunrun was predominantly owned by Foundation Capital, Accel Partners, Canyon Partners, Sequoia, Madrone Partners, and co-founders Jurich and Fenster.[4] On July 16, 2015, it was announced that Itron, Inc., a large technology and services company, had expanded on a pre-existing partnership to further provide Sunrun with solar production monitoring.[40] Also that day, it was announced Sunrun had signed a deal with South Korean company Hanwha Q Cells for Hanwha to supply 50MW modules to Sunrun.[41]

Sunrun currently has approximately 100,000[13] solar customers with around half in California, and claims "to have the United States' second largest fleet of residential solar solar energy systems.”[4] The company raised $251 million in an August IPO,[12] and the following month the US Department of Energy awarded Sunrun their SunShot Change Prize, with the goal of increasing the speed of solar installations.[42] In January 2016, the company released the app mySunrun, which combines social media with analytics.[43] Sunrun launched its Sunrun BrightBox product in March 2016, which allows residences to generate solar power during the day and store excess electricity for use at night.[44]

For the first quarter of 2016, Sunrun doubled its year-over-year revenue to $99 million. Operating expenses came in at $166 million. For the quarter, the company brought in $13 million for shareholders. This marked the first time since becoming a public company that Sunrun became positive on an earnings-per-share basis.

Overview and business model[edit]

According to VentureBeat, Sunrun "pioneered"[18] the use of solar leasing for residential customers and, depending on the applicable state law, offers customers either a lease or a Power Purchase Agreement[6] (PPA) business model whereby homeowners pay for electricity usage but do not buy solar panels outright,[3] reducing the initial capital outlay required by the homeowner. Sunrun is responsible for installation, maintenance, monitoring and repairs. Sunrun also allows customers to finance or buy their systems upon installation.[20]

Several steps to the purchasing and installation process are described on the Sunrun website. Initially, a sales consultant uses the Brightpath software to visualize a client's residence and design a customized solar system. Sunrun then handles paperwork, monitoring, and repairs, with energy acquired from the solar panels left in the control of the customer.[45]

Originally Sunrun organized installation through a network of business partners, for example hiring local contractors to install solar systems on homes. However, in early 2013 Sunrun established an inside sales team, and in early 2014 Sunrun acquired REC Solar's residential division, which allows Sunrun to install solar directly in certain regions. Sunrun also continues to maintain a partner network, with example partners as of 2015 including American Electric Power.[45] In October 2014, the company officially debuted the Sunrun Partner Program to further develop its partner network. Alongside staff support, the program allows member companies to access Sunrun's Brightpath software.[9]

On November 16, 2015, Sunrun announced they'd been awarded $900,000 by the U.S. Department of Energy SunShot Initiative, with the funds to be used "to develop and deploy the first end-to-end solar permitting and interconnection software application for installers. The software will make it possible to automatically generate and electronically submit solar PV permit and interconnection applications."[46]


Service packages[edit]

Sunrun has a number of service packages. The BrightSave option lets a customer lease a solar system for their residence, either on a monthly basis or by prepaying the lease up front.[7] The solar lease is a fixed monthly "rent" for use of the system, while in contrast with a PPA customers pay "a fixed price per kWh for power generated."[45] The BrightBuy option allows a customer to directly purchase a system from Sunrun, while the BrightAdvantage option allows a customer to finance their system through a loan.[7]

BrightPath and mySunrun software[edit]

In August 2014 Sunrun debuted their BrightPath software, which had been partially funded with $1.6 million from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) SunShot Initiative in 2013. The "automated software platform" is intended to help with the Sunrun process, by "selecting hardware to system design through pricing, scheduling, permitting, installation," etc. The software is designed to use cloud technology for various purposes, including using satellite imagery to build a model of a customer's house and design a customized solar system.[33]

In January 2016, Sunrun announced that it had released mySunrun, an app for iPhone and Android devices. According to Clean Technica, the software is aimed at social media, analytics, and improving customer service.[43]

BrightBox solar energy storage[edit]

In March 2016, Sunrun launched their Sunrun BrightBox product, which Solar Industry Magazine described as Sunrun's "first solar energy storage offering for homeowners... the company designed this offering so that in states like Hawaii, where utility constraints have reduced consumer choice, families will be able to generate solar power during the day and store excess electricity for use at night."[44] At the time, the first BrightBox units were being installed in Honolulu.[44]

Headquarters and subsidiaries[edit]

Headquartered in San Francisco, California since its founding in early 2007, as of July 2015 the company operates in fifteen states, including California, Oregon, Arizona, Colorado, Hawaii, Nevada, and South Carolina. New England states include Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania.[14] By December 2015, the company had announced plans to open a new corporate headquarters in Denver, Colorado, with 800 new positions.[47]

Subsidiary History and description
SnapNrack In February 2014, Sunrun acquired SnapNrack from Mainstream Energy Corp.[1] The division manufactures solar panel racking systems, for both residential and commercial use.[32]
AEE Solar Like SnapNrack, Sunrun acquired the AEE Solar company in early 2014, when AEE Solar was a division of Mainstream Energy.[1] The company is a distributor of solar products.[32]
Clean Energy Experts Fortune Magazine describes Clean Energy Experts as "a company that delivers leads to sales people trying to sell solar systems." It was acquired by Sunrun in 2014.[4]


Today, Lynn Jurich serves as CEO, Edward Fenster as Executive Chairman,[1] and Bob Komin as CFO. Tom Holland, previously of Clorox and Bain Capital, served as president until 2015.[2] Michael Grasso was appointed chief marketing officer (CMO) in 2014.[48] In 2015 Sunrun appoint a Vice President of Public Policy and Power Markets, with Bryan Miller hired to oversee "all public policy development, legislative and regulatory affairs for Sunrun." Sunrun announced Miller's top priority would be "stopping efforts to end net metering, the foundational policy for rooftop solar."[49] In late 2015, Holland announced that he was retiring from his position in an amicable parting with Sunrun, with Sunrun explaining it had had no plans to replace the position.[50]


Sunrun's tongue-in-cheek ad campaign in early 2012 focused on the joke that many Sunrun customers were more excited about saving money than the environment. The ads were featured in the publication Ad Week, which praised the writing and "understated humor."[51] Sunrun then partnered with Nest Labs in September 2013 on a joint marketing campaign.[52] In 2015, Sunrun launched a similar "Neighbors" ad campaign, which involved a set a comedy-sketches of neighbors talking made by ad agency BSSP and the production company Gifted Youth. According to Greentech Media, "the ad pokes fun at the perception of solar owners as staunch environmentalists and instead focuses on savings."[53]

Awards and grants[edit]

Incomplete list of awards for Sunrun
Year Award Nominated work Category Result
2010 US Department of Energy Sunrun Green Power Leadership Award[24] Won
2012 Clean Energy Experts SunShot Initiative Award[29] Won
2013 Sunrun SunShot Initiative Award[33] Won
2014 Global Cleantech Awards Top 100 Companies[37] Won
2015 US Department of Energy SunShot Change Prize[42] Won
SunShot Initiative Award[46] Won

Further reading[edit]

See also[edit]


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  2. ^ a b c d e f "Our Team". Retrieved 2015-11-11. 
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  53. ^ Pyper, Julia (January 30, 2015). "Cleantech Companies Attempt to Sell 'Newfangled Ideas' to the Masses". Greentech Media. Retrieved 2015-11-11. 

External links[edit]