The residential, commercial and utility scale solar financing markets are different and have their own dynamics.
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The residential market is driven by 3rd party PPA providers and companies offering their own in-house financing. For example, 3rd party providers include SunRun and BrightGrid , as well as companies offering their own in-house financing, like SolarCity. The 3rd party companies provide a useful tool because it allows smaller companies to compete with the larger SolarCity types by allowing them to offer competitive financing. Each of these companies has been able to tap into large amounts of institutional capital by providing stable returns.
The utility market (20MW+) on the other hand, is very concentrated and is typically dominated by manufacturers who create or buy their own development department. In the SEIA’s last report 51% of the utility market was dominated by only 12 firms. As you can see from the list of top utility solar developers below most are manufacturers, and the majority of the independent developers, like Recurrent Energy, have been bought by manufactures. Recurrent was recently acquired by Sharp last year.
The commercial market in the built environment is a different environment from both utility and residential scale, as it requires a more technical understanding of solar, structural and roofing of the building then residential but is also heavily dependent on financing.