Sunrun Plans An IPO

With investors loving solar again on the public markets, the only major US solar installer that’s still private will soon launch an IPO.

That would be Sunrun, a competitor to SolarCity (SCTY) and Vivint Solar (VSLR), in solar leasing. Sunrun is less well known than SolarCity because it concentrates on the west and east coasts, but it’s been in the business since 2007 and has more than 60,000 customers. The company has raised about $145 million in venture capital.

In terms of valuation, Sunrun and Vivint are about the same at $1.3 billion, while SolarCity is just under $5 billion.


Through Sunrun’s acquisition of Lightmile, it uses software that automates – and cuts the costs – of designing solar systems. Without specialized training, sales professionals can create designs in minutes, avoiding multiple site visits. The software generates shade analysis, energy simulations, system costs, proposals and contracts.

And the Department of Energy awarded Sunrun $1.6 million from the SunShot Initiative to fully automate the workflow for the solar industry – streamlining the design, workflow, processing, pricing, and project management of home solar projects. 

While SolarCity’s stock dropped recently (and probably temporarily), it’s been up 700% since the 2012 IPO. And Vivint, which only recently went public, is up about 40%.

The other top US solar installers are SunPower (Nasdaq: SPWR), which will soon go public with its own Yieldco, and SunEdison (NYSE: SUNE), which has a separate Yieldco.

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