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U.S. Home Solar Financing to Reach $5.7 Billion by 2016

Investors will provide $5.7 billion annually to finance residential solar systems by 2016, up from $1.2 billion last year, according to a report from GTM Research.

The third-party financing model accounts for more than half the solar projects installed atop homes in markets including California, Arizona, Colorado and Massachusetts, Boston-based GTM said in a statement today.

With third-party financing, outside investors typically provide funds for companies that develop solar projects at no upfront cost for homeowners, who sign long-term contracts and pay monthly fees to buy the electricity. That’s appealing to both consumers and financers, and the arrangement is getting more common, Shayle Kann, vice president of research at GTM and the report’s author, said today in an e-mail.

“There is virtually limitless growth potential relative to the current size of the market,” he said. The solar providers often offer homeowners “something akin to 10 percent savings on their current bill.”

SolarCity Inc., the San Mateo, California-based developer that raised $92 million in its December initial public offering, leads the industry with about $1 billion raised from investors to pay for solar systems, followed by Sunrun Inc., SunPower Corp., Clean Power Finance Inc., Sungevity Inc. and Vivint Inc.

Investors have provided $3.1 billion in 28 funds, led by U.S. Bancorp, which has provided more than $1.35 billion to 14 funds.

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