It couldn’t happen where I live, and maybe not where you do, but the owners of a solar electric company say the arithmetic worked for one of their customers. He is a chief executive with a six-bedroom, five-and-a-half bath Spanish-style hillside home in Fremont, California. Fremont is a stone’s throw from Silicon Valley, and home to many high tech firms.
This executive was paying a monthly electric bill of $3,492 on average, according to solar electric firm SunRun. The company was started by two finance experts who came up with their business model while still students at the Stanford Business School.
SunRun charges a relatively small price to install panels, then owns and services them for the life of the contract — 18 years. SunRun said the Fremont executive paid $1,000 to have the $375,000, 55-kilowatt system installed. So far, it has cut his monthly electric bill to an average of $2,808. SunRun collects $2,163 of that for electricity generated by the sun, while utility Pacific Gas & Electric collects $645 for electricity from its grid, on average. At moments when there is surplus solar electricity, SunRun’s equipment automatically sends it to Pacific Gas & Electric for credit.
“You turn your home into a hybrid,” said Lynn Jurich, president of SunRun, and co-founder with chief executive Edward Fenster. The occasion for her interview was to announce $18 million of additional funds from two big Silicon Valley venture capital firms, Accel Partners and Foundation Capital. They say because SunRun uses independent contractors it can quickly expand its business in California, Arizona and Massachuestts.