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US rooftop PV provider SolarCity is to buy mounting manufacturer Zep Solar for US$158 million in a move aimed at driving down installation costs.
With few further opportunities for squeezing cost reductions out of module equipment, installers are targetting balance of system equipment and ‘soft’ costs in PV systems in an effort to make the technology more economic.
SolarCity said that since starting to use Zep Solar's mounting products earlier this year, its crews had been able to double the number of systems they install each day.
“Zep Solar's product allows each of our crews to install significantly more solar every day, and it looks better on the roof than any comparable product we've seen,” said Tanguy Serra, SolarCity's executive vice president of operations. “By acquiring Zep Solar, we can deliver solar electricity at a lower cost than was previously possible.”
After the close of the acquisition, Zep Solar will operate as an independent business unit of SolarCity, still under the control of its current chief executive Mike Miskovsky.
"The combining of SolarCity and Zep Solar will help our companies execute a shared vision to bring solar power to the masses," Miskovsky said.
SolarCity said it was also planning to market and sell Zep Solar products in Australia, Germany, Japan and the United Kingdom.