Sunrun installs 792MW in 2021 following strong growth rate, NEM 3.0 changes could dent 2022 outlook

Sunrun has a record backlog of 57% following strong demand for its rooftop solar and battery storage services. Image: Sunrun

Leading US solar installer Sunrun installed 792MW of solar capacity in 2021, a 31% growth on 2020, exceeding guidance, reflecting the highest growth rate in five years and bringing its total networked capacity to 4.7GW, according to its Q4 and full year 2021 financial results.

In Q4, the company beat expectations and added 220MW of solar capacity across 30,000 new customers, a 28% increase year-on-year, as it benefited from its integration with Vivint Solar following an acquisition in June 2020.   

This article requires Premium SubscriptionBasic (FREE) Subscription

Unlock unlimited access for 12 whole months of distinctive global analysis

Photovoltaics International is now included.

  • Regular insight and analysis of the industry’s biggest developments
  • In-depth interviews with the industry’s leading figures
  • Unlimited digital access to the PV Tech Power journal catalogue
  • Unlimited digital access to the Photovoltaics International journal catalogue
  • Access to more than 1,000 technical papers
  • Discounts on Solar Media’s portfolio of events, in-person and virtual

Or continue reading this article for free

In Q3 2021, it deployed an analyst expectation-beating 219MW, and its management expects installs to remain in the range of the last two quarters moving into 2022, with around 200MW expected to be installed in Q1 this year.

Investment bank ROTH Capital, however, is assuming a continued impact from cost inflation and challenges related to the Omicron surge in the early part of 2022 and has thus adjusted its installation guidance down by 3MW to 198MW for Q1 2022.

The San Francisco-headquartered company had a net subscriber value of US$7,064 in Q4 2021, with each install costing US$29,898, compared with US$36,962 in subscriber value. ROTH Capital called the net subscriber score “weak”.

For the full year 2021, total revenue grew to US$1.61 billion, up US$687.8 million, or 75%, from 2020. Customer agreements and incentives revenue was US$826.6 million, an increase of US$342.4 million, or 71%, compared to 2020. And solar energy systems and product sales revenue was US$783.4 million, an increase of $345.4 million, or 79%, compared to 2020.

The company is entering 2022 with a record backlog of 57% and its management is expecting a 20% growth in installed capacity in 2022. Total value generated is expected to grow faster than installed solar capacity for the full-year 2022.

However, factors such as California’s contentious net metering changes, various proposals in Congress regarding the investment tax credit (ITC) and a volatile interest rate and inflation environment “limit our ability to provide precise guidance on total value generated in cash generation at this time,” said Sunrun CFO Thomas VonReichbauer in an analyst call.

“The demand for Sunrun’s products and services could be adversely affected if utilities or other interested parties are successful in challenging NEM policy in Sunrun’s markets,” said a ROTH Capital note.

Meanwhile, the company also finished the year installing a record number of batteries, representing over 100% year-over-year growth in 2021, although this was lower than initial forecasts at the start of the year due to supply constraints.

Sunrun said it has approved its third battery supplier in Q3 2021 and expected this to allow it to improve last year’s figure, catering to strong demand for battery energy storage systems (BESS) from its customers.

Analyst call commentary was taken from Seeking Alpha.

21 March 2024
This special webinar will look at one of the most important changes impacting PV manufacturing today; how to establish and sustain new facilities around the world. For more than two decades, policy-makers have grappled with the challenges of nurturing domestic manufacturing sectors. Many countries have tried to create domestic sectors: Japan, Taiwan, South Korea, India, Europe and the U.S. But success stories have been rare. Mistakes seem to be repeated. And all the while, Chinese dominance of the industry has only increased. However, in the past 2-3 years, new drivers have emerged that suggest the dream of a global PV manufacturing ecosystem could be a reality. Join us as we shed light on this.
21 May 2024
Understanding the PV module supply to the U.S. market in 2024 & 2025. The conference gathers together developers, independent power producers and module suppliers to the U.S. solar market as well as EPCs, banks, investors, technical advisory and testing & certification specialists.
8 October 2024
PV Tech has been running an annual PV CellTech Conference since 2016. PV CellTech USA, on 8-9 October 2024 is our second PV CellTech conference dedicated to the U.S. manufacturing sector. The event in 2023 was a sell out success and 2024 will once again gather the key stakeholders from PV manufacturing, equipment/materials, policy-making and strategy, capital equipment investment and all interested downstream channels and third-party entities. The goal is simple: to map out PV manufacturing in the U.S. out to 2030 and beyond.
26 November 2024
Understanding PV module supply to the European market in 2025. PV ModuleTech Europe 2024 is a two-day conference that tackles these challenges directly, with an agenda that addresses all aspects of module supplier selection; product availability, technology offerings, traceability of supply-chain, factory auditing, module testing and reliability, and company bankability.

Read Next

Subscribe to Newsletter

Upcoming Events

Solar Media Events
February 28, 2024
Seattle, USA
Solar Media Events, Industry Events
March 12, 2024
Frankfurt, Germany
Upcoming Webinars
March 13, 2024
9am EDT / 1pm GMT / 2pm CET
Solar Media Events
March 19, 2024
Texas, USA