Sunrun sees installs smash through 200MW landmark as it builds inventory ahead of 2022

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The residential solar company has a networked solar capacity of 4.5GW. Image: Sunrun

Leading US solar installer Sunrun witnessed installs smash through the 200MW barrier in Q3 2021, with the company deploying an analyst expectation-beating 219MW.

Nearly 30,700 customers were added in the third quarter, with total installs increasing by 18% sequentially to a new quarterly record for the business. Total growth was three percentage points higher than the 15% figure guided during Sunrun’s Q2 results, however the business has reiterated its guidance for installs for the full year to be up 30% year-on-year.

A driving factor for the growth is Sunrun’s targeting of new build homes, an area which the company had seen grow significantly. Its installations in the space doubled year-on-year and its market share of the new build segment has risen from less than 5% two years ago to more than 20% today, Sunrun said.

Sunrun is, too, preparing for that growth in solar installations to continue into 2022 – the business is working towards a target of US$300 million of cash generation next year – and is doing so by bolstering its stock levels. Inventories at Sunrun rose by 30% sequentially, with Ed Fenster, co-founder and executive chairman at Sunrun, explaining this to be a deliberate move to manage supply chain uncertainty in the marketplace. Fenster added Sunrun was holding stock for more than 100 days of business, and in relation to panels in particular it had inventory to see it through to March 2022.

“We continue to take deliveries weekly but it’s obviously a very dynamic environment right now, and we just want to make sure that… no matter what happens over the short term or even moderate term geopolitically, we’re able to continue to meet our customer needs,” he said.

The business has also swelled its partner numbers by more than 12% during the reporting period, with all new partners added during the quarter signing exclusivity agreements with Sunrun.

Sunrun has ridden the crest of a wave since acquiring rival Vivint Solar last year, with the combined entity extending its lead over rival US residential installers Tesla, Sunnova and SunPower.

Sunrun also noted that during the quarter attachment rates for energy storage systems had grown to record levels, with the firm again reiterating its expectation that battery energy storage system installations will at least double this year compared to 2020.

“I believe 2022 will be another breakout year for Sunrun with above-market sustainable growth, accelerating investments in innovation and driving continued differentiation by launching more whole home electrification offerings,” said Mary Powell, chief executive at Sunrun.

Total revenue for the three months ended 30 September 2021 more than doubled year-on-year to US$438.8 million, with solar systems and product sales revenue increasing by 117% year-on-year to US$206.9 million.

Cost increases are, however, outstripping Sunrun’s revenue growth, with cost of revenue and operating expenses growing 127% and 112% respectively.

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