Leading US residential solar installer Sunrun has reported record quarterly installations and revenue in the fourth quarter of 2020, pushing annual installs and revenue to new highs.
Sunrun reported fourth quarter 2020 PV installations of 171.6MW, driven by the acquisition of major rival Vivint Solar in the third quarter of 2020. On a quarterly basis, installations were a new record for the company, having previously set an in-house record of 117MW in the prior year period.
As with many other residential installers, Sunrun’s installs were impacted in the second quarter by COVID-19 lockdowns, which led to installations slumping to 78MW, the low point in the year.
The company attracted approximately 23,500 new customers in the fourth quarter, with an 18% increase, year-on-year, reaching a cumulative total of over 550,000.
Sunrun also reported that customer agreements and incentives revenue in the reporting quarter reached US$164.5 million, an increase of US$65.2 million, or 66%, compared to the prior year period.
Solar energy systems and product sales revenue reached US$156.0 million, an increase of US$11.3 million, or 8%, compared to the fourth quarter of 2019.
Management noted in the Q4 earnings call that it had installed more than 16,000 ‘Brightbox’ energy storage systems, while Vivint Solar’s attachment rates had doubled in the reporting quarter.
GAAP results include Vivint Solar as of October 8, 2020, which included record quarterly revenue of US$320.4 million in the fourth quarter of 2020, a 66% increase from the prior year period.
Sunrun reported a total cost of revenue in the reporting quarter of US$273.5 million, an increase of 50% year-on-year. Total operating expenses were US$576.8 million, an increase of 97% year-over-year.
Sunrun reported full-year 2020 revenue of US$922.2 million, up 7% from the prior year, a new record.
Customer agreements and incentives revenue in 2020 reached US$484.2 million, an increase of 25%, compared to 2019. Solar energy systems and product sales revenue was US$438.0 million, a decrease 7%, compared to 2019.
Sunrun said its total cost of revenue in 2020 was US$743.5 million, an increase of 15% year-over-year. Total operating expenses were US$1,387.3 million, an increase of 29% year-over-year.
“The fourth quarter capped off a transformative year for Sunrun,” said Tom vonReichbauer, Sunrun’s chief financial officer. “The Sunrun team again delivered sequential volume growth and margin expansion. We also closed the acquisition of Vivint Solar and with more than four months of integration behind us, we’re increasing our expected cost synergies from the transaction from $90 million to $120 million. The combination of continued operational improvements and strategic advantage from our increased scale sets the company up for a break-out 2021.”
Sunrun also reported a net loss attributable to common stockholders of US$173.4 million for the full year.
Sunrun remains bullish on business growth in 2021. With the merger of Vivint Solar, Sunrun said it expected solar energy capacity installed growth to be in a range of 20% to 25%, up from previous guidance of 15% to 20%.
Management noted in the earnings call that due to the major blackouts in Texas, due to the polar vortex, accelerating extreme weather events would continue to drive consumers to choose solar and battery storage.
“Sunrun customers with Brightbox were able to power through the blackouts and stayed warm. Even customers with outages of over 50 hours were able to power critical circuits uninterrupted as the solar systems continued to generate energy and recharge batteries during the winter storm,” said Lynn Jurich, CEO of Sunrun.
Sunrun said that it expected its Brightbox installations to increase over 100% in 2021, despite expected constraints in battery supply.