SolarCity Partners With Best Buy to Sell Solar Energy

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In a new partnership, solar energy firm SolarCity Corp. (NASDAQ:SCTY) and big-box store Best Buy Co. Inc. (NYSE:BBY) announced Wednesday that they have teamed up to bring solar energy systems to customers in New York, Oregon, Hawaii, and California. The two companies plan to have SolarCity kiosks in about sixty different BestBuy stores in those states, Forbes reports.

“Almost every single product you buy there consumes energy. We can now provide you with a cleaner and better source of energy,” SolarCity CEO Lyndon Rive said in a statement.

The partnership grew out of an experiment the two companies conducted in Best Buy stores in California and New York to see if the idea was worth expanding further. ”This is the largest consumer electronics retailer in the United States,” said SolarCity Vice President Jonathan Bass, per CleanTechnica. “When you come into Best Buy, at our kiosk we can look at your home on a satellite map and determine if it will be a good fit for solar.”

To kick off the agreement, SolarCity is offering a $100 Best Buy gift card to customers who sign up for SolarCity’s services before Earth Day, April 22.

SolarCity sells leases that allow home and business owners to adopt a twenty-year contract in order to pay for their solar electricity. The leases mean that customers don’t have to own any of the equipment or pay any of the upfront cost of installing the panels. Instead, customers pay for the energy generated from the solar panels.

It’s partially due to these solar leases that solar stocks are rising in popularity. Forbes notes that the residential solar market grew the fastest in 2013 and is likely to continue to grow rapidly in 2014, as well. JA Solar, currently the largest solar cell producer, reported its first profit since the first quarter of 2011 on Monday, according to Bloomberg. The company’s shipments also exceeded its forecast by more than 33 percent. First Solar is up, too: The company reported Monday that its looking “upbeat” ahead of its analyst day.

According to Forbes, Best Buy and SolarCity have agreed on a revenue-sharing model for their new partnership, with SolarCity paying a percentage of every sale to Best Buy.

But Best Buy isn’t the first big-box retailer to invest in SolarCity’s kiosks — the solar energy company has also invested in partnerships with Home Depot (NYSE:HD) in a very similar deal. SolarCity’s CEO said that the agreement with Home Depot “has been great” so far and that the company has plans to expand into even more Home Depot locations.

Still more solar companies have invested in big box retailers: Sunrun and Clean Power Finance also have partnerships with Home Depot, per Forbes, and Sungevity has had a deal with Lowe’s for several years now.

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