A sharp drop in the price of solar panels has been a boon for companies that install renewable energy systems on the roofs, and could trigger a wave of consolidation in the sector.
Installers are hundreds across the country, focusing especially in residential and small commercial arrangements of the market on the rooftops rather than large-scale multi-megavatios systems developing in the U.S. Southwest.UU...
Prices have plummeted photovoltaic panels in more than 30 percent so far in the year, making them much more affordable for consumers.
"We are the beneficiaries of a large number of manufacturers of continuous cost reductions," said Bill Yearsley, CEO of Real Goods Solar, a solar installation. "It has had a profound impact."
Real estate is expected to see a break close to 63 per cent in annual sales this fiscal year to $126 million, according to Thomson Reuters I / B / E / S. The company expects to reach $200 million in sales to its agreement last year to buy a rival.
SolarCity private property, Mercury Solar, Sungevity, SunRun and Borrego Solar also rapidly increase the number of customers.
"The declines in average prices of sale (for panels) are absolutely a huge positive, driving phenomenal returns to some of the installers," said analyst Raymond James Alex Morris.
The average cost of installation of photovoltaic systems, which includes the installation and the cost of financing, as well as panels, fell about 17 percent last year and an additional 11 per cent in the first half of 2011, according to a report by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.
"As the price continues to fall... the demand of the customer is is stimulated in some markets even without incentives," said Barry Cinnamon, CEO of solar energy Solar systems manufacturer of Westinghouse.
Solar installations in houses and commercial roofs are still the largest market segment, with 124 megawatts built in residential buildings during the first half of 2011, about 50 percent greater than the installation utility on a large scale.
Facilities in non-residential buildings were even greater, totaling 373 MW in the first half.
A megawatt is roughly enough to power 1,000 single-family homes.
A key factor for many installers has been the growth of programs of lease in which the owners of homes or businesses make monthly payments for a period of 10 years or more for the solar financial systems on the roof instead of buying them directly.
This allows customers to reduce their electric bills by using solar energy without having to spend the thousands of dollars needed to build the photovoltaic systems in advance.
Almost all of the main installers offer leasing plans and companies such as Google Inc and Citigroup have joined us.UU. Bancorp in recent months in the pumping of millions of dollars to support the leasing market.
The average price of a solar system installation is $6.39 per watt for residential projects and $5.20 for commercials - being far superior to the conventional grid, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association, a trade group for the industry.
The U.S. market.UU. solar installation is highly fragmented with more than 300 independent California installers only, according to a policy paper real estate.
Analyst Morris hopes installers like SolarCity and real estate to roll the market and become big business in the region.
"We are thinking in different markets in the United States for the acquisition," said Yearsley real estate.
Domestic manufacturers module is also likely to look to the expansion of its own downstream business longer than the margins are squeezed by the sharp fall in the prices of the panel.
"There has been a push for modules manufacturers to move downstream to ensure locked-in clients", said analyst Morris.
"Manufacturers of United States, such as First Solar SunPower Corp and search on".
Analysts say that Chinese such as Yingli Green Energy, Trina Solar and Suntech Power companies likely to stay away, since they do not have the advantage of low costs of processing and easy access to the capital.
"The business of installation could allow companies in solar module to another channel to sell its modules, but the price that is having higher capital requirements and lower margins of the part of the installation," said analyst Morningstar Stephen Simko.