SunRun, a San Francisco-based startup that finances solar power systems for homeowners, has formed a partnership with contractor OCR Solar & Roofing, which could help expand the market for roof-integrated solar systems. SunRun sets up power-purchasing agreements (PPAs) through which homeowners typically pay a few thousand dollars up front and then buy power at a fixed price from a third party that owns and maintains a solar installation on their roof.
OCR Solar & Roofing is the fourth company in SunRun’s network of approved contractors; the firm specializes in installing integrated systems (as opposed to rack-mounted panels) for existing homes. While both SunRun and OCR currently operate only in California, if their plans to expand in the first half of next year go through, they could help open the retrofit market to roof-integrated systems. Roof-integrated solar increasingly represents the default solar option for new construction and a key focus for solar panel makers. More obtrusive rack-mounted solar panels remain the convention for retrofits largely because they cost about 10 percent less and require less gutting of the existing roof, according to OCR solar division chief Aaron Nitzkin.