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NRG wants to be the Apple of energy, and as big as SolarCity in home solar

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Power giant NRG Energy is looking to take cues from the world’s largest consumer tech brands — Apple, Google, Facebook and Amazon — when it comes to how to provide energy services for customers. In a letter written by NRG Energy CEO David Crane to company shareholders this week, Crane says NRG is doing everything in its power to swiftly move toward empowering and connecting consumers, and enabling them to make energy choices, similar to the way that these big four Internet companies are doing outside of energy.

A big part of NRG Energy’s plan to empower consumers with energy services will be to grow its residential solar offering. Currently the company offers a home solar lease plan, but it took them awhile to work out the kinks for the product. Crane told me in an interview this week that “residential solar is at the vortex of what our company is trying to do,” though acknowledged to date the company has mostly stayed out of the market in recent years.


Over the next 18 months NRG wants to build its residential solar business, as well as grow a product offerings around other consumer energy products like home automation systems, and home security. Eventually NRG Energy would like to be as big or bigger than SolarCity when it comes to the residential solar market, says Crane.

NRG Energy’s new distributed solar innovation group Station A, based in San Francisco, will play a role in helping NRG Energy innovate around distributed solar services, particularly when it comes to software, user interfaces and microgrids. NRG isn’t talking much about Station A at this point, but plans to in the coming months.

Right now NRG Energy is still building the pieces of this branded energy consumer experience, but in the next year and a half NRG plans to integrate those pieces into a seamless offering.

3 Responses to “NRG wants to be the Apple of energy, and as big as SolarCity in home solar”

  1. Ray Boggs

    Here’s some bad news for the solar lease and PPA companies. The largest $0 down PACE (Property Assessed Clean Energy) financing program is ready to launch in California.

    Operated under the auspices of the California Statewide Communities Development Authority (CSCDA), the CaliforniaFIRST residential PACE program will launch this summer in 17 California counties and 167 cities, and makes solar projects more affordable and accessible for millions of California homeowners.

    Offering no money down financing, tax deductible interest payments and re-payment through one’s property tax bill, this innovation financing program will for the most part, probably put an end to expensive solar lease and PPA financing in the state of California.

    The PACE financing mechanism was first pioneered by the City of Berkeley for its residential owners in 2008 and has since spread to over 30 states and hundreds of cities.

    • Joe Viny

      Hey Ray, Residential PACE programs have struggled with mortgage holders not agreeing to the PACE lien. Has this challenge been overcome with the new CA PACE program?