Elon Musk's SolarCity and Best Buy to sell low-cost solar power systems

SolarCity will post sales representatives at Best Buys in Arizona, California, Hawaii, New York and Oregon.
By Ananth Baliga  |  March 12, 2014 at 11:14 AM
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SAN MATEO, Calif., March 12 (UPI) -- Solar City and Best Buy will now help homeowners through the process of buying a solar power system for their homes, starting with 35 stores in California.

SolarCity will have sales representatives at 15 Best Buy shops in Arizona, Oregon, New York and Hawaii. The move comes after the two companies experimented with the idea last September at Best Buy stores in California and New York. The in-store representative will give customers an estimate of potential energy savings and also an idea of what the system would look like in their house.

"People go to Best Buy to buy all sorts of devices and appliances, and almost everything you buy consumes a tremendous amount of electricity -- your flat-screen TV, your dishwasher," said SolarCity CEO Lyndon Rive. "Now we can sell a product that addresses those energy needs."

The move comes at an important time for solar energy -- the number of solar systems installed in 2013 jumped 41% from the previous year and costs of installation also fell by 15 percent.

SolarCity provides customers with a 20-year lease, where customers only pay for the electricity they use.

The upfront cost for the equipment or installation are not charged to customers and SolarCity raises money from banks and other investors to finance these costs. The deal appeals to people who do not want to spend money on the initial cost associated with such solar power systems.

SolarCity and Best Buy have agreed to a revenue sharing model. For each completed sale SolarCity will pay a percentage of the amount to Best Buy, but the companies have not disclosed payment terms.

[Forbes] [LATimes]

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