March 8 Sunrun Inc on Wednesday reported
a quarterly net profit that topped Wall Street estimates thanks
in part to cost cuts and said growth in its solar systems would
slow this year.
The company, which installs and finances residential solar
systems, reported fourth quarter net income of $29 million, or
27 cents per share. Analysts had been expecting a profit of 5
cents a share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Total system deployments rose 13 percent during the quarter,
but bookings fell 13 percent, Sunrun said. The company boosted
margins due to across-the-board cost cuts, Chief Executive Lynn
Jurich told Reuters in an interview.
Growth in residential solar systems has slowed in the
nation's top solar market, California, in recent months. Jurich,
in the interview, blamed the slowdown at the end of 2016 on poor
weather, shifts to new utility rate structures, and the U.S.
System deployments are expected to rise 15 percent in both
the first quarter and for the full year of 2017, Sunrun said,
after climbing nearly 40 percent in 2016.
Sunrun still believes the rooftop solar market can grow
about 20 percent per year long term, Jurich said.
The vast majority of Sunrun customers still choose leases
and power purchase agreements over owning their panels, Jurich
said, despite a broader move by the industry to offer more cash
sales. Sunrun competitor Tesla Inc, which bought
residential solar market leader SolarCity last year, said last
month that it was moving away from leases toward cash sales.
Sunrun shares closed at $5.24 on the Nasdaq on Wednesday.
(Reporting by Nichola Groom; Editing by Sandra Maler)