Newcomer to N.J., Verengo Solar, seeing success with solar leases

Newcomer to N.J., Verengo Solar, seeing success with solar leases And they’re off! It’s California-based Verengo Solar Plus out of the gate, with an A+ BBB rating, a well-funded leasing business model and Power Purchase Agreements backed by SunRun.

Verengo entered the New Jersey residential solar market this June. They’re averaging monthly sales of $3 million and have set a sales goal of $20 million for 2012. To date, they’ve installed 163 systems in the state, totaling 13,336 kilowatts.

“We think New Jersey is going to surpass California. The state has 4.5 million homes. Thirty percent have sunny exposure,” said Daniel Guest, Director of Sales in NJ.

Eighty percent of Verengo’s business is founded on power-purchase agreements (PPA). Systems are leased to homeowners for twenty years. At the end of the lease, they can buy it for one dollar or return it. Installation is done with little to no money down. As soon as the system goes live, the homeowner can expect an immediate 10-20 percent savings.

“The average per kilowatt hour rate in New Jersey is eighteen cents,” said Guest. “As energy costs continue to rise, the customer savings can increase up to 70 percent.”

Verengo’s business model is structured to navigate New Jersey’s maturing SREC market and the expiring 1603 federal incentive. The company has economies of scale to offer highly competitive PPAs and China-based supply chains to work through price elasticity in national markets.

“We’ve had customers ask where we purchase the solar panels,” he said. “We make no bones about it,” If they want an American panel, we’re happy to price it out. What ends up happening—they buy with their wallet.“

So, “Buy American” isn’t going to slow Verengo down, nor will SRECS or the 1603. So, what is their kryptonite?

“It’s takes 90-120 days to get paperwork processed in counties and municipalities,” said Guest. “Once this is taken care of, getting a system installed takes one day.”

In case anyone is wondering if Verengo is creating green jobs, yes. They’ve created 200+ W-2 jobs in California and New Jersey. One hundred more are expected once the New Jersey infrastructure is running at full speed.