The Visalia Industrial Park snagged another high profile company this week as residential solar installer Sunrun agreed to lease a 300,000 square-foot industrial building on Riggin Avenue, across from Amazon. The building is one of two twin, tilt-up buildings recently completed by Visalia contractor BJ Perch and are ready for occupancy.
The buildings are owned by YS Buildings, LLC of Los Angeles. Agent for the company Freddie Molina says he has a signed agreement with the solar firm, which wants to start moving into the building right away. Molina continues to be active in building “spec buildings” — constructed before a tenant commits — in the Visalia Industrial park and plans more.
Molina says Sunrun will distribute solar panels and battery storage units used on homes across California. As for the number of jobs, no number has been confirmed. At least for now, Sunrun is not returning phone calls seeking more information. Both Fresno and Visalia brag they are strategically located mid-state to reach the Western US market in 2/3 days by ground transportation and one day to reach both the Bay Area and Southland. But Visalia had the availability of a large distribution building ready to lease — unlike Fresno, where supply is said to be limited.
Bay Area-based Sunrun is one of the nation’s top solar companies and the residential installation leader said to control about 25% of the market, according to Barron’s. Besides rooftop panels, the company now sells its rechargeable solar battery system, Brightbox, as of last year. Another recent development: In late 2020 the company announced the purchase of former rival Vivint Solar. Sunrun recently said it has more than 550,000 customers and an 18% year over year improvement including Vivint Solar. Besides installation of these energy units, SunRun is the largest provider of third-party-system finance for solar in the US.
Sunrun argues home owners will be better off with solar. “In December, PG&E, the largest utility in California, announced that customers will be hit with an average rate increase of 8%. Just this month many homeowners in Texas have been surprised with skyrocketing bills, many over $10,000. Utility rates have been increasing across the country, with retail rates in our markets increasing 3% per year on average for the last 15 year.”
In their most recent financial report, Sunrun raised its installed growth rate estimate to 25-30% for the year, and said that “the strong momentum that we saw in the fourth quarter has continued into 2021.” Sunrun maintained its position as the largest residential solar installer in the U.S. in the last quarter of 2019.