SLO's REC Solar sells residential division to S.F.-based company

REC Solar employees install solar panels at a home in Arroyo Grande in 2010.
REC Solar employees install solar panels at a home in Arroyo Grande in 2010. The Tribune

REC Solar Inc., a solar panel installation company based in San Luis Obispo, has sold its residential division to San Francisco-based Sunrun for an undisclosed sum, according to a joint announcement.

As a result, REC Solar will now focus exclusively on its commercial market operations under the name REC Solar Commercial Corp.

Also included in the acquisition were AEE Solar and SnapNrack, subsidiaries of REC Solar’s parent firm, Mainstream Energy Corp. AEE Solar is a parts distributor and SnapNrack builds the racks that hold solar panels in place.

The jobs of REC Solar residential division employees were not expected to be affected, according to a spokesperson for Sunrun, who noted that 700 employees were added from all three companies acquired.

Paul Detering, who joined REC Solar as chief executive officer in November, said Wednesday that the company will remain based here, and that it hopes to grow sales by 47 percent in the commercial solar industry this year.

About 60 people work in its commercial business, and that group may grow a bit, according to REC Solar spokesperson Zoe Fishman.

“The values we have that define who we are resides in our people,” Detering said. “The relationship we have with the people here in San Luis has always been a great one.”

According to Becky Loya, spokesperson for Sunrun, the acquisition is part of Sunrun’s effort to make solar more affordable to consumers as well as to create a competitive advantage for its California installer partner companies.

The deal will allow Sunrun to help the solar installers it works with by providing them with cheaper parts, better customer service and better strategies for lowering costs, said Lynn Jurich, Sunrun’s chief executive officer.

“REC Solar’s residential division, AEE Solar and SnapNrack complement our thriving channel business and further enable us to fulfill the enormous market potential for home solar nationwide,” Jurich said.

REC Solar was founded in San Luis Obispo by Fred Sisson and Judy Ledford Staley in 1997. It became Sunrun’s first installation partner in 2007. Staley will continue to serve on the Mainstream Energy Corp. board of directors.

Sunrun has nearly 50,000 customers in 11 states. REC Solar has 11,000 customers in seven states.