Tesla is to blame for the decrease in rooftop-solar adoption using the once popular solar lease program.
This program was made famous by SolarCity to guarantee sales and solar installation growth.
But with the acquisition of SolarCity by Tesla back in 2016 for $2 billion, the focus shifted to prioritizing profitability over growth at all costs.
There are several other explanations for the shift, notably the widespread availability of loans, and the obvious fact that Tesla is pivoting away from leasing.
“The single biggest driver of the quick emergence of customer ownership in 2018 is the contraction of SolarCity/Tesla as an installer,” said Allison Mond in an email to Bloomberg.
Cash sales and loans comprised 59 percent of 2017 deals, with leases and power-purchase agreements making up the balance.
Sunrun surpassed Tesla as U.S. residential-solar leader, so experts are expecting leasing to rebound in 2019 since Sunrun remains a big proponent of the solar lease program.