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Solar panels are installed on a roof in Washington, D.C. Photo: Michael S. Williamson/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Sunrun, the largest U.S. home solar provider, is buying rival Vivint Solar in a $3.2 billion all-stock transaction, the companies announced Monday.

Why it matters: The deal between major players brings new consolidation to the U.S. solar sector, a growing market that has been hindered by the coronavirus pandemic.

  • The companies, who have a combined customer base of 500,000, said the deal would provide $90 million in annual cost "synergies."
  • It says they see room for significant growth, noting that residential solar is only at 3% penetration in the U.S.

What they're saying: "Vivint Solar adds an important and high-quality sales channel that enables our combined company to reach more households and raise awareness about the benefits of home solar and batteries," Sunrun CEO Lynn Jurich said in a statement.

What's next: Both companies' boards have approved the deal, but it still needs sign-off from shareholders as well as regulatory approvals. It's expected to be completed in the fourth quarter of this year, they said.

  • Sunrun's stock is up over 3% in pre-market trading on Tuesday.

How it works: Greentech Media notes that while the companies' regional sales overlap considerably, they have also pursued different strategies.

  • Sunrun has aggressively pushed its paired solar and battery storage systems, while Vivint "has a strong ground game and has long been a leader in door-to-door solar sales."

Go deeper

Miriam Kramer, author of Space
Oct 8, 2020 - Science

Piecing together an asteroid's history

A global map of Bennu. Photo: Simon et al., Science (2020)

The space rock that eventually gave rise to the asteroid Bennu — currently being studied from close range by NASA's OSIRIS-REx spacecraft — may have had flowing water, according to a new study in the journal Science.

Why it matters: Asteroids are thought to be building blocks leftover from the early days of the solar system, and understanding their nature could provide insights into its evolution.

Felix Salmon, author of Capital
25 mins ago - Technology

Facebook's scandals have been great for shareholders

Expand chart
Data: YCharts; Chart: Axios

Facebook has been embroiled in scandal for the past five years, and while the specific allegations change over time, a central theme is constant. Given the choice between commercial and moral imperatives, Facebook always seems to choose the option that is best for the share price.

Why it matters: Facebook's stock chart supports that narrative. Since the 2016 scandals alleging that the social network was infiltrated by foreign actors trying to influence the outcome of democratic elections, Facebook's revenues — and its stock — have been soaring.

Biden to tap telecom trio for NTIA, FCC posts

Jessica Rosenworcel. Photo: Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call

President Joe Biden on Tuesday is expected to name Alan Davidson as head of the telecom arm of the Commerce Department, Jessica Rosenworcel as chairwoman of the Federal Communications Commission and Gigi Sohn as a commissioner at the FCC, according to a person familiar with the process.

Why it matters: Internet availability and affordability has been a key policy priority for the White House, but the administration lagged in tapping people for the agency posts that oversee the issues.