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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.

25 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Trump revokes ethics order barring former aides from lobbying

Photo: Spencer Platt via Getty

Shortly after pardoning members of Congress and lobbyists convicted on corruption charges, President Trump revoked an executive order barring former officials from lobbying for five years after leaving his administration.

Why it matters: The order, which was signed eight days after he took office, was an attempt to fulfill his campaign promise to “drain the swamp.”

  • But with less than 12 hours left in office, Trump has now removed those limitations on his own aides.

Trump pardons former fundraiser Elliott Broidy

President Trump has pardoned Elliott Broidy, a former top Republican fundraiser who pleaded guilty late last year to conspiring to violate foreign lobbying laws as part of a campaign to sway the administration on behalf of Chinese and Malaysian interests.

Why it matters: Broidy was a deputy finance chair for the Republican National Committee early in Trump’s presidency, and attempted to leverage his influence in the Trump administration on behalf of his clients. The president's decision to pardon Broidy represents one last favor for a prominent political ally.