- NRG Energy has acquired Pure Energies Group, a 150-employee online and phone-based solar customer acquisition platform, to grow NRG Solar, the company’s residential solar business.
- The Pure Energies team’s online platform that identifies potential customers will add a cheaper customer acquisition model to NRG's face-to-face sales format. The merger follows market leader SolarCity toward a more vertically-integrated business model in the increasingly competitive U.S. residential rooftop solar sector.
- Earlier this year, NRG acquired the 475-employee Roof Diagnostics Solar (RDS), the eighth biggest U.S. solar installer, and Goal Zero, a portable power manufacturer, to expand its services.
Companies in the residential solar sector are migrating toward vertically integrated businesses like SolarCity and Vivint, and hybrid businesses like Sunrun and NRG Solar.
The NRG transformation toward renewables, expected to take the solar unit to 1,000 employees by year's end, echoes that of Pure Energies. Pure turned from installing and financing to online sales with its 2012 acquisitions of 1BOG and Cooler Planet.
The NRG acquisition of Pure Energies to grow online customer acquisitions is expected to increase installations from its subsidiary Roof Diagnostics. SolarCity’s 2013 acquisition of customer acquisition specialist Paramount Solar allowed it to add enough new customers in Q2 2014 to install at 1.2 megawatts per day.
NRG’s acquisition of Roof Diagnostics echoed Sunrun's buy of REC Solar's residential installation unit, moves that aim to make the companies competitive with market leaders SolarCity and Vivint. NRG's solar unit was the sixth biggest U.S. residential solar installer in 1H 2014.
NRG still owns fossil fuel generation but is moving toward renewables. Some analysts say the company is moving in too many directions too quickly.
The U.S. added 247 megawatts of residential PV in Q2 2014.