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July 25, 2018One-on-One with Ed Fenster, Sunrun (2:51)
Sunrun Executive Chairman Ed Fenster discusses the rise of energy storage and the move towards becoming a comprehensive energy provider.

TOM BUTCHER: Ed, thanks so much for joining me today. We have talked a lot this year about changing business models. How has Sunrun evolved in today’s environment?

ED FENSTER: That is a great question. And there are two parts to it. I think the first part, which is interesting, is we went through a relatively long period where, several years after we went public, the rest of the industry actually kind of more evolved to our model, which created a healthier industry dynamic for everybody.

But what we are really excited about now is just the rise of storage and the ability to be a comprehensive energy provider to our homeowners. I think utilities are not the most loved by their customers, and our goal is to build a company that is truly loved, and that can manage not just to be a solar provider, but an energy provider, a holistic energy provider, that we can provide backup power, and other components that make us the sort of trusted provider to the homeowner. And we are kind of excited to begin that transition as a business.

BUTCHER: Great. And just one other question: what would you like conference attendees to take away with them about Sunrun?

FENSTER: We just had a great conversation about batteries, and about how the future for batteries is now. And what is so exciting about that is that it makes wind and solar penetration at higher levels much more possible. Wind and solar are already lower cost than competitors in most markets, but obviously are not dispatchable. And what is exciting about battery power is that it makes it dispatchable. Batteries also allow utilities to reduce their investment in transmission and distribution infrastructure, which will save end-customers money, and also ultimately give customers more control over their energy, which is really what they want. We live and breathe this every day, and so the fact that this is economic today is something that we live and breathe. But I think people can sometimes be surprised to hear that battery storage is 100% of our business in Hawaii, that it has become almost 50% of our business in Southern California in less than a year, and that every quarter, those numbers continue to increase.

BUTCHER: Ed, thank you so much. May I wish you all the best going forward?

FENSTER: Thank you. And thank you for having me here.


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