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Sunrun co-founder and CEO Lynn Jurich is very confident that her burgeoning company’s business model, focused on delivering a quality customer experience, will resonate with consumers across the country.
During a speech at the 2014 Fortune Most Powerful Women Summit, Jurich said her company−the largest dedicated residential solar company in the U.S.−is leading a fundamental shift from centralized energy to distributed energy.
“Our vision is that homeowners will really be the ones who drive this change,” Jurich told Summit attendees. “Homeowners want solar power. It’s cost-effective. We invented a business model that makes it really easy for consumers to switch to solar–and that’s solar-as-a-service.”
Jurich has solidified Sunrun’s focus on driving a high quality customer experience, establishing quality assurance processes and building the technology to create a seamless sales experience, enable faster installations, and provide a higher level of service.
Sunrun disrupted the energy industry, Jurich said, with the introduction of its solar-as-a-service business model in 2007, which allowed consumers for the first time to buy cheaper, cleaner electricity from an alternative provider to their utility.
“We’re starting to make traction and we’re being noticed because of the level of penetration we’ve achieved,” she explained. “People who lived through the telecom era are seeing the same cycle. There was a study years ago that said wireless phones will only replace 3% of landlines and many people got burned. You’re seeing that same trend with the disruption caused by distributed solar.”
Jurich said innovation has been crucial for Sunrun.
“We started this business and we were naive when we did it but that’s what enabled us to do it–to take on this huge energy industry and figure out how to change the landscape, especially in an industry that takes massive amounts of capital and is highly regulated,” she said. “Our pretty simple idea turned out to be a pretty complex operation and we had to build all of it. But here we are today–after eight years we’ve grown at about 100% every single year. We have $2 billion of assets deployed, 60,000 customers across 12 states, and it'’ just getting started. We’re leading a fundamental shift from centralized energy to distributed energy. Energy will go in that direction just like mainframe computers went to client servers then to the Internet. I believe in solar and the macro trends are just too undeniable.”
Jurich left her previous job as a venture capitalist to create Sunrun.
“I was an investor doing well and decided to be an entrepreneur,” she said. “I did my diligence and called everyone I knew that worked in energy or had anything to do with renewables or traditional energy. One hundred percent of people told me my business wouldn’t work. One hundred percent. And I’m proving them wrong.”
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