The U.S. solar energy boom would not be possible without third-party financing entities. In 2013, 22 leasing funds raised $3.34 bn according to Mercom Capital. The trend is increasing rapidly, from $1.98 bn raised in 2011, and 2.10 bn in 2013. The top five players in commercial/residential leasing were Vivint Solar, Solar City, SunRun, SunPower and Sun Edison. The Fourth Quarter alone saw almost $1bn raised.
These numbers highlight the long-term trend in the U.S. solar industry away from the physical manufacturing (though there are still some U.S. players left) towards financial engineering.