From Pioneer to Pariah: SunEdison, Inc., and the Global Solar Photovoltaics Industry

How did Sun Edison’s business model, emulated by an entire industry, prove unsuccessful for the organization that originated it?

Geoffrey M. Heal, Bruce Usher  | Fall 2017
Print this page

Founded in 2003, SunEdison, Inc. was a solar energy company with a revolutionary business model whereby the company financed the capital-intensive installations in exchange for the customer’s steady payments for electricity generated by the system over its 20-year life. Most solar energy companies followed SunEdison’s lead and began to finance PV installations. While near the end of the decade, SunEdison had grown to be the largest solar energy company in North America, its revenue growth ultimately flattened, and its lack of cash reserves prevented it from making key acquisitions. What factors led to SunEdison’s precipitous fall after its meteoric rise?

Case ID: 180303

Buy select cases through The Case Centre,  Ivey Publishing and Harvard Business Publishing.

Contact us by e-mail at Columbia CaseWorks or 212-853-8585.