Residential and commercial solar energy firm Real Goods Solar Inc. has signed a deal to merge with Wilton, CT-based Alteris Renewables Inc., a solar energy and wind power installer that serves the Northeast. The deal, subject to Real Goods Solar’s shareholder approval, is expected to close in the third quarter.  

Photo Courtesy of Real Goods Solar Inc.

Based in Boulder, Colo., Real Goods Solar serves the Colorado and California markets and the deal gives it a foothold in the growing Northeast market. Alteris has been on the acquisition trail in recent years, acquiring renewable energy firm ISI Solar, New City, N.Y., last year.

Terms of the deal call for Real Goods Solar to issue 8 million unregistered shares of its Class A common stock to Alteris’ equity holders. The number of shares could increase based on Alteris’ financial performance and certain milestones.

The combined firm will retain the Real Goods Solar name. It will account for about 11% of all U.S. residential solar electric installations, Real Goods Solar says.

The solar market is one of the fastest-growing sectors of the U.S. economy, helped largely by lower prices for solar panels and government incentive programs, according to trade group Solar Energy Industry Association. The year-over-year solar market value climbed 67%, to hit $6 billion last year, according to a recent study by SEIA and market research firm GTM Research.

Sixteen states, including New Jersey, installed more than 10 MW of photovoltaics last year, up from four in 2007, the study shows. New Jersey is now ranked number two, behind California, in installed capacity.

The merger will help Real Goods Solar further tap into that potential by leveraging complementary expertise and geographies, says John Schaeffer, Real Goods Solar president and founder.

Meanwhile, Real Goods Solar also announced that Bill Yearsley has joined the firm as CEO and been elected to the board. Yearsley previously served as chair and CEO of U.K.-based Redland PLC’s Contracting and Construction Materials Division.