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Just Brilliant When Americans stopped buying $40,000 solar panel systems, SunRun came up with a solution: Lease them.

By Jennifer Wang

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

The recession marked the beginning of dark times for the solar industry.

Research firms estimated more than $12 billion in lost revenues for 2009, and they couldn't have been far off: Frozen credit, fewer subsidies and massive layoffs ended an era of free-spending, green-loving, double-digit growth.

But there are always bright spots, and San Francisco-based SunRun is one of them. Instead of trying to sell expensive solar panel systems to homeowners--systems that cost about $40,000 to install--the company leases them on long-term contracts. And in 2009, the year the rest of the industry tanked, SunRun's year-over-year growth was 400 percent.

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