There’s long been a Catch-22 about residential solar: despite staggering market demand, it’s been hard to make money doing it—until now.

Sunrun Inc. said Wednesday that it’s cash-flow positive. And Blackstone Group LP-backed Vivint Solar Inc. expects to hit that mark next year.

Rooftop solar installers have chased growth in recent years, investing revenue into marketing and installations. The model helped fuel the expansion of residential power systems in the U.S., driven by leases and power-purchase agreements that require little to no upfront cash from consumers.

“It’s a major milestone if both of these companies can demonstrate that they can fund their continuing operations and continue to create new leases and generate money,” said Joseph Osha, a San Francisco-based analyst at

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