SOLARCITY solar panels power electricity

New Jersey-based NRG has bought a Toronto company that specializes in installing rooftop solar power systems for the residential market. (Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg)

America's largest independent electricity producer has purchased Pure Energies Group Inc., a Toronto-based installer of residential rooftop power systems.

New Jersey-based NRG Energy Inc. owns a stable of conventional power generation plants that make electricity out of coal, natural gas and nuclear, including a few large wind and solar farms. On Thursday, the company bought Markham, Ont.-based Pure Energies Group Inc., an installer of solar roof systems for individuals.

NRG had been trying to reduce its carbon footprint by switching its energy-production capabilities towards more environmentally friendly ones. But what the company really wanted was the Canadian company's market-leading distribution network that sells solar systems over the internet — the sales vehicle of choice for the younger demographic.

"The combination of Pure Energies’ rapid growing online footprint with our existing residential solar platform will …capitalize on the energy generating potential of their own home,”  NRG president David Crane said in a statement.

"While residential solar is being increasingly embraced by homeowners of all ages across the United States, buying over the internet is the acquisition channel of choice in particular for the younger generation of Americans for whom commitment to a sustainable lifestyle is a fundamental part of their DNA."

Pure Energies and its 150-odd employees are the second such purchase by NRG in recent months, after the company bought U.S. based Roof Diagnostics Solar,  the eighth-largest  solar installer in America with almost 500 employees, earlier this summer.

Financial terms were not disclosed. NRG has more than 10,000 employees, and took in some $11 billion US in revenue last year.