Big utility companies interested in solar power are now competing for the space on rooftops.
The move comes as traditional utilities and newcomer competitors fight over the future of the energy system.
Power industry executives have long acknowledged that small-scale solar panels spread across the land could eventually compete with their big power plants, which are designed to cheaply churn out large amounts of energy.
In some cases, the move by big utilities is worrying smaller solar installers who fear they could be unfairly shut out of markets.
Utilities in Arizona and Texas are offering to pay customers to install utility-owned panels on customer rooftops. Other power companies in Michigan and Georgia are trying to make money matching customers with solar installers.
The installation of solar panels overall grew by more than 50 percent in 2014 and is on track for another record-breaking year.