Direct Energy buys Howard County based Astrum Solar

Direct Energy said Tuesday that it bought Howard County based Astrum Solar for $54 million, giving the Texas company a foothold in the residential solar market.

Astrum, founded in 2007 and headquartered in Annapolis Junction, has installed 4,000 solar systems in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic and on the West Coast.

The company ranked second on Inc. magazine's 2012 list of the nation's fastest growing privately owned companies. Last year it was No. 140, with 200 employees and 27 times more revenue in 2012 — $41 million — than it had three years earlier.

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