Annual report pursuant to Section 13 and 15(d)

Summary of Significant Accounting Policies - Additional Information (Details)

v3.8.0.1
Summary of Significant Accounting Policies - Additional Information (Details)
9 Months Ended 12 Months Ended
Jan. 01, 2017
USD ($)
Sep. 30, 2016
Dec. 31, 2017
USD ($)
business_activity
segment
Dec. 31, 2016
USD ($)
Dec. 31, 2015
USD ($)
Summary Of Significant Accounting Policies [Line Items]          
Number of operating segments | segment     1    
Number of business activities | business_activity     1    
Bad debt expense     $ 2,100,000 $ 1,400,000 $ 2,000,000
Uncollectible receivables written off     1,600,000 1,800,000 1,100,000
Capitalized additional costs associated with software     6,100,000 4,900,000 8,300,000
Impairment of long-lived assets     $ 0 0 0
Initial lease term     20 years    
Percentage of lesser lease term than estimated economic life     75.00%    
Percentage of minimum lease payments exceeds fair value under lease classification criteria     90.00%    
Shipping and handling fees charged to customers     $ 3,700,000 2,600,000 2,600,000
Advertising costs     18,600,000 30,200,000 $ 34,800,000
Solar materials purchases from top five suppliers     $ 188,800,000 $ 184,900,000  
ASU 2016-09          
Summary Of Significant Accounting Policies [Line Items]          
Deferred income tax liabilities, net $ (3,300,000)        
ASU 2016-16          
Summary Of Significant Accounting Policies [Line Items]          
Prepaid tax assets, net 378,500,000        
Recognized deferred tax assets 378,200,000        
Inverters          
Summary Of Significant Accounting Policies [Line Items]          
Estimated useful life     10 years    
Solar energy systems          
Summary Of Significant Accounting Policies [Line Items]          
Estimated useful life   20 years 35 years    
Solar energy systems | Minimum          
Summary Of Significant Accounting Policies [Line Items]          
Estimated useful life     35 years    
Retained Earnings (Accumulated Deficit) | ASU 2016-09          
Summary Of Significant Accounting Policies [Line Items]          
Cumulative effect of new accounting principle in period of adoption 3,300,000        
Retained Earnings (Accumulated Deficit) | ASU 2016-16          
Summary Of Significant Accounting Policies [Line Items]          
Cumulative effect of new accounting principle in period of adoption $ (300,000)