Vivint Solar’s residential solar leasing program just got a big vote of confidence, a $200 million vote of confidence. The Utah-based company, an offshoot of home services company Vivint, is the latest company to create a large fund to support third-party ownership for residents, making it easier for homeowners to go solar with little up front costs.
Since Vivint entered the residential solar market in 2011 it’s seen a boom in business. That’s good, because the company has publicly stated numerous times that it seeks to be the nation’s largest solar installer. Also since entering the solar business, the company was purchased by the Blackstone Group in September 2012 for more than $2 billion, allowing it to expand further.
"Since 2011, we have leveraged Vivint's sales and internal infrastructure to build a solar business that has exceeded our installation goals consistently each quarter," Vivint Solar COO Brendon Merkley.
In fact, Vivint Solar was the second largest residential solar installer in the U.S. in the first quarter of the year, according to GTM Research’s U.S. PV Leaderboard. The largest is likely SolarCity, which, in addition to its regular residential solar TPO services is also installing solar on over 100,000 military houses under the SolarStrong project. Since Vivint has an existing line of roughly 775,000 customers that use its home automation or security services, it has a large potential pipeline of solar customers it can market to before even having to market outside its customer network.
The new tax-equity funds, two were established, will help Vivint put solar on homes in California, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, and Washington D.C., where it’s already been doing business. "This new funding reinforces market confidence in our ability to expand our leadership in the residential solar space," Merkley says.
Each of the major TPO companies from SolarCity to Sungevity and SunPower have their own unique methods for doing business, from SunPower’s use of its own modules, to Sunrun’s lease or power-purchase agreements. But the success of each company has brought hundreds of millions of dollars from the investment community. In fact, SolarCity’s SolarStrong with Bank of America Merrill Lynch is expected to have an investment cost upwards of $1 billion.
Vivint’s specialty is in offering bundled services. The company offers home security, automation, energy efficiency and now solar. “Vivint Solar designs, installs, monitors, and services the system with no additional out-of-pocket costs to the homeowner,” the company says.