Backed by parent Vivint Inc., Vivint Solar just bagged $75 million in financing from US Bancorp. The home security and energy efficiency company will continue its push into a new space, and will try to bring cheaper solar energy into consumer homes from coast to coast for between about $50 and $70 per month.
Among the points that Vivint Solar boasts separate it from competitors: just eight percent client attrition after solar panels are installed and a wait of only a few days before the first stages of installation commence.
The pivot play comes at a time when other companies (like Time Warner and Comcast, among other strategics) are increasingly looking to invade Vivint’s traditional business, trying to launch consumer products offering monitoring, security, and even digital energy maintenance packages to consumers. Having already grown over the last decade into one of North America’s largest home security firms, it seems like the time was right to shift attention to energy efficiency.
Vivint Inc. CEO Todd Pedersen said the company is buying solar panels at a discount prior to installation, and that Vivint Solar does not provide financing options, instead opts to bill customers directly. Consumers save on electricity consumption after locking in monthly rates set on a 20-year horizon, and Vivint installs, maintains and monitors its rooftop products. Primarily, Pedersen said, Vivint Solar products will be sold to consumers. The company has separate plans to test the commercial market.
Tanguy Serra, whose prior experience includes Morgan Stanley Capital Partners and TPG Capital, has been tapped to serve as Vivint Solar’s president.
The solar company’s parent, Vivint Inc., is backed by a hefty and growing credit facility provided by a consortium of lenders led by Goldman Sachs. It also sold an equity stake to Goldman Sachs PE, Peterson Partners and Jupiter Partners. (The ownership PE investors hold in Vivint Inc. is not the same company that US Bancorp opted to finance. US Bancorp only bought into the solar biz.) Pedersen declined to offer any valuation specifics, but said that the credit facility—which began at $50 million and has since mushroomed to $690 million—will likely again be up sized in 2012.
Pedersen went on to say it is unlikely that Vivint will conduct another round via equity stake sale, and that he does not expect M&A will be a substantive part of Vivint Inc.’s plans.