Vivint Solar

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What states does Vivint operate mostly in?

Arizona, California, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and New York. Under a PPA, Vivint Solar owns the panels, while homeowners put no money down and agree to buy the output of the panels for 20 years, generally at a fixed price that is 15 to 30 percent below what they are currently paying. In states where regulations permit so-called “net-metering,” the homeowner gets the credit when the panels produce more than the house uses. That’s part of the reason Vivint Solar operates only in states where net metering is allowed and where the combination of solar resources and high utility prices make a PPA appealing. (Vivint Solar is active in seven states: Arizona, California, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and New York.)

What does Vivint Solar have to do with college students?

Each summer, Vivint dispatches a few thousand college students, mostly from universities in Utah, to sell alarm systems door to door, on commission, in every state; the Vivint Solar subsidiary taps into the same labor force. Many of the salespeople already have experience as Mormon missionaries—about one-half of Vivint Solar’s sales force is Mormon—so they’re comfortable peddling new ideas to complete strangers and dealing with rejection.

What do I like about hiring college students as solar sales representatives?

  1. We educate these colleges students about the benefits that solar offer. These students sell solar panels, but then they will also most likely to adopt solar, and become evangelists for solar and the environment.

What model does Vivint Solar offer for financing?

Vivint Solar offer PPA.

What is Vivint capacity so far?

This model works, but it takes a lot of effort and cash, with heavily front-loaded costs. Vivint Solar has to hire and train its workers, build offices, and install the systems before it starts collecting monthly payments. It’s shown impressive growth so far, especially considering that the company hasn’t relied on acquisitions—as data in the company’s prospectus shows, the company sold 2,669 systems in 2012, 10,521 systems in 2013, and another 8,625 in the first half of 2014. All told, the company has placed panels on about 21,900 houses in less than four years, with a collective capacity of 129.7 megawatts.

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