Making it easier and more affordable to install rooftop solar systems on homes, businesses, government and military properties, and nonprofits and churches across the state, Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal has signed into law the Solar Power Free Market Financing Act. Representing a welcome change in Georgia, the new consensus legislation is considered an important victory for property rights supporters, as well as solar advocates, and is enthusiastically applauded by the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA).
Introducing an industry-leading product that will allow both first-time and experienced investors to tap into the renewable energy tax credit market, US Bancorp (NYSE:USB) and ORIX USA Corp. recently announced the launch of US Bancorp’s first renewable energy syndication.
“This is a new phase of business development for US Bancorp,” said Zack Boyers, chairman and CEO of US Bancorp Community Development Corporation. “Entering into our first renewable energy syndication agreement allows us to expand SolarCity’s ability to install more energy-saving solar arrays on homes and businesses across the nation that will, as a result, produce more jobs and assist in the country’s economic recovery.”
Prioritizing ease-of-use for home solar installers, and long-term value for homeowners, a new partnership between Sungage Financial and SMA America is offering innovations in home solar finance.
Sungage Financial, a leading residential solar finance platform, is making it easier for homeowners to realize the financial benefits of solar ownership while saving on energy costs at the same time. Offering convenient, flexible repayment terms, the Sungage® Solar Loan does not require a down payment.
The new partnership pairs Sungage’s simple-to-use home solar finance platform with SMA, the global market leader for residential solar inverters. With a broad product portfolio, SMA offers a compatible inverter for all solar PV system sizes and for every type of solar module on the market.
Making it possible for many New Mexico homeowners to install solar with no upfront cost, SolarCity is now offering its groundbreaking MyPower solar loan in the state. Expecting its unique solar ownership program to immediately become the most affordable residential solar power option in New Mexico, SolarCity states that homeowners will pay as much as 20 percent less by going solar than they are paying for utility power. America’s #1 solar power provider, SolarCity provides solar power to businesses and government organizations throughout the nation, and has completed hundreds of projects in New Mexico.
“I’m excited to welcome SolarCity to New Mexico,” said U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.). “Solar energy’s future in New Mexico is as bright as our sun—our tremendous solar resources should be harnessed as an engine of economic and job growth for our state. SolarCity’s decision to come to New Mexico is great news for our residents, our economy and our environment.”
SolarCity’s MyPower Loan Program
New Mexico will be the first place where SolarCity (NASDAQ: SCTY) has launched solar service through MyPower exclusively. The company’s MyPower loan program and its affordability has made it very popular. Introduced in October of 2014, already more than 12,000 customers across the country have signed up.
Most solar loans are provided to homeowners by third-party banks and municipalities in partnership with solar manufacturers and regional installers. However, through its subsidiary, SolarCity Finance Company, SolarCity acts as a lender to its customers, offering some of the industry’s best financing terms. SolarCity notes the advantages of this, pointing out that “some competitor products place a lien on the customer’s home and involve an onerous approval process. MyPower places no lien on the home, making it easier to transfer in a sale.”
Except for the added advantage of retaining ownership of the solar panels, homeowners repay their MyPower loan similarly to the way a customer would pay for a solar power purchase agreement (PPA), based on the solar energy the system produces from the sun.
Bringing Operations Center Jobs to Albuquerque
As SolarCity expands into New Mexico, the company states that it is also opening a new operations center in Albuquerque this month. Jobs available include sales, installation, and positions supporting these roles. Approximately 50 local employees are expected to find positions in SolarCity’s initial round of hiring.
SolarCity will initially be offering solar service to homeowners in specific areas of New Mexico. These areas will include customers of the utility company PNM in Albuquerque, Santa Fe, and their surrounding areas, as well as homeowners that are customers of El Paso Electric in the Las Cruces area.
One of the Best Solar Markets in America
New Mexico will be the 16th state that SolarCity operates in, and the company believes it has the potential to be one of the best solar markets in America. New Mexico is one of the sunniest states in the U.S., and Albuquerque is one of America’s sunniest cities.
SolarCity points out that it will accommodate New Mexico solar customers on a first-come, first-served basis. Area homeowners interested in SolarCity’s services can contact the company directly at 1-888-SOL-CITY (1-888-765-2489) for a free, no-obligation solar consultation or visit SolarCity online. Candidates interested in employment opportunities in New Mexico can review available positions and contact SolarCity directly via its online jobs form.
Photo Credit: SolarCity van, from wikimedia commons.
Vivint Solar announced last week that it’s putting forward a $200 million IPO to the Securities Exchange Commission to finance future growth.
Currently number two, behind SolarCity, in US solar PV installations, Vivint Solar’s IPO is being financially backed by some heavy hitters. Key underwriters include: Goldman Sachs, Merrill Lynch, Pierece, Fenner & Smith, and Credit Suisse, notes Reuters.
Vivint Solar’s growth has been steady. According to its SEC filing, it has provided 21,900 homeowners in 7 states with 129.7 MW of solar power capacity. Investors have committed over $443 million in investments to install over $1 billion in fair market value (FMV). It also has further tax equity commitments of 53 MW of installations, at a FMV of near $269 million.
Even with the company’s advances in installations, it has taken some heavy financial losses. By June 30, 2014, Vivint had lost $76.2 million. It has acknowledged further losses as it continues to expand its operations, and is unsure the revenue will increase fast enough to slow further financial pain. However, with many businesses in game-changing industries, it can take years before a company is profitable. It took Tesla ten years before finally making a profit in 2013.
As Vivint continues its growth while trying to stop the financial bleeding, Greentech Media had a great analysis on its operations and business model.
For starters, Vivint is in fewer markets than top dog SolarCity and some others. It’s in seven states (it just recently expanded to Arizona). In comparison, SolarCity, Sungevity, and Solar Universe are active in close to a dozen states. It is a distant second to SolarCity in California.
However, Vivint Solar has beat out for the past several quarters SolarCity as the top installer in Massachusetts and New York, showing its strongest market for further growth might on the East Coast.
Secondly, Vivint Solar uses its parent’s model for attracting sales. The following explains why it may not be expanding as fast as they would like:
Vivint Solar is well known for its sales model, which was adopted from its parent company Vivint Inc. and consists almost entirely of door-to-door soliciting (in addition to referrals). This strategy may explain the company’s slow expansion to new states, as it requires hiring a large sales team…. Vivint’s acquisiton of Solmetric was meant to further increase the efficiency of its door-to-door sales by allowing sales reps to take roof measurements, create a preliminary design, and potentially close the sale on the first visit. The installer even foregoes state incentives in some cases to speed up the installation process.
Thirdly, Vivint is the only solar financier that currently has no loan option, choosing to go solely with leasing and purchase power agreements. It’s also one of two companies which both installs and finances solar systems. With solar financing a stumbling block for consumers, Vivint could always look for more creative financing schemes to attract customers down the road.
Cleantech IPOs have been quite successful in recent years. SolarCity, when it released its IPO in December 2012, raised $92 million on its first day. Its ending opening day share price was $11.79/share. As of August 29th, SolarCity’s share price was $68.68.
Whether Vivint can reach the scales of SolarCity or Tesla on its first day is highly unlikely. However, a successful IPO opening will give Vivint a much needed cash boost as it funds further growth and looks to increase its market share.