Blackstone’s Vivint Aims at Top Home-Solar Spot, CEO Says
Vivint Inc., the home automation and security company that agreed last month to sell itself to Blackstone Group LP (BX) for $2 billion, is seeking to become the top U.S. installer of consumer rooftop solar systems in 2013, its chief executive officer said.
Vivint expects to install panels at atop least 10,000 homes next year, up from about 1,500 to date, founder Todd Pedersen said.
The company provides security and power management services to almost 700,000 customers in the U.S. and Canada, creating a ready-made customer base, Pedersen said. Clients’ homes are already connected to Vivint’s network, and photovoltaic panels are an easy add-on feature.
“We went from installing about one a day in January to about 20 a day now,” he said in an e-mail yesterday. “Forty- five to 50 installs a day gets us to that number. It’s not that big of a stretch.”
Vivint, based in Provo, Utah, is at heart a technology services company, he said. It operates an electronic hub that connects a variety of services, such as automatically switching on light and heaters, monitoring entry and managing appliances to conserve electricity.
Being owned by Blackstone will give the company access to capital to expand its solar operation, Pedersen said. Vivint will own the power systems and homeowners pay the company a monthly fee for the electricity. The purchase is expected to close by the end of the year.
Vivint has a big gap to close with SolarCity Corp., the top U.S. residential solar installer with about 16 percent market share in the second quarter, according to Shayle Kann, vice president at Boston-based consulting company GTM Research. Vivint had about 1 percent share.
“It’s hard to imagine anyone unseating them in a year,” Kann said in an interview. Vivint “would have to grow enormously. SolarCity is also growing very fast.”
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