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Vivint Solar soaks up $540M to help American homes go solar

Image Credit: Vivint Solar

Vivint Solar has raised half a billion dollars to finance residential solar projects around the U.S..

The Provo, Utah-based company is the second largest residential solar installer in the U.S. It designs, installs, monitors, and services solar systems with no upfront costs to the home owners.

The solar market has had its fair share of challenges. Residential and commercial customers alike have proved reluctant to pay the hefty price for purchasing, installation, and maintenance.

This is where “solar power service” providers like Vivint Solar and competitors Sunrun and SolarCity step it. These companies aim to make it easier and more affordable to switch to solar power. They take care of all the grunt work and customers only pay for the electricity they generate through a power purchase agreement (PPA).

Green Tech Media and Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) forecast that during 2013, the industry will install 4.4 gigawatts of solar-power facilities, up 33 percent over the same period in 2012. Furthermore, solar installations are up more than 75 percent, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association, which projects another 65 percent increase in 2013.

The industry’s rapid expansion has made solar the fastest growing energy source in the United States, according to the SEIA. These trends have created opportunities for companies like Vivint Solar to bring solar to the masses with innovative financing solutions.

While cost effective for consumers, this approach requires a hefty amount of capital for those wanted to install solar panels.

Vivint raised $200 million of tax equity financing in August, which means it has raised three-quarters of a billion dollars in three months. Sunrun secured $630 million to finance its projects in June, and SolarCity raised a whopping $455 million before going public in December 2012. 

Vivint Solar currently operates in California, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, and Washington, D.C.

Vivint Solar is part of home automation company Vivint, which sold over 50 percent of the company to global investment firm Blackstone Group earlier this year in a deal worth nearly $2 billion. Vivint claims to be the largest home automation company in North America.

It launched its solar program in 2012 and aims to reach 10,000 solar-managed homes by the end of 2013.

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