This morning Vivint Solar announced that it has installed solar on the homes of more than 100,000 residential customers. The company also reports that it has reached a combined capacity of over 634 MW of installed solar, however it is unclear if that figure is up-to-date, as it is the same figure reported in its Q3 results.
Regardless, this is a significant milestone for a company which many had given up for dead after the failed buy-out by SunEdison, a process which ended in bankruptcy for the world’s largest clean energy developer. And while the messy end of that transaction took a toll on Vivint and caused the replacement of top executives, in the last few months the residential installer has bounced back.
In the last six months Vivint has raised over $500 million in multiple transactions, and expanded into Texas and New Hampshire, which brings it to a total of 15 states in which the company operates. Vivint Solar has additionally announced a partnership with Vivint’s Smart Home division, which it says makes it the first company to announce a complete Smart Home offering.
Such progress is yet to show in financial results. Vivint has not filed Q4 results, and while Q3 results showed improved profitability, the company had a slight decline in year-over-year installations, which it blamed on the botched SunEdison acquisition. As a result, Vivint was surpassed over the last year by Sunrun as the second-largest residential installer in the United States.
According to GTM Research, Vivint’s market share fell to 9.4% in the first three quarters of 2016, from 10.6% in 2015 and 11.6% in 2014. However, GTM Research Senior Solar Analyst Nicole Litvak notes that this is not the only important metric.
“Despite having a lower market share in 2016, Vivint kept installations roughly consistent compared to 2015,” Litvak told pv magazine. “The company appears to be focusing on lowering costs, raising tax equity, and introducing a loan in more states rather than the “growth at any cost” approach that hasn’t worked out for many public solar companies.”
And all residential solar installers have the same problem. While larger-scale solar installations are growing rapidly, the growth rate of residential solar is slowing due to policy shifts in key markets including California. As a result GTM Research estimates that the U.S. residential solar market grew only 16% in 2016, while the larger solar market nearly doubled.
Update: This article was updated at 11 AM EST on February 22 to include Vivint’s market share and commentary by Nicole Litvak of GTM Research.