Vivint Solar to join Tesla, Sunrun in returning to the Nevada solar market

The last year and a half has been a roller coaster for Nevada’s solar market. The abrupt dismantling of net metering in December 2015 led not only to protests, lawsuits and ballot initiatives, but also the departure of the nation’s largest residential solar installers.

But now the tide has turned. Following Governor Sandoval’s (R) promise that he will sign AB 405, which will re-instate net metering in Nevada, the nation’s three largest residential solar companies have all announced that they will return to the state. Vivint Solar announced on Thursday that it would set up operations in Nevada, after Reuters reported on Monday that both Tesla and Sunrun would return.

“We are very pleased Nevada officials have recognized the broad public support of rooftop solar and reestablished the state’s commitment to the future of renewable energy,” said David Bywater, CEO of Vivint Solar.

Vivint estimates that it will create 60 jobs in Nevada in the coming months, and roughly 100 when it fully resumes operations. This news also follows closely on Vivint’s promise to enter the Colorado market, and at the close of this the company will operate in 18 states, including California, much of the Mountain West and the leading Northeastern states.

Yet despite this wide geographic reach, Vivint has significantly scaled back its operations compared to a year ago, and booked only 52 MW of solar projects during Q1. Like its larger competitor Tesla, Vivint has been focusing more on profitability and broadening its offerings than an all-out drive to gain market share.