Centrica moves into West Coast solar with Vista acquisition

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Last Friday Centrica plc closed on its acquisition of Vista Solar, an engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contractor that has installed around 40 MW of commercial and industrial solar in California since it was founded in 2008.

Centrica says that the EPC will be incorporated into its Distributed Energy and Power business, where it will join the Direct Energy Solar team that was incorporated earlier this year. Unlike Direct Energy the Vista brand will be kept, and and all employees including its CEO will be retained.

Like the other Distributed Energy and Power businesses Vista will be under Centrica Business Solutions, which entered the North American market in February. The Vista acquisition was framed by Centrica as a means to expand its footprint “in one of the largest economies in the world”, and Centrica plans to grow both Vista’s business and the Business Solutions presence.

“Combining Vista Solar’s impressive track record with our own in-house capabilities in energy insight, demand management, and onsite generation and storage puts us in a unique position to help more organizations in North America to take advantage of the changing energy landscape,” noted Centrica Business Solutions Global Managing Director Jorge Pikunic.

Centrica is no stranger to solar, and estimates that it has facilitated the installation of more than 150 MW of solar globally. “We enable solar solutions for our customers, whether directly installing, originating or financing a project,” company spokesperson Alexandria Houstoun told pv magazine.

However, Centrica seems to be seeking to find the right way to engage in solar, as it exited its North American residential solar business, which the company described as “loss-making” in the second half of last year.

For its part, Vista solar notes the advantages of its much larger partner. “We believe access to Centrica’s scale, multi-technology solutions, and strong balance sheet will help us deliver better solutions to our customers,” stated Vista Solar President & CEO Jaymes Callinan.

 

Update: This article was updated at 3:06 PM EST on September 6 to include clarity on the status of the acquisition and additional details supplied by Centrica.