Vivint beats on revenue — but losses widen in Q1 as residential solar hunkers down


In Q1, solar installer and financier Vivint brought in $91.2 million in revenue, up a considerable 31% from the $69.4 of revenue brought in during Q1 of 2019. The company also built on its gross profit in comparison to a year ago, bringing in $16.3 million to 2019’s $11.9 million.

But, as with Sunrun’s result earlier this week — when it comes to residential solar companies, cash is easy to come by and just as easy to lose.

While revenue and gross profit both grew at Vivint in Q1 2020, so did operational losses. Vivint reported $51.9 million in losses from operations, 26% more than the $41.2 million reported a year ago. That said, Vivint’s gross retained value increased also increased, by approximately $88 million, bringing the total to $2.4 billion.

Vivint’s cost-per-watt also increased in Q1 202, the third straight quarter that it has done so.

That $3.80 per watt cost figure is roughly 7% higher than the $3.54 reported in Q4 2019 and is 9% higher than the $3.56 per watt cost the company experienced to kick off 2019. Broken down, installation costs rose to $1.95/W, the first time that figure has eclipsed the $1.90 mark since Q1 2018. Sales and marketing costs rose 6¢ to $1.41/W, the highest number reported in more than two years and nearly 18% higher than the $1.16/W recorded in Q1 2019. General and administrative costs rose by a drastic 9¢/W to 44¢/W, though that mark is still down on the year, as the cost sat at 45¢/W in Q1 2019.

Solar woes and Covid concerns

As for the solar side of business, Vivint installed 56.1 MW in Q1 2020, the lowest installation mark since Q2 2020, which it beat by 0.1 MW. This is still significant growth over Q1 2019, when the company installed 45.6 MW. Year-over-year, that’s a nearly 19% increase in installations.

Of the 56.1 MW installed, 49.7 MW of those installations were power purchase agreements/leases, while the remaining 6.4 MW were actual system sales. The company has now installed approximately 1,350 MWs to-date.

Vivint expects that 56.1 MW installed mark to look good in comparison to what is to come in Q2. As has been true for nearly every company to report Q1 earnings, the impact of Covid-19 will not be felt until next quarter’s earnings.

In light of this, Vivint estimates that it will install 35 MW to 38 MW in Q2. The company has also withdrawn the full year 2020 guidance it provided on March 10, 2020.

Vivint Solar CEO, David Bywater, said:

“Covid-19 has been unlike any other crisis that we have experienced in our lifetimes. The health and safety of our customers and employees has been our greatest concern during this pandemic. We have responded by making painful but necessary changes to our sales practices and cost structure. Our team has shown great resilience and remains focused on the values of our business. Although our volumes have declined, we expect that navigating this crisis will make us a stronger and more nimble company in the future.”

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