Vivint Solar signs deal with ChargePoint to offer EV charging solution

Vivint Solar announced a strategic agreement with ChargePoint, the world’s largest electric vehicle (EV) charging network, to offer ChargePoint Home charging solutions and custom installations directly to residential customers. This is only a few months after Vivint’s deal with Mercedes-Benz.

Vivint Solar will work with ChargePoint and other strategic collaborators to provide Fully Integrated Solar, the industry’s most comprehensive residential product suite featuring a solar energy system, EV charger, home battery and smart home technology for intelligent energy management. By leveraging best-in-class energy technologies, Fully Integrated Solar from Vivint Solar enables consumers to build their own clean-energy ecosystems at home.

Vivint solar

Vivint Solar is making a move to be the national residential solar provider that offers rooftop solar customers a one-stop shop. Compatible with any EV, ChargePoint Home brings innovation to the home garage, offering the smartest, smallest and most advanced home charging solution for EV drivers. The first and only home charger with ENERGY STAR certification, ChargePoint Home charges EVs up to six times faster than a standard 110V outlet, delivering up to 25 miles of Range Per Hour and using 40 percent less energy than a standard EV charger when not charging. ChargePoint Home features a compact, slim design and is easy to manage with an app that enables drivers to schedule charging, start charging remotely and track energy usage and all charging in one place.

When EV drivers need to charge away from home, they can count on more than 40,000 ChargePoint charging spots across North America. ChargePoint is the only charging company that offers a suite of solutions to serve EV drivers everywhere they go: at home, at work, around town and on a trip.

 

Vivint Solar will offer the ChargePoint EV solution directly to homeowners in select markets in California. Customers will be able to buy the complete home solar solution – or customize a package based on their needs – through Vivint Solar’s personal sales representatives.

— Solar Builder magazine

How Complete Solar doubled its revenue, installs in a year through partnerships

 

solar company revenue software

Stop thinking about Section 201 for a second and let’s celebrate a solar industry success story sent our way from Complete Solar.  The San Mateo, Calif.-based residential solar company says it has doubled its revenue and installations year-over-year after adopting a partner-based business model targeting the residential solar market and signing over 50 companies—including Guarantia Solar and Roof RX—that want to diversify their businesses and grow revenue.

The context

Growth in the residential solar sector has declined 8 percent compared to last year, according to a new report by the Solar Energy Industries Association and GTM Research. One reason for this is that national solar companies are cutting back operations to reduce costs and focus on profits. Complete Solar is bucking that trend and experiencing record growth. Its quarterly revenue is now $10 million. With partner companies, it is now installing solar panels on nearly 200 homes per month, totaling an average installed capacity of between 3 and 4 megawatts per quarter.

“We saw what was happening in the industry and saw that the best way to keep growing was to offer our services and software to partners in a cloud-based portal. The interest and growth we are seeing demonstrates we’re changing how residential solar is sold and delivered,” said Will Anderson, founder and CEO of Complete Solar. “Our platform gives small businesses the same resources that bigger solar companies have and at a fraction of the cost. It decentralizes the sales, financing, and construction parts of the process and is what sets us apart.”

Details on the program

Complete Solar introduced its HelioPro Alliance Program in January 2016, making the platform available to companies looking to deliver lower-cost rooftop systems and more personalized customer service to homeowners. Partners use the platform to gain competitive advantage against larger companies with higher costs, longer wait times and often more expensive systems.

Complete Solar’s advanced software connects the efforts of companies specializing in sales, construction and finance with Complete Solar’s fulfillment services to provide rooftop solar panels to homeowners at a lower cost and to enhance the customer experience. The platform features a powerful, yet simple quoting and proposal process and multiple financing options for customers, while streamlining the back-end fulfillment and construction process. This results in installations being completed in record time. Installed customers are then managed by Complete Solar, which scores high for customer service.

In all, the platform manages every aspect of the customer experience—from origination, fulfillment, construction, finance, and customer care, to ongoing system monitoring and maintenance. Through this platform, Complete Solar partners with best-in-class companies that specialize in each link of the solar value chain such as sales, construction, and finance. The company currently serves the California, New Jersey, and Utah markets.

— Solar Builder magazine

The Section 201 trade case ruling is this week, here’s a final update from SPI

This week, the solar industry finds out its fate. On Sept. 22 (at the latest), the ITC will announce whether it finds in favor of the Section 201 petitioners or not. As a final update on where things stand before that day, a panel of industry executives took the stage at Solar Power International to relay their insights. Here is what stood out to us.

spi trade case seia suniva

• OK, so this point wasn’t hyped up during the discussion much, but I’m hyping it up here: For some reason, there were only four commissioners hearing the case, when, apparently, there are usually more. This matters because a tie results in a petitioners’ win. So, the solar industry needs a 3-1 vote.

• The 201 hearing itself set all sorts of records for duration (11 hours), witnesses called (20) and the number of attendees on hand to show support. The vibe in the crowd was definitely against the petition, and while the hearing itself “could go either way,” panelists were encouraged by the specificity and direction of the followup questions from the commissioners, which seemed to address the points the solar industry was making.

•  The impact of this trade case has been cited a bunch since the petition was filed – 88,000 jobs will be lost immediately; 47 GW will go uninstalled (more than is installed currently) – but Bill Vietas, president of RBI Solar, noted he’s already felt the impact — business started to slow down, developers started changing module orders in response to prices creeping up, and capital has been staying on the sidelines as everyone waits out the uncertainty. If injury is found, Vietas expects at least half of his business to go away.

• The panelists all shared stories of how the petitioners in this case were unreliable and tough to deal with, which was all noted during the case, and which the petitioners “didn’t really dispute.” George Hershman, SVP, general manager, Swinerton Renewable Energy, didn’t mince words, citing shipment delays, product defects and warranty disputes, and then, on top of that: “We did 1.5 GW installations last year. So, we did 75 MW in Oregon, and we said it would be a great opportunity to use SolarWorld modules and use local Oregon content. And every one of them came from Thailand. … Even when we tried to use them in utility-scale project, they couldn’t supply to the Oregon industry.”

• Vietas thinks the downstream impact is still being misunderstood. “A lot of these component manufacturers don’t even know they’re in the solar industry.” Case in point, RBI uses 100 percent U.S. steel in its mounting products, and, perhaps not fully grasping the stakes of the case, U.S. steel have come out in favor of the petitioners, lured by that siren song of trade tariff protection (the steel industry was the last sector to push forward a 201 trade case).

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• Ed Fenster, executive chairman, Sunrun, explained the differences between this petition and the trade case from 2013: 1) In prior cases, the petitioners had to show that imports were a cause of harm; here they must show imports are the principal cause of harm. 2) In the first case, the data showed a lot of underselling by imports; here it was more even handed. 3) In the China and Taiwan cases, the commission was forbidden from considering the effect on downstream and upstream industries; here they have to take that into account. 4) Previous instances when the commission decided to put a tariff under section 201, predominantly, they look to see if the domestic industry can come close to meeting domestic demand. If not, they put a quota system in place where X GW of panels can come in with the rest being tagged from there, which isn’t the case here.

“This is not about malfeasance, just fairly traded goods and a couple companies saying they couldn’t make it,” Fenster said.

• Another HUGE fact, to our ears, via Hershman, that undercuts the entire premise of this petition right out of the gate: “SQN financed an equipment lease for Suniva for $55 million, and in an effort to recapture that investment from a bankrupt company, they became debtor in possession and dragged Suniva into this case. SQN issued a letter to the CCME [Chinese manufacturing industry] saying if you can find somebody to buy our equipment or pay us for our debt, we will drop this case.”

“So, this was about a failed debt that has blossomed into this case … it’s hard to look past that this is an attempt to extort money from manufacturers that has now put all of our jobs at risk.”

• Lastly, I mean, look at this chart, and then make a coherent case for how jobs will increase when panel pries increase. Go ahead, we’ll wait.

solar manufacturing jobs

— Solar Builder magazine

Report: When given the choice, homeowners are going with premium modules

SunPower_Residential

The Solar Marketplace Intel Report released by EnergySage for the first half of 2017 – in which EnergySage examines the results of traffic and sales to its third-party solar marketplace – shows that PV system costs in several states fell below $3/Watt – while interest in premium panels increased.

Shoppers on EnergySage are more likely to select quotes offering Premium and Premium+ panels by 19.6 percent and 59 percent, respectively, than Standard panels. Even though these quotes are quoted less frequently and come with a higher price tag.

Concurrent with these buying trends, EnergySage examined search volumes for solar-related keywords in Google searches and found that since 2014, interest has increased significantly. Google Trends data shows that consumer searches have climbed by anywhere from 25 percent to over 60 percent by H1 2017. During this same time period, the gross cost per watt of solar fell by 18 percent on EnergySage.

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Community solar shoppers are ‘on the fence’ about buying

EnergySage surveyed shoppers on its Community Solar Marketplace™ to understand the motives of prospective community solar customers and the barriers to adoption. The survey found that most shoppers were motivated by the financial benefits of community solar, as well as the benefits of supporting local solar projects. However, interest hasn’t yet translated into high adoption rates. Higher financial savings and simpler, more flexible contracts were mentioned as two possible ways to convince many skeptical shoppers to move forward.
To download the free report, please visit www.energysage.com/data/#intel-5

— Solar Builder magazine

Sungevity 2.0 continues to grow: Horizon Solar Power, Solar Spectrum acquire two more companies

solar company merger

Recently merged Horizon Solar Power and Solar Spectrum – a move that revived the Sungevity brand — have announced definitive agreements for two more acquisitions. Horizon has acquired BrightCurrent, a large retail marketing services provider for solar and other clean energy home services; Solar Spectrum has acquired the solar sales division of Skyline Solar, a full service solar management company.

These announcements and Horizon’s merger with Solar Spectrum within the Sungevity brand represents a significant expansion of the two company’s footprint. The Solar Spectrum and Horizon partnership created the second largest provider of residential solar systems in California and the fourth largest in the country. The acquisition of Skyline Solar and BrightCurrent will further broaden the company’s national presence while enhancing its retail and field marketing capabilities.

“Partnering with Skyline Solar and BrightCurrent allows Solar Spectrum and Horizon to take one more step towards our vision of providing homeowners and businesses across the country the highest quality solar solutions, backed by the very best in customer care and industry-leading technology,” stated Brian Walrod, President of Horizon Solar Power. “The addition of both organizations provides us the opportunity to our expand national reach while ensuring long-term sustainability and enhancing productivity and our customer experience.”

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Meet the companies

Founded in 2012, BrightCurrent is a marketing services provider specializing in field marketing for high value products that often require complex, multi-step sales processes. The company helps leading big box retailers generate demand for energy home services by leveraging its proprietary field marketing technology platform and its national network of approved product partners.

“Our vision from the start was to drive clean energy adoption by getting residential solar into the nation’s leading retail outlets,” stated John Bourne, BrightCurrent’s CEO & Board Member. “This acquisition will further help us accomplish this important mission.”

Based in New Jersey, Connecticut and Massachusetts, Skyline Solar is a full-service solar management company offering a full range of project development services. Through its experienced team of licensed architects and engineers, the company specializes in comprehensive project documentation from initial concepts and site selection/evaluation through site plan development/approval, as well as complete building design and construction.

— Solar Builder magazine