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Published on May 21st, 2014 | by Zachary Shahan


Verengo Solar, #3 Residential Solar Installer In US, Up For Sale?

May 21st, 2014 by  

verengo-solarA document was leaked to me earlier this week indicating that Verengo Solar was up for sale and Bank of America Merrill Lynch had been retained to facilitate the sale. We haven’t written much about Verengo Solar, admittedly, but it was the #3 residential solar installer in the United States last year. #1 SolarCity and #2 Vivint Solar have apparently been better at getting our attention, and the attention of other media outlets, but Verengo Solar has clearly done a good job of getting solar panels on homeowners’ roofs.

That said, before diving a bit deeper into the document passed along to me, let’s be clear that rankings can mask big differences in market share. We have written about SolarCity perhaps more than any other solar company, but that company actually commanded 26% of the residential market in 2013 (+ a great portion of the commercial market), according to GTM Research. Vivint had 8% of the residential market and Verengo had 6%. (REC Solar, which was recently acquired by Sunrun), was next at 3% of the market.

As is well known, the solar industry has been consolidating and vertical integration is becoming more and more popular at the top. Who will come along and buy Verengo Solar is a very interesting question that is currently way up in the air.

Verengo Solar was founded in 2008 by Randy Bishop and Ken Button — not a bad time to start a solar installation company. At the moment, it is owned by those two founders as well as equity funders Angeleno Group and ClearSky Power & Technology Fund.

The company overview in the document shared with me (which I can’t verify 100% is authentic but certainly seems to be so) indicates that:

  • Verengo Solar generates 5,000+ leads per month
  • has a sales force of ~120 employees and ~220 field marketers
  • is one of the top companies in the industry for conversion rates from leads to sales
  • is one of the top companies in the industry when it comes to average installation time
  • has installed about 11,500 systems for a total capacity of over 60 megawatts (MW)

Verengo is based in California but its service territory also includes New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut, with plans to move into Massachusetts this year. Verengo announced expansion into Connecticut at the end of April.

In California, Verengo apparently comes it at #2 in terms of residential solar market share, with 9% of the market. “Company A” comes in at #1 with 22%. I’m sure we all know who Company A is. But I think the useful thing to note here is that Verengo is indeed #2 in the biggest residential solar market in the US.

Interestingly, this document leaked to me was apparently published in March, approximately one month after a top figure at Verengo reached out to me to highlight Verengo’s leading position within the industry… by referencing research published approximately one month before that. The note seemed out without any fresh news regarding the company, but now it makes quite a bit of sense. Since that time, Verengo has announced expansion into Connecticut as well as the hire of its 1000th employee.

I’m curious to see who ends up buying Verengo Solar. There should be a good number of very interested companies. Any guesses who will end up acquiring the 3rd largest residential solar installer in the US? Maybe I should run a poll. Drop some ideas in the comments below and I will use those for the poll choices. Also feel free to pass along any more interesting information you have to share about Verengo.

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About the Author

is tryin' to help society help itself (and other species) with the power of the word. He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director and chief editor, but he's also the president of Important Media and the director/founder of EV Obsession and Solar Love. Zach is recognized globally as a solar energy, electric car, and energy storage expert. He has presented about cleantech at conferences in India, the UAE, Ukraine, Poland, Germany, the Netherlands, the USA, and Canada. Zach has long-term investments in TSLA, FSLR, SPWR, SEDG, & ABB — after years of covering solar and EVs, he simply has a lot of faith in these particular companies and feels like they are good cleantech companies to invest in. But he offers no professional investment advice and would rather not be responsible for you losing money, so don't jump to conclusions.

  • Shane F.

    Is that the same with Verengo?

  • Shane F.

    To Sam Jankis, I believe I was quite correct in my comments. Please correct me if im wrong. From what I have gathered, comparing a SolarCity contract to another (my company) You don’t guarantee production, no guaranteed monthly bill, no free over production, no free monitoring, only a 1 year roof warranty rather than 5 years, and no free payment change (you charge $250)

    • Andy

      Not sure where you are getting your info from. But solar city actually allows you to cancel all the way up to day of install with no fees. It is in the contract. Also they warranty the system for either 20 or 30 years depending on which product you choose. They provide 24/7 free monitoring, production guarantees, and if you do the lease any overproduction is yours for free. Also they provide 2 million dollars worth of insurance on every job they install. To top it off they do not place a lien on the property, just an FCC1( fixture filing). So get the facts straight when comparing companies.

      • Shaun Labelle

        Andy if you can show me where it says all that on their agreement I’ll sign up with solar city. I’ve never once seen an agreement from solar city that says that. Especially the free overproduction and no liens. I have seen it on Sunruns agreement however.

  • Shane F.

    To Loren. First, other solar companies are not a competition for one another, the Solar Industry is still in a fairly new state. The only competition is proving to homeowners that Solar Technology really works. SolarCity is no competition considering they have multiple class action lawsuits and they took the PPA idea from other solar companies. PPA is not a finance, thats only on a purchase. A PPA you only pay for the electricity you use off of the panels. Lastly, people are starting to catch on to their bait and switch technique they use. They give a preliminary estimate, get you to sign, then during the inspection, they say they cant do the prior estimate, and since you have already signed, you have no say in what you get charged now. Ill stop now, just giving some insight.

  • abrant

    i do not know who but a deal has closed and someone has bought into Verengo.
    They are closing their Central and Northern California Field offices

    • Austin

      How did you find this out?

      • Abrant

        I know a lot of people who where laid off from those offices that are closing.

  • Kyle Field

    It would be hot to see GE get into this piece of the game.

  • Loren McDonald

    Do we know why they want to sell? Are the founders looking to cash out? Do they think that, due to increasing competition, that the company’s value is likely at its highest? Do they want to merge with another top player to better compete against SolarCity? I assume the document you received has some background on the reason for wanting to sell?

    • Loren McDonald

      Obvious buyers are 1) A competitor; 2) An investment/buyout firm that wants to get in to the solar business; 3) A supplier that wants to control it’s own destiny.

      Less obvious could be: 1) A national homebuilder; 2) commercial construction company; 3) a home services conglomerate like ServiceMaster; 4) A couple of utilities join together.; 5) A financial services company – as away to provide either purchase, lease or PPA financing.

    • Actually, none of that is in the document. I have my guesses, but without any real evidence to support them, I think it’d be best to not conjecture publicly.

      • Sam Jankis

        But the rest of the article doesn’t include conjecture already? I’m a (management) employee at Verengo and got a kick out of reading all of your assumptions! Good luck with this…

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