Leading US residential solar provider Vivint Solar made two announcements last week, revealing its expansion into the state of Illinois a day before it announced a partnership with one of the country’s largest homebuilders in preparation for California’s upcoming mandate for rooftop solar installations on new homes.
Expansion Into Illinois
Vivint Solar, one of the country’s leading full-service residential solar providers — the third leading solar installer in the first quarter, according to GTM Research, behind SolarCity/Tesla and Sunrun — will expand its offerings to include the midwestern state of Illinois, beginning in Chicago. This is the first time the company has expanded into the Midwest region and brings the number of states it is operating in up to 22.
The company hopes to create upwards of 100 jobs in Illinois within a year, an effort which will be made all the more possible by the sheer lack of solar capacity already in place in the state. According to figures from the US Energy Information Administration and highlighted by the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), Illinois only generates 0.7% of its electricity from solar, making the potential opportunity for a residential solar company with the success of Vivint Solar sizeable.
Further, Vivint Solar expects that the pace of clean energy development in Illinois will increase thanks to the state’s Future Energy Jobs Act (FEJA) which intends to take “important steps toward [the] state’s clean energy future” and preserve the state’s competitive rates. Included within the goals of Illinois’ FEJA is a commitment to “strengthen and expand the Renewable Portfolio Standard to ensure stable, predictable funding for renewable development, providing $180 million per year — growing to $220 million per year — in funding for renewable resources, including new wind power, large-scale solar power, and rooftop and community solar.”
“With a supportive regulatory environment and broad enthusiasm toward clean energy, Illinois is a very promising market for rooftop solar,” said Vivint Solar CEO David Bywater. “In particular, we are thrilled to begin operations in Chicago, the largest metropolitan area in the U.S. where we did not yet have a presence. We believe this state has tremendous potential to become a strong clean energy hub, and we look forward to helping residents embrace solar energy and enjoy greater control over their electricity costs.”
Californian Homebuilder Partnership
A day after the company announced it was expanding into Illinois, Vivint Solar backed that up with news of a partnership with an unnamed but “leading” and “one of the largest” homebuilders in the nation to install solar energy systems on new homes being built in Southern California. (According to a spokesperson from Vivint Solar, the homebuilder requested their name be kept confidential.) The collaboration has been secured in advance of California’s recently-announced decision which mandates solar PV installations atop all new residential buildings starting in 2020.
Announced in May by the California Energy Commission (CEC) as modifications to the Golden State’s 2019 Building Energy Efficiency Standards, the new rule requires all new residential buildings across California to install solar panels or to connect to a community solar project starting in 2020. Additionally, the Commission also voted to approve modifications to the act which will include energy storage and energy efficiency requirements.
“This is an undeniably historic decision for the state and the US California has long been our nation’s biggest solar champion, and its mass adoption of solar has generated huge economic and environmental benefits, including bringing tens of billions of dollars of investment into the state,” said Abigail Ross Hopper, SEIA’s president and CEO in response to the news in May. “Now, California is taking bold leadership again, recognizing that solar should be as commonplace as the front door that welcomes you home.”
Fast-forward to last week, and Vivint Solar’s announced partnership with one of the country’s largest homebuilders paves the way for the company to substantially expand its install base and prove itself a valuable partner for other homebuilders across California and, potentially, across the United States.
Vivint Solar will design solar systems specifically suited for several of the homebuilders offerings and will offer multiple solar plans to homebuyers who will be able to choose from a range of financing options.
“As one of the country’s largest residential solar providers, we are in the ideal position to lead the charge in delivering on California’s mandate,” said David Bywater. “We are proud to collaborate with one of the largest homebuilders in the country and look forward to creating a seamless experience for homebuyers in Southern California to adopt clean, renewable energy.”