Vivint Solar lands new funding as US residential market dips

Commitments of $100m give the residential solar provider the capital to expand its US footprint, but data shows the market is softening.

Blackstone-owned Vivint Solar has received investments from two undisclosed investors for $100 million to expand its residential solar business in the US.

The investments were tax equity commitments from two investors that have previously provided funding to the residential solar provider. The investments will install up to 70MW of residential solar systems for around 10,000 new customers.

“Our capital partners play an essential role in enabling us to grow our residential solar business,” said Stewart Bewley, vice president of capital markets at Vivint Solar.

Vivint has taken on a number of debt financing arrangements since last March in an attempt to rebound from a botched $1.9 billion buyout from now bankrupt SunEdison.

The solar provider has taken on hundreds of millions of dollars in debt from several lenders including Investec Bank and NY Green Bank. In January, it closed on $303 million of debt and equity financing from Bank of America Merrill Lynch and four undisclosed institutional investors.

The company launched in 2011 and helped revolutionise the US solar industry by deploying financing platforms to install micro-solar projects with no upfront costs, having customers repay installations through power purchase agreements based on the energy produced.

For years, the US residential solar market achieved dramatic growth, but it seems to be entering a lull, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance data. For the first time in 16 years, residential solar system installations will see a year-on-year year decline in 2017, marking a 2.4 percent dip to 2.6GW. Part of this contraction is due to utilities pushing back against home solar systems generating power off the grid, and changes in state policies.