Vivint branches out from security to solar

It creates new company to sell solar roof panels to customers door-to-door
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Thursday, October 20, 2011

PROVO, Utah—Vivint Solar, a new company created in June by the security/home automation Vivint—both of which are based here—is taking Vivint’s successful door-knocking model and employing it to sell solar panels to residential customers.

“It’s the same philosophy and approach we have with security,” Tanguy Serra, president of Vivint Solar, told Security Systems News.

Vivint Solar sold panels to about 200 homes in New Jersey since it started and now, with the infusion of $75 million in financing from a subsidiary of U.S. Bancorp, says it plans to install 2,400 more, expanding to the states of New York, Utah and Hawaii. The money is in the form of renewable energy tax equity commitment.

Customers get free installation, monitoring and maintenance of the solar panels and buy the power they get from them at a lower rate than they would normally pay their local utility, the company said. They lock into lower monthly rates in a 20-year contract.

Selling and installing affordable solar panels is “a great complementary product to our [Vivint’s] existing products,” Serra told SSN.

He noted that Vivint, founded in 1999, started out selling security and related products. Then the company branched out into home automation and rebranded early this year from APX Alarm to emphasize its new focus along with its traditional security products.

He said that with home automation offerings, customers can save money by controlling how much energy they use. “What solar does it take it a step further,” Serra told SSN.

Serra said Vivint Solar is a separate company but it works closely with Vivint and its new Energy Division.