Another shake-up at the top for Vivint Solar?

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11/13/2013

[UPDATE ON NOV. 14: I heard back late yesterday from SolarCity, which confirmed that Vivint Solar COO Brendon Merkley has joined SolarCity. Molly Canales, a communications associate with that company, told me in an email, "Brendon has accepted an offer to join SolarCity and we’re excited to welcome him aboard." So my report below is no longer speculative.]

Vivint Solar has been making headlines of late regarding the rapid success of the 2-year-old business and the new round of financing it just secured. Now here’s more about the company: The COO of Vivint Solar—a division of home automation/home security provider Vivint—has reportedly jumped ship for SolarCity, Vivint Solar’s larger competitor.

If true, COO Brendon Merkley is following in the footsteps of former Vivint Solar CEO Tanguy Serra, who bailed for SolarCity last spring.

Last month, Vivint Solar announced it had secured $540 million in new financing. And this month, the success of Vivint Solar—based in Provo, Utah—was the topic of Reuters feature story titled, “Knock! Knock! Solar company wins converts going door to door.” The story says that Vivint has quickly captured a 9 percent share of the residential solar installation market in the United States.

Interestingly, the Nov. 8 also extensively quotes COO Merkley on some of the secrets of Vivint Solar’s success. Vivint Solar also announced in June that Merkley had been elected as the executive committee’s state policy committee chair for the Solar Energy Industry Association.

But Reuters reports that SolarCity remains the market leader, with a 26 percent share.

And yesterday, Greentech Media reported that Merkley had defected to SolarCity.

I have reached out to Vivint Solar and SolarCity but Greentech Media says in its Nov. 12 report that it has already done that. “Vivint has confirmed that Merkley has left the firm. SolarCity has confirmed that Merkley is joining the firm,” the site reported.

Greg Butterfield this fall took over Serra’s old job as CEO of Vivint Solar. Who will replace Merkley? Stay posted!

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