Vivint's IPO

Earlier this year, GTM suggested that solar installer and financier Vivint Solar would be one of the likely candidates for an initial public offering in 2014.

Today, the home security and solar-power provider "confidentially filed" for an IPO of its solar installation business, according to Reuters' sources. (The JOBS act allows firms with less than $1 billion in revenue to confidentially file for an IPO.)

Vivint Solar is second only to SolarCity in U.S. residential solar installations in recent quarters, although Vivint distantly trails SolarCity's gaudy 29 percent market share. The IPO hopeful is the solar integrator and PPA financier unit within Vivint, one of the largest home alarm system and home automation companies, acquired by Blackstone for more than $2 billion in September 2012. Vivint has more than 675,000 customers for its home security and automation services across the country.

Earlier this year, Vivint secured an additional $280 million in tax equity funding. Vivint gained more than $700 million in residential solar financing last year from undisclosed sources -- sources that will presumably be disclosed in the S-1.

The IPO could occur as soon as the fall, according to reports.

SunPower acquisition and auto partnerships

As we reported, SunPower has acquired Stanford University-spawned, early-stage power electronics firm Dfly Systems, according to sources close to the deal. Pricing was not disclosed. SunPower has confirmed the acquisition. Details are scant at this point, but the small firm "builds power electronics that lower system costs," with electronics that can replace "traditional and unreliable" bypass diodes while lowering balance-of-system costs. The voltage management technology has the potential to reduce cabling and improve inverter performance, according to our sources. More details can be found here.

SunPower also announced two new partnerships with auto manufacturers:

  • Audi of America now offers buyers of its first plug-in hybrid vehicle, the Audi A3 Sportback e-tron, the option of signing up for a SunPower solar plus energy storage system.
  • Volkswagen is offering solar systems to Volkswagen e-Golf customers along with "premier access" to an energy storage solution, as well.

Sungevity expansion

Sungevity added New Mexico and Vermont to the states it serves with its online solar design and quote service.

Sungevity claims its software can generate an accurate residential solar installation quote and image based on just a street address and the customer's electric bill. The aim is to eliminate the time and cost of home visits in the design and pricing of residential solar installations.

Andrew Birch, Sungevity's CEO, told GTM, "We think this is part of a bigger trend, with solar cost reduction driving the solar map across America." Birch added that the company is seeing an increase in volumes of cash sales and loans, and that Sungevity's goal is to offer the customer a choice and to make the experience "fantastic."

As for the future of residential solar, Birch says he sees Sungevity's international business as its crystal ball, noting that systems in Australia and the Netherlands continue to drop in cost, while people are increasingly paying in cash for solar.

First Solar reports Q2, sets new efficiency record

First Solar is a thin-film solar leader and project developer. Here is a summary of the results from First Solar's Q2 earnings call presentation:

Technology and Operation Roadmap

  • New world record cell efficiency of 21.0 percent (up from 20.4 percent)
  • Full fleet average efficiency of 14.0 percent in Q2

Pipeline Additions

  • Potential "booking opportunities" increased to 12.7 gigawatts
  • New bookings of 812 megawatts with year-to-date bookings of 1,216 megawatts

Financial Performance

  • Generated operating cash flow of $118 million
  • Maintained earnings guidance for full year 2014

First Solar restated its EPS guidance for 2014, grew its pipeline, had steady bookings of 812 megawatts since Q1, along with continued efficiency gains. A decision on whether to offer a YieldCo is also expected, according to analysts.


Enphase ships 598,000 microinverters in Q2, very near GAAP profitability

Enphase Energy reported Q2 earnings on Tuesday. Here are the highlights:

  • Record revenue of $82.0 million, up 41 percent year-over-year
  • Shipped 132 megawatts (or 598,000 microinverters), up 54 percent year-over-year
  • GAAP gross margin for the second quarter of 2014 was 32.7 percent
  • GAAP net loss for the second quarter of 2014 was $3.0 million
  • Enphase exited the second quarter with a total cash balance of $37.6 million
  • Q3 guidance: revenue within a range of $93 million to $98 million, gross margin within a range of 32 percent to 34 percent

The market appreciated this news -- Enphase stock is up 19 percent to $11.56 per share.