Vivint Solar recently had its IPO, so it has been an exciting and critically important time for the residential solar power company. CEO Greg Butterfield generously took some time out of his very busy schedule to answer some questions.
1. You have been through a number of IPOS. What was your impression of this one?
This is an exciting time in an emerging industry. The momentum and the camaraderie in the industry to grow solar is incredible. I view this as a financial event and am interested in the long-term. I was pleased with the pricing and we had a great reception with around 400 meetings. People got the story and were really excited about Vivint Solar.
2. Where will you focus the funds you raised to help Vivint?
We will use the proceeds to repay outstanding financial obligations and grow our business over the next 12 to 18 months.
3. It seems Vivint is compared with Solar City with some frequency, what would say are the key differences?
There are some differences in our businesses. We are downstream, whereas I think that SolarCity is going midstream. It recently bought a panel company and a racking company. We have partnerships with panel makers and racking companies, but don’t think we can be the best in everything, and are not looking to get into hardware. I think that gives us more strategic alignment with our customers, because we’re always looking to partner with the best providers.
4. What are some of Vivint’s near-term goals following the IPO?
Staying focused on things we can control.
5. There is so much work to be done in bringing solar power to homes and businesses across America that one could also take the view that Vivint and Solar City are actually working in a complementary fashion. Is there also more space for new solar power companies to join in and grow solar together?
Absolutely. Residential solar holds less than 1% market penetration in the United States, so we welcome others to join us to increase that market.
6. How many employees do you have currently and how much do you expect to grow in the next five years?
We currently employ more than 2500 employees and will strategically hire to meet business demand.
7. Are you expecting utility-scale solar power to be any challenge to your business model?
No. We are currently only installing on residential rooftops.
8. Is Vivint expecting to add any new business partnerships in the next several years?
While we do not have anything to report at this time, we are always looking for opportunities to partner, license, and invest in complementary products, technologies, or businesses.