Continuing with its business plan to move beyond just security services, Utah-based Vivint announced this week that it has received $75 million in financing from a subsidiary of U.S. Bancorp to support the company's new solar energy panel installation business called "Vivint Solar."
Vivint CEO Todd Pedersen said that getting into solar energy was a "natural fit" for the company as they continue their transition from an alarm installation business into a residential technology services firm. Earlier this year, Vivint, which was formerly known as APX Alarm, announced that it was changing its name to reflect this new strategy.
"If I was to explain what Vivint is, residential security is one of our platform services, but it's not what we are. We are a home technology services company," he said. "The solar component is just another service into the home that we're doing."
Pedersen said the company currently has about 80,000 customers on its home energy management platform and that 55 percent of its 175,000 to 180,000 new customer installations this year will adopt additional services on top of security.
He added that part of the company's strategy moving forward is to be able to also provide a myriad of other services with a single home management hub including Internet, VoIP, sprinkler system control, and distributed audio among other things. Since Vivint is installing a scalable home technology panel in customers' homes currently, Pedersen said there are no additional equipment costs to incorporate new services because the "brains" are already in place.
"Let's say you just take solar as your initial service from Vivint. And then we said to you, 'well look, we can actually also add thermostats throughout your home... and if you wanted we could add a security component that when you arm your system while you're away, depending on the season, it will adjust with temperature changes.' It's just super integrated."
Pedersen said the company officially launched Vivint Solar three months ago; however, the company has actually been working to develop its solar business over the past two years. Vivint solar currently has several hundred customers that have been "self-funded" by the company thus far, but Pedersen predicted that the company would become a major player in the residential solar energy business soon.
"I'm very confident we'll be the largest residential solar company in the United States next year," he said
The company is currently marketing the solar business through television advertising and door-to-door sales. Pedersen said that they've already hired 50 new people and that they expect to add 750 to 1,000 new employees over the next year.
Pedersen said he believes that Vivint is "getting to a point" where traditional residential security companies are no longer their competition.
"Everyone's got their game plan. Our game plan is very different," he said. "(Home management) is not a feature set that is one of the menu items. It is what we are and what we are to customers."