Vivint posts year-on-year boost of installs, revenues as net losses persist

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Image credit: Vivint Solar

Vivint Solar scored in 2019 rises of solar system installs and revenues, with analysts predicting the coronavirus crisis is not likely to major dent uptake of PV systems.

Financial results out on Tuesday show the residential solar specialist achieved installs of 233.1MW throughout 2019, with quarterly volumes steadily rising between Q1 2019 (45.6MW), Q2 2019 (56MW), Q3 2019 (65.1MW) and Q4 2019 (66.4MW).

Vivint's PV installs of 233.1MW in 2019 – up 19% on 2018's 196MW – came as its full-year revenues grew 17% to US$341 million, with quarterly jumps in Q1 2019 (US$69.4 million), Q2 2019 (US$90.8 million) and Q3 2019 (US$103.8 million) followed by a sharp dip in Q4 2019 (US$77.1 million).

At US$423.3 million, Vivint's net losses continued to pile in 2019, swelling from the US$279 million figure the firm had reported for 2018. 

At a conference call with analysts, Vivint was quizzed over why quarterly product revenues flatlined or tanked even as sales rose. CFO Dana Russell said it was a “timing issue”, adding that delays with revenue collection means benefits from late-2019 installs will not be seen until Q1 2020.

‘Contingency plans’ as COVID-19 linked to other firms’ lower sales

Vivint’s full-year update was positively seen by analysts at ROTH Capital. Describing the firm’s stock as “compelling” from a relative valuation standpoint, the firm said: ”We believe management is executing well, and that – along with discipline and focus – is the key.”

Vivint’s Q4 2019 installs of 66MW exceeded ROTH Capital’s own forecasts of 65MW. The analysts revised upwards their expectations for Vivint's performance in 2020, predicting the firm will roll out 275MW in FY 2020, starting with 59MW in Q1 2020.

ROTH Capital said Vivint is a  “well-positioned” industry leader despite the challenges it faces, including its exposure to the credit risks of the customers it enlists via PPAs and leases, as well as its reliance on investment tax credits – currently being phased down – and net metering support.

The COVID-19 crisis currently disrupting global supply chains will, ROTH Capital said, likely result in a “weaker than expected” 2020 for US residential specialists. However, any virus-driven delays to the “steady and growing adoption of solar” will likely only be temporary, the firm added.

During the conference call, analysts mentioned reports that some US installers are seeing lower sales volumes as the virus spreads. Vivint CEO David Bywater said demand for the firm’s installs is “holding up nicely” and added that contingency plans are in place to minimise potential impacts.

The prospects and challenges of solar's new era in the US will take centre stage at Large Scale Solar USA 2020 (Austin, Texas, on 23-24 June 2020).

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