Vivint Solar plays up cost per watt reductions in Q4 financial results

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Vivint Solar, in announcing its fourth quarter financial results, has claimed that the company’s cost per watt for installing and producing residential solar electricity fell by 30% during 2014.

The residential installation company also issued its latest guidance for 2015, with an expectation to install between 290MW and 310MW. Its installation numbers of around 50MW for the final quarter of 2014 were stronger than guidance issued in the third, when the company’s CEO Greg Butterfield had advised it was likely to manage only 45-47MW of installations.

This also meant the firm’s fourth quarter installations were up 191% year-on-year for the equivalent period last year. Cumulatively, Vivint says it had installed 228MW of PV as of 31 December across almost 36,000 projects. Figures from GTM Research for 2013 had established Vivint as the second biggest of the US residential installers after SolarCity.

The company posted a jump in revenues from the previous year’s final quarter of 202%, reaching US$5.9 million. In the fourth quarter of 2013, this had stood at just US$1.9 million. However, losses also increased from the equivalent 2013 period, dropping sharply from just US$16.7 million in Q4 2013 to US$40 million in the last quarter of the year just gone. As of the last day of 2014, Vivint held cash and cash equivalents of US$261.6 million.

Naturally, Vivint played up the positive aspects of the results like year-over-year growth and a rise in estimated retained value of 153% in the past year, in materials publicly issued to investors. The company said its cost per watt was at US$2.96 by the end of the year, declining by 30% from US$4.25 at the outset, meaning that on a full year basis cost per watt was at US$3.28.

Vivint, which floated on the New York Stock Exchange last October, raising nearly US$300 million in its Initial Public Offering (IPO), is currently the subject of a class action law suit was taken out by a number of shareholders following “disappointing” third quarter figures, with complainants given a deadline of until 20 January to have filed.

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