Rival solar companies go head-to-head

A deepening battle has engulfed the beleaguered renewable energy sector as bosses at two of America’s largest solar companies – Sunrun and Vivint Solar – are battling for control of the industry.

Sources told CNNMoney that an ill-fated bid by Sunrun for Vivint Solar in 2016 was the catalyst for a battle between the chief executives of the companies.

Chief executive Josh Davis of Sunrun — a major player in the solar industry — was said to want Vivint Solar to become a publicly traded company, meaning it would be subject to more scrutiny and could face greater competition.

Sunrun and Vivint Solar have been locked in battle for years, but tensions between the two are building ahead of an end-of-January deadline to report financial results to the Securities and Exchange Commission.

In its initial public offering filing last year, Vivint Solar was valued at roughly $1.27 billion. Under the control of the Sunrun board of directors, it had revenue of $482 million last year and a net loss of $230 million.

One of the most relevant outcomes of the energy company’s financial struggles could be a contested election at Vivint Solar’s upcoming annual shareholders meeting, at which investors could unseat executives.

“There is a lot of discord with respect to the companies’ leadership,” a person familiar with the matters told CNNMoney.

The sources claimed Davis is also irritated by a decision made by Vivint Solar to purchase a Norwegian offshore wind project for $600 million. The source said Sunrun had explored such a deal previously and wouldn’t have pursued one if it had been informed of it.

Sunrun and Vivint Solar did not respond to requests for comment.

Analysts at Moody’s wrote in November that “the likelihood of significant disruption” has increased as the industry’s business model has “expired.”

As well as taking financial hits, the renewables sector has been battered by regulatory changes and concerns about the looming installation of a new president.

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