Gen110 is one of the leading distributed generation sales forces in California. The company uses targeted market research to select clients and then sends sales representatives to discuss energy saving and generation options with homeowners in person. Gen110 has developed partnerships with various solar companies, including third-party developers like Sunrun and generates revenue through those partnerships.
The company has more than 70 employees and 11 California offices. It also had at least 2,000 long-term contracted customers in 2012.
Solar Universe acquired the company primarily to take advantage of its unique sales approach and customer relationships, said Joe Miller, executive vice president in charge of business development for Solar Universe.
“We believe their selling model is going to work on a national level,” Miller said.
This Solar Universe acquisition is in keeping with industry trends. SolarCity announced last month that it purchased Paramount Solar in order to expand its customer outreach.
“What you’re finding today in the solar business is that the new Holy Grail is customer acquisition,” Miller said. “In short, what this acquisition means for us is more customers.”
Miller said that Solar Universe has a very successful traditional marketing campaign and easily reaches customers who are searching online for information about solar or viewing and listening to traditional media. But Gen110’s direct sales approach, customer outreach education and market research provide another avenue for company growth.
“They’re taking their message to customers in a very direct way,” Miller said. “And that’s very complementary to what we do.”
He said the acquisition gives Solar Universe new ways to grow and expand its customer base, which will help to grow the franchise. Solar Universe has 40 independently owned and operated franchises throughout the country. While the majority of its offices are in California, it also has posts in Puerto Rico, Hawaii, Louisiana, Maryland and several other states. Miller said he expects Solar Universe to open another 10 offices before the end of 2013 and another 20 offices in 2014.
“These kinds of mergers are exciting and really show that the solar industry is very vibrant,” Miller said. “Healthy companies are looking to fortify their positions.”