Vivint Solar and Mercedes-Benz to Compete With Tesla in Home Energy Storage

A new partnership combines Mercedes-Benz batteries with Vivint solar panels, an offering that will first be marketed in California in the second quarter.

LEHI, Utah – Vivint Solar, based here, is collaborating with Mercedes-Benz to take on Tesla and other providers in the residential solar energy and storage market.

Mercedes-Benz Energy will combine its 2.5 kilowatt-hour energy storage batteries with Vivint’s rooftop solar arrays to make a combined product for homeowners. Mercedes began selling the batteries in Europe and South Africa this year, but its partnership with Vivint, announced Thursday, represents its entrance into the United States market.

“As Mercedes-Benz electrifies its vehicle fleet, solar plus storage is essential to enable those vehicles to be powered by clean energy,” states Boris von Bormann, CEO of Mercedes-Benz Energy Americas, in a press release. A similar program has already been successful in Europe, according to the company.

The offering includes the complete package: batteries, inverter, all required technical components, professional installation, permitting, system design and consultation with Vivint Solar. The installation of the entire system, including the solar panels and the battery, typically takes one to two days, once permits are secured.

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Vivint Solar, an offshoot of Vivint Smart Home, has installed more than 100,000 solar energy systems across the U.S. since being launched by its parent company in 2011. According to Vivint Solar, the new combined systems of solar panels and storage batteries will allow customers to store excess power for use in emergencies or when higher “peak usage” rates are in effect for service areas.

Vivint Solar plans to use its regular sales force, which largely goes door to door, to market the batteries. Costs will vary depending on the system, but a fully installed 2.5 kWh battery system, when paired with a solar energy system will cost about $5,000, according to Vivint Solar. A 20 kWh home energy storage system – made of several connected batteries – will cost about $13,000 fully installed.

The partnership gives the two companies a product offering similar to those that other firms are bringing to market. Tesla in particular has touted the benefits of selling energy storage batteries with solar panels. The company has begun taking orders for its solar roof tiles, which can be connected to its Powerwall batteries.

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The Vivint/Mercedes program will begin rolling out in California in the second quarter, according to the press release. New customers in California will be able to buy the offering outright or finance the purchase, either through one of the institutions Vivint Solar has relationships with or their preferred lender.

“The choice to work with Mercedes-Benz Energy, a world-class innovator in energy storage, was an easy one,” says David Bywater, CEO of Vivint Solar. “We believe their energy storage system is going to delight our customers and are impressed with their ambitious plans for the future.”

Vivint Solar is one of the three largest residential solar installers in the U.S., though it trails SolarCity, which Tesla acquired late last year.

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