Vivint, SolarCity to Create 7,000 Jobs Over Next Decade

SALT LAKE CITY — Thousands of new jobs are expected to be created during the next decade following two expansion announcements Friday.

About 7,000 new full-time positions, boosted by incentives approved by the Governor’s Office of Economic Development, were announced, including energy service provider SolarCity, which plans to open a regional corporate headquarters in Utah that could create 4,000 jobs and $94 million in capital investment, GOED announced.

The California-based company employs more than 12,000 workers nationwide. Upon completion, its new local facility will house its regional corporate headquarters and support functions including human resources, finance, legal, accounting, marketing and sales.

“We’ve chosen Utah as a regional headquarters because of its educated workforce and affordable cost of living for those in the professional roles we will create in the Beehive State,” Brendon Merkley, executive vice president of customer operations for SolarCity, said. “In addition to creating skilled labor and technical roles, the growing solar industry also has increased demand for professional services and supporting functional roles.”

As part of its contract with the state, wages for new employees hired over the 10-year term of the agreement are expected to exceed 125 percent of the county average wage, with projected new state wages over the life of the agreement expected to be approximately $2.4 billion. Additionally, new state tax revenues from corporate, payroll and sales taxes are estimated to be over $110.8 million over the same period.

SolarCity may earn up to 25 percent of the new state taxes they will pay over the life of the agreement through a post-performance Economic Development Tax Increment Finance tax credit rebate of $24,441,053. The company may also earn a post-performance Industrial Assistance Fund relocation grant of up to $200,000 as it relocates management personnel.

Along with the incentive, if SolarCity generates a minimum of 4,500 jobs and meets additional criteria, the firm may earn an extension to the agreement for another five years, the contract states. According to the agreement, the company can earn a portion of the total tax credit incentive each year as it meets certain criteria.

Meanwhile, the GOED board also approved an incentive for Lehi-based energy company Vivint Solar to expand its local operations. Under the terms of the 10-year agreement, the company will create more than 3,000 full-time positions.

Vivint Solar designs, installs, leases and provides monitoring services for its residential rooftop solar energy system customers. The company employs more than 3,000 workers nationwide, including 1,000 employees in Utah.

Vivint Solar recently announced that it would be acquired for $2.2 billion by SunEdison, the largest renewable energy development company in the world.

“Vivint Solar is proud to be headquartered in Utah,” said CEO Greg Butterfield. “Utah has cultivated a hardworking, innovative workforce and we are excited to continue to expand our operations in the Beehive State.”

Per the agreement with the state, the company has indicated that average wages for jobs created in the expansion plan are expected to exceed 125 percent of the Utah County average wage, with projected new state tax revenues from corporate, payroll and sales taxes valued at approximately $49.4 million over 10 years. The company’s growth is expected to generate about $91 million in additional capital investment over the same period.

Vivint Solar may earn up to 25 percent of the new state taxes they will pay over the life of the agreement in the form of a post-performance Economic Development Tax Increment Finance tax credit rebate of $12,347,369. Additionally, if the company generates a minimum of 3,143 jobs and grows to 4,342, it may earn an extension to the agreement for another five years.

Each year as Vivint Solar meets the criteria, it will earn a portion of the total tax credit rebate and may also earn a post-performance Industrial Assistance Fund relocation and training grant of up to $200,000 as it relocates management and trains its expanding personnel.

Email: jlee@deseretnews.com, Twitter: JasenLee1

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Deseret News Wed, 07/01/2015 - 16:00