By Brice Wallace
A Lehi-based residential solar provider will add nearly 3,700 jobs over the next two decades as it expands its headquarters operations in Utah and moves to a broader set of home technology offerings.
Lumio Inc. made the announcement after being approved for a $40.3 million tax credit incentive from the Governor’s Office of Economic Opportunity (Go Utah) board. The company is considering locations in Lehi and Salt Lake County for the project.
Founded in December 2020, Lumio currently consists of four regional solar companies and multiple software platforms. The $120 million expansion project will centralize many of corporate functions, along with their operations and sales management, in Utah.
“We’re increasing demand for renewables and decentralized energy production, storage and management, so it’s crucial that Lumio invests heavily in the tech and the people who will meet this demand,” Greg Butterfield, newly named Lumio CEO, said in a prepared statement. “We’re thrilled to partner with Go Utah to ensure the state is at the forefront of sincere sustainability.”
Butterfield noted that the company’s leadership team has built dozens of companies across the Wasatch Front, “so we know from experience that Utah develops and attracts the best people anywhere.”
The project is expected to generate 3,697 jobs paying an average of $93,776. Total new wages from the project are expected to top $4 billion over 20 years, and new state tax revenue is expected to be about $161.2 million during that time.
Wendell Laidley, the company’s chief financial officer, told the Go Utah board that Lumio’s largest markets are in California, Texas and Florida, with a smaller presence in the Pacific Northwest.
“We obviously have large businesses in each of these states. They’re, for the most part, very business-friendly,” he said, adding that Utah’s business climate “is very refreshing.”
“As people have read, the political climate is very favorable to solar. Solar has found a very strong home in Utah historically. We believe that we will be the largest solar company based in Utah very quickly,” now that California-based Sunrun has acquired Vivint Solar, Laidley said. “We’re excited about having a larger footprint here and having a very large employee base. …”
The company is expected to have revenue of $350 million this year and reach $1 billion next year, he said. When the merger of the companies is completed, Lumio will become a top five residential solar company and expects to be in the top three in six to nine months.
But the company has plans beyond solar.
“The broader vision for Lumio is to be the dominant vendor of home services or home experience. When you think about what a homeowner spends money on, solar is probably the single largest activity outside of a large-scale remodel. Other tangential areas of focus would be things like HVAC, roofing, insulation, pest control, alarms, artificial turf. Those are inherently fragmented industries, and we are taking a very technology-centric approach as to how we engage with customers,” Laidley said.
Solar is the company’s “tip of the spear or the Trojan horse, so to speak,” as the company after a solar installation engages with customers about possible follow-on products, he said.
“We’ll be building a software company within Lumio. We expect the number of software engineering and product jobs to be north of a thousand over the course of the next 20 years, so we’re excited about tapping into what is a very vibrant talent ecosystem here in Utah to fill those needs,” Laidley said.
Several executives at Lumio have a strong tech background. Butterfield, a co-founder and chairman before adding the title of CEO, previously led 12 companies past the $1 billion valuation mark and directed, invested in, and sold dozens of tech companies. He founded SageCreek Partners, an advisory and investment firm focused on early-stage technology companies, and as CEO took public Altiris and Vivint Solar. He was inducted into the Utah Technology Hall of Fame in 2009.
“The amount of jobs Lumio will bring to the state will have a big impact on our local economy,” Dan Hemmert, Go Utah’s executive director, said in a prepared statement. “There is a big market for solar and home experience upgrades in Utah, and we wish Lumio success as they continue to grow and expand.”
“While our involvement in this expansion project was limited, we welcome Lumio to Utah’s fast-growing tech industry,” said Theresa A. Foxley, president and CEO of the Economic Development Corporation of Utah. “Our state is a productive base for any innovative company like Lumio.”