NRG Energy Acquires Goal Zero to Expand Solar Offerings


Energy company NRG Energy (NYSE:NRG) seems intent on shaking things up. The company, already known for being forward-thinking, last week announced it would “crowdsource” an executive search, in addition to undergoing a major restructuring. The company’s new NRG Home arm will handle the retail business, which includes rooftop solar installation, home energy management, and electric vehicle charging — and now, personal solar products.

That last category is coming from Goal Zero, which NRG has just acquired for its suite of portable solar power and battery-pack products and accessories. Goal Zero, headquartered in Salt Lake City, employs about 100 people. Its products, like a solar charger small enough to fit in a backpack or briefcase, were popular at the Consumer Electronics Show in January.

NRG says the acquisition aligns with its mission to lead the market in offering cleaner, smarter choices and sustainable lifestyle solutions to end-use energy consumers across the country. And that means everyone — not just homeowners who can put solar on their roof. The company is framing this as a means to personal freedom and power (pun intended?).

“The ultimate manifestation of distributed clean generation is personal power. Only about one in four Americans are themselves homeowners but every American has a need for personal energy free from the tether of plug and cord,” said David Crane, President and CEO of NRG. “The acquisition of Goal Zero — the best company in its field — aligned alongside our established system power franchise and our fast-growing residential solar business, dramatically expands our reach, enabling us to serve every American who desires to be part of the clean energy future.”

“We are at the forefront of the era of personal power where people can live their lives beyond the constraints of the traditional electricity system. With Goal Zero products, consumers are free, untethered and powered wherever they go,” said Elizabeth Killinger, president of NRG Retail. “The acquisition of Goal Zero enables us to put power in people’s hands and deepens the relationship we have with our customers.”

Robert Workman, founder and CEO of Goal Zero, echoed the sentiment. “Our mission is to put reliable power in the hands of every human on earth,” he said. “Being part of NRG allows us to reach this goal in a much more powerful way. Both Goal Zero and NRG have similar give-back initiatives. Both companies have proven track records of helping those in need with services and products, whether it is lighting a hut in Congo or a school in Haiti.”

Through this acquisition, NRG gains cross-selling opportunities among system power, residential solar, and personal power, with shared access to multiple distribution channels and customer bases. NRG expects to combine product and service offerings — selling rooftop solar to Goal Zero customers and Goal Zero solar products to its solar and retail electricity customers.

NRG is already one of the biggest solar developers in the U.S. With the addition of Goal Zero, the company aims to provide an even greater range of power solutions at home and on the go.

Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed. It is expected to be finalized in the third quarter.