10-K 1 d882261d10k.htm FORM 10-K Form 10-K

 

 

UNITED STATES

SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION

Washington, D.C. 20549

 

 

FORM 10-K

 

 

(Mark One)

x ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934

For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2014

OR

 

¨ TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934

For the transition period from                      to                     

Commission file number: 001-12014

 

 

POWERSECURE INTERNATIONAL, INC.

(Exact name of registrant as specified in its charter)

 

 

 

Delaware   84-1169358

(State or other jurisdiction of

incorporation or organization)

 

(I.R.S. Employer

Identification No.)

1609 Heritage Commerce Court

Wake Forest, North Carolina 27587

(Address of principal executive offices, including zip code)

Registrant’s telephone number, including area code: (919) 556-3056

Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:

 

Title of each class

 

Name of each exchange on which registered

Common Stock, par value $.01 per share   The New York Stock Exchange

Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Act:

None

 

 

Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act.    Yes  ¨    No  x

Indicate by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or 15(d) of the Exchange Act.    Yes  ¨    No  x

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to file such reports), and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days.    Yes  x    No  ¨

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically and posted on its corporate Web site, if any, every Interactive Data File required to be submitted and posted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T (Section 232.405 of this chapter) during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit and post such files).    Yes  x    No  ¨

Indicate by check mark if disclosure of delinquent filers pursuant to Item 405 of Regulation S-K (Section 229.405 of this chapter) is not contained herein, and will not be contained, to the best of registrant’s knowledge, in definitive proxy or information statements incorporated by reference in Part III of this Form 10-K or any amendment to this Form 10-K.  ¨

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer or a smaller reporting company. See the definitions of “large accelerated filer,” “accelerated filer” and “smaller reporting company” in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act. (Check one):

 

Large accelerated filer   ¨    Accelerated filer   x
Non-accelerated filer   ¨  (Do not check if a smaller reporting company)    Smaller reporting company   ¨

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act).    Yes  ¨    No  x

As of June 30, 2014, the last business day of the registrant’s most recently completed second fiscal quarter, the aggregate market value of the shares of the registrant’s Common Stock held by non-affiliates of the registrant was approximately $209,394,960, based upon the last sale price of the Common Stock on such date as reported on the New York Stock Exchange.

As of March 2, 2015, 22,369,487 shares of the registrant’s Common Stock were outstanding.

DOCUMENTS INCORPORATED BY REFERENCE

Portions of the registrant’s definitive Proxy Statement for the 2015 Annual Meeting of Stockholders, which will be filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission not later than 120 days after the end of the registrant’s fiscal year ended December 31, 2014, are incorporated by reference in Part III of this Annual Report on Form 10-K to the extent stated herein.

 

 

 


POWERSECURE INTERNATIONAL, INC.

Form 10-K

For the Fiscal Year Ended December 31, 2014

TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

         Page  
Cautionary Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements      1   
PART I   
Item 1.   Business      3   
Item 1A.   Risk Factors      24   
Item 1B.   Unresolved Staff Comments      54   
Item 2.   Properties      55   
Item 3.   Legal Proceedings      55   
Item 4.   Mine Safety Disclosures      56   
PART II   
Item 5.   Market for Registrant’s Common Equity, Related Stockholder Matters and Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities      57   
Item 6.   Selected Financial Data      58   
Item 7.   Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations      60   
Item 7A.   Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures About Market Risk      101   
Item 8.   Financial Statements and Supplementary Data      102   
Item 9.   Changes in and Disagreements With Accountants on Accounting and Financial Disclosure      102   
Item 9A.   Controls and Procedures      103   
Item 9B.   Other Information      105   
PART III   
Item 10.   Directors, Executive Officers and Corporate Governance      106   
Item 11.   Executive Compensation      106   
Item 12.   Security Ownership of Certain Beneficial Owners and Management and Related Stockholder Matters      106   
Item 13.   Certain Relationships and Related Transactions, and Director Independence      106   
Item 14.   Principal Accounting Fees and Services      106   
PART IV   
Item 15.   Exhibits, Financial Statement Schedules      107   
Index to Financial Statements      F-1   
Signatures      S-1   
Exhibit Index      X-1   


CAUTIONARY NOTE REGARDING FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS

This Annual Report on Form 10-K and the documents incorporated into this report by reference contain, and we may from time to time make, forward-looking statements within the meaning of and made under the safe harbor provisions of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended. From time to time in the future, we may make additional forward-looking statements in presentations, at conferences, in press releases, in other reports and filings and otherwise. Forward-looking statements are all statements other than statements of historical fact, including statements that refer to plans, intentions, objectives, goals, targets, strategies, hopes, beliefs, projections, prospects, expectations or other characterizations of future events or performance, and assumptions underlying the foregoing. The words “may”, “could”, “should”, “would”, “will”, “project”, “intend”, “continue”, “believe”, “anticipate”, “estimate”, “forecast”, “expect”, “plan”, “potential”, “opportunity”, “position”, “scheduled”, “goal”, “target” and “future”, variations of such words, and other comparable terminology and similar expressions and references to future periods are often, but not always, used to identify forward-looking statements. Examples of forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to, statements about the following:

 

    our prospects, including our future business, revenues, expenses, net income, earnings per share, margins, profitability, cash flow, cash position, liquidity, financial condition and results of operations, backlog of orders and revenue, our expectations for the growth of our business, our goals for future revenues and earnings, and our expectations about realizing the revenues in our backlog and in our sales pipeline;

 

    the effects on our business, financial condition and results of operations of current and future economic, business, market and regulatory conditions, including the current and anticipated economic and market conditions and the effects on our customers, their capital budgets and spending and their ability to finance purchases of our products, services, technologies and systems;

 

    the effects of fluctuations in sales on our business, revenues, expenses, net income, earnings per share, margins, profitability, cash flow, capital expenditures, liquidity, financial condition and results of operations;

 

    our products, services, technologies and systems, including their quality and performance in absolute terms and as compared to competitive alternatives, their benefits to our customers and their ability to meet our customers’ requirements, and our ability to successfully develop and market new products, services, technologies and systems;

 

    our markets, including our market position and our market share;

 

    our ability to successfully develop, operate, grow, expand and diversify our business and operations;

 

    our business plans, strategies, goals and objectives, and our ability to successfully achieve them;

 

    fluctuations in the gross margins of our businesses, including the gross margins in our Utility Infrastructure segment and our ability to improve inefficiencies in that segment designed to improve those gross margins;

 

    the impact of large projects or customer awards on our business and financial results, such as the recent awards of two utility-scale solar projects;

 

    the effects on our business operations, financial results and prospects of business acquisitions, combinations, sales, alliances, ventures and other similar business transactions and relationships;

 

    the sufficiency of our capital resources and sources of funding, including our cash and cash equivalents, funds generated from operations, the availability of borrowings under our credit and financing arrangements, the availability of bonding and other capital resources, to meet our future working capital, capital expenditure, lease and debt service and business growth needs;

 

    the value of our assets and businesses, including the revenues, profits and cash flow they are capable of delivering in the future;

 

    industry trends and customer preferences and the demand for our products, services, technologies and systems;

 

    the nature and intensity of our competition, and our ability to successfully compete in our markets;

 

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    fluctuations in our effective tax rate, including the expectation that with the utilization of a significant portion of our tax net operating losses in recent years our tax expense in future years will likely approximate prevailing statutory tax rates; and

 

    the effects on and potential exposure to our business, financial condition and results of operations from litigation, warranty claims and other claims and proceedings that arise from time to time, including the pending securities class action.

Any forward-looking statements we make are based on our current plans, intentions, objectives, goals, targets, strategies, hopes, beliefs, projections and expectations, as well as assumptions made by and information currently available to management. Forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future performance or events, but are subject to and qualified by substantial risks, uncertainties and other factors, which are difficult to predict and are often beyond our control. Forward-looking statements will be affected by assumptions and expectations we might make that do not materialize or that prove to be incorrect and by known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed, anticipated or implied by such forward-looking statements. These risks, uncertainties and other factors include, but are not limited to, those described in “Item 1A. Risk Factors” as well as other risks, uncertainties and factors discussed elsewhere in this report, in documents that we include as exhibits to or incorporate by reference in this report, and in other reports and documents we from time to time file with or furnish to the Securities and Exchange Commission. In light of these risks and uncertainties, you are cautioned not to place undue reliance on any forward-looking statements that we make.

Any forward-looking statements contained in this report speak only as of the date of this report, and any other forward-looking statements we make from time to time in the future speak only as of the date they are made. We undertake no duty or obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statement or to publicly disclose any update or revision for any reason, whether as a result of changes in our expectations or the underlying assumptions, the receipt of new information, the occurrence of future or unanticipated events, circumstances or conditions or otherwise.

 

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PART I

 

Item 1. Business

Company Overview

PowerSecure International, Inc., headquartered in Wake Forest, North Carolina, is a leading provider of products and services to electric utilities and to their large commercial, institutional and industrial customers.

Our operating and reporting segments are organized around our three product and service offerings, which are our business segments: our Distributed Generation products and services, our Utility Infrastructure products and services, and our Energy Efficiency products and services. These three segments are commonly focused on serving the needs of utilities and their large commercial, institutional and industrial customers to help them generate, deliver and utilize electricity more reliably and efficiently.

Our strategy is focused on growing these three segments because they address large market opportunities due to their strong customer value propositions, and because they require unique knowledge and skills that utilize our core competencies. They share a number of common or complementary utility relationships and customer types, common sales and overhead resources, and common facilities. However, we distinguish our operations among these segments due to their unique products and services, market needs they are addressing, and the distinct technical disciplines and specific capabilities required for us to deliver them, including personnel, technology, engineering, and intellectual capital.

Our business operates primarily out of our Wake Forest, North Carolina headquarters office. Our operations also include several satellite offices and manufacturing facilities, the largest of which are in the following areas: Raleigh and Greensboro, North Carolina; Atlanta, Georgia; Bethlehem, Pennsylvania; and Stamford, Connecticut. The locations of our sales organization and field employees are generally in close proximity to the utilities we serve and to the commercial, industrial and institutional customers they serve. We conduct our business through our wholly-owned subsidiary, PowerSecure, Inc.

We were incorporated in Delaware on April 5, 1991. On August 22, 2007, we changed our name to PowerSecure International, Inc. Our principal executive offices are located at 1609 Heritage Commerce Court, Wake Forest, North Carolina 27587, and our telephone number at those offices is (919) 556-3056.

Since August 28, 2013, our common stock has been listed and traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol “POWR.”

 

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The following chart summarizes our business segments, including our products, services, solutions and major brands in each segment:

 

Business Segment

 

Products, Services, Solutions and Brands

 

   
Distributed Generation

•     Interactive Distributed Generation power systems, PowerBlock generator solution, smart grid monitoring for electric utilities, peak shaving and demand response, PowerControl standby power dispatch and control software

 

•     PowerSecure Solar Distributed Generation energy systems

 

•     NexGear brand switchgear products and services

 

   
Utility Infrastructure

•     UtilityServices utility infrastructure products and services, including transmission and distribution system and substation construction and maintenance, and storm restoration

 

•     UtilityEngineering and PowerServices engineering, regulatory consulting and electric grid system design

 

•     Encari utility cybersecurity consulting, including NERC Critical Infrastructure protection (CIP) compliance services

 

   
Energy Efficiency

•    PowerSecure Lighting, including:

 

•     EfficientLights LED lighting for grocery retailers

 

•     IES LED lighting for utilities and commercial and industrial customers

 

•     EnergyLite LED lighting for utilities and commercial and industrial customers

 

•     Solais LED lighting for retailers

 

•     Energy Efficiency Services and related solutions for ESCO, utility and retail customers, including Energy Efficiency Services upgrades for lighting, building envelope, water and heating/cooling systems

 

In this report, references to “PowerSecure”, “our company”, “we”, “us” and “our” mean PowerSecure International, Inc. together with its subsidiaries, and references to “PowerSecure, Inc.” mean our wholly-owned subsidiary PowerSecure, Inc. along with its subsidiaries, unless we state otherwise or the context indicates otherwise.

PowerSecure, Interactive Distributed Generation, IDG, NexGear, PowerBlock, PowerControl, UtilityServices, UtilityEngineering, PowerServices, PowerSecure Lighting, EfficientLights, Solais, IES, EnergyLite, Solais, Encari and our other registered or common law trademarks, service marks and trade names appearing in this report are our property. Any other trademarks, service marks or trade names appearing in this report are the property of their respective owners.

Recent Developments

In October 2014, we acquired the Mission Critical Energy Services business and certain related assets of Power Design, Inc., which we refer to as PDI, pursuant to an Asset Purchase and Sale Agreement, between PDI, as seller, and PowerSecure, as purchaser. The acquired business provides full turn-key electrical infrastructure design, implementation and commissioning service to data center owners. We previously provided our Distributed Generation data center solutions as a supplier to that business. This acquisition has provided us with a direct customer channel and capabilities to accelerate our access to key data center decision makers who are designing and evaluating backup power and control systems for their facilities. The purchase price paid for the Mission Critical Energy Services business and assets was $13.0 million in cash plus an additional earn-out cash payment of up to $2.0 million depending on the firm backlog amount obtained after closing from that business. We owe $1.0 million

 

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of that earn-out as of the date of this report, based on the new backlog we have obtained from the Mission Critical Energy Services business since the closing, and we believe that we will pay the remainder of the earn-out in the future as the result of additional backlog that business is expected to generate.

In September 2014, we acquired the electrical contracting business of Apex Controls, Inc., referred to as Apex. The acquired business provides retrofit and electrical contracting services to major retailers, in most cases through general contractors. This acquisition is part of our strategy to expand our Energy Efficiency Services market base to retailers. The purchase price for the acquisition was $0.75 million in cash, plus potential additional earn-out consideration of up to $0.5 million in cash if the gross profits generated from the acquired business in 2015 and 2016 exceed certain targeted thresholds.

In July 2014, we received approximately $120 million of new utility-scale solar Distributed Generation projects from one of the largest investor-owned utilities in the U.S., to provide two utility-scale solar installations. The solar projects are being performed by our PowerSecure Solar subsidiary, and we expect the revenues from these two solar projects to be fairly evenly split between 2015 and 2016, subject to operational and project changes. We also expect that these projects, which are large in scale and carry significantly lower gross profit margins as a percentage of revenues compared to traditional projects of this type, will carry single digit gross margins as a percentage of revenues. These lower overall project gross margins will be driven by very small gross margins we receive on the solar panels, the cost of which is a significant portion of our overall cost of the projects. As a result, we expect that these solar projects will be dilutive to our consolidated gross margins, while being accretive to our net income and earnings per share. In August 2014, we entered into two Master Supply Agreements with an international solar panel supplier to supply the solar panels for these projects, ensuring the supply of the key component and locking in its price.

In June 2014, we announced that we successfully modified the service arrangement with one of our major utility customers to improve the terms of our ongoing service. The modifications include adjustments to pricing, work assignments, and expected improvements in the ongoing scope of work. Based on these improvements, and the new mix of work expected to be allocated to us, we believe these changes have begun to restore the profitability of the work provided by us to this utility and provide a solid platform for us to continue serving, and potentially expanding, our work for the customer in the future.

In the first quarter 2014, we substantially completed a restructuring and realignment program designed to integrate and streamline our operations and product offerings primarily within our Energy Efficiency product area. These activities, which occurred during the fourth quarter of 2013 and the first quarter 2014, included eliminating certain duplicative facilities, re-sourcing from certain of our energy efficiency suppliers, reducing the number of our Energy Efficiency product offerings, and streamlining our overall organization. These restructuring and realignment actions resulted in a charge of $0.7 million in 2014, of which $0.3 million was included in our cost of sales, and a charge of $4.9 million in 2013, of which $3.7 million was included in our cost of sales. The substantially higher year over year gross margins we reported in the PowerSecure Lighting portion of our Energy Efficiency business in 2014 were primarily attributable to the benefits achieved through this restructuring program.

The Industry and our Business Areas of Focus

The electricity industry is comprised of investor-owned utilities, or IOUs, municipal utilities and co-operative electric utilities, along with independent power producers and independent transmission companies. These utilities and other companies are primarily responsible for the generation, transmission and distribution of electricity in the United States. The electric transmission and distribution infrastructure is the critical network that connects power generation by these utilities and other producers to end users, including commercial and industrial customers. Electric transmission involves the transmission of electricity through power lines and substations, including high voltage lines transmitting electricity over long distances, and lower voltage lines that connect high voltage transmission infrastructure to local distribution networks. Electric distribution involves the local distribution network, including related substations that step down voltages to distribution levels, which provide electricity to end users over shorter distances.

The U.S. electricity industry is large and has expanded over the last two decades. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, or EIA, the U.S. electricity market totaled $364 billion in end-user revenue in 2012 with approximately 3,900 billion kilowatt hours consumed. Throughout this period, electric utilities have been challenged by an evolving and uncertain regulatory process, the increased burden of environmental constraints, planned reductions in coal plant capacity, the increase in demand for renewable sources of energy, the significant

 

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reduction in natural gas prices, and long lead times to complete major capital investments. As a result, utilities are challenged to efficiently meet demand by traditional means, both in the areas of large scale power production and in power transmission and distribution. This, in addition to ongoing disruptions from severe weather events, has also challenged reliability and increased the strain on the electric power grid.

This strain is particularly pronounced during peak power periods, when the demand for electricity is at its highest. The rising demand for energy, growing complexity of energy resources and the electric grid, and increasing concerns about the environment, have combined to cause virtually every organization, public and private, including utilities and their end customers, to be focused on energy efficiency, reliability and productivity. According to the EIA, approximately 60% of U.S. electricity demand is driven by commercial and industrial electricity usage, which is the focus of our business.

These factors have resulted in a significant need in the marketplace for our products and services. Our strategy is to serve utilities and their large commercial, institutional and industrial customers by providing products and services in these areas that have strong value propositions. Our business leaders and their teams have strong utility and customer relationships and a deep understanding of the markets we serve, and they are incentivized to grow these businesses profitably and on a sustained basis. We encourage our business leaders to embrace a philosophy of service and disciplined innovation as a means to anticipate and fill customer needs. Our entrepreneurial culture is an asset that is fundamental to our growth and success. We are continually listening to our utility partners, and to our existing and potential commercial, industrial and institutional customers, to identify energy-related products and services we can deliver to add value to their businesses. We seek to fill these customer needs in several ways, including by:

 

    offering our existing portfolio of products and services that have demonstrated their value in similar or complementary situations, usually customizing them for each particular application;

 

    offering new energy-related technologies and capabilities that are emerging or being developed by third parties, which we can either incorporate into our existing product lines or bring to market as new product offerings; and

 

    developing new technologies and capabilities internally to serve existing and potential customers when options do not exist in the marketplace that meet our quality, effectiveness, cost and financial return standards.

Over the near and mid-term, our strategic focus is to continue to grow our businesses and to expand and enhance our product and service offerings in all of our business segments: the offerings of our Distributed Generation, Utility Infrastructure and Energy Efficiency products and services.

Our Growth Strategy

From 2005 through 2014, our revenues grew at a compound annual growth rate of 21.8%, despite a decline in our revenues in 2014 compared to 2013. We believe that there is a substantial opportunity for continued growth in the future in our business operations because we are delivering differentiated products and services to a variety of underpenetrated and growing markets. Our growth strategy is to expand our solutions across existing and new utility partners and customers by focusing on the following:

 

    Leveraging our Utility and Customer Relationships to Cross-Sell Our Services. Our business is focused on serving utilities and their large commercial and industrial customers, and this enables us to bring multiple solutions to individual utilities and customers. We believe our focus on customer intimacy provides us with an ability to identify opportunities for growth across our Distributed Generation, Utility Infrastructure and Energy Efficiency product and service offerings.

 

    Being a Strong Partner to Utilities to Assist them in their Efforts and Investment to Maintain and Upgrade the U.S. Electricity Grid. According to a forecast made in 2014 by the Edison Electric Institute, shareholder-owned electric utilities were planning to invest approximately $78 billion on transmission construction between 2014 and 2017. The Brattle Group estimates that U.S. utilities will invest $120-$160 billion per decade on transmission through 2030. We believe that our talented people, strong set of products and services, excellent track record of quality and reliability, and trusting utility relationships position us to translate this expected investment into growth for our business.

 

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    Delivering Innovation to the Marketplace. Across our business segments, we have continued to focus on bringing innovative products and solutions to our customers. For example, we have seen significant growth in the percentage of our Distributed Generation solutions which incorporated our proprietary PowerBlock solution. We also added new safety and training resources and cybersecurity consulting expertise to our Utility Infrastructure solutions, and introduced new lighting and Energy Efficiency Services solutions for large energy services companies, referred to as ESCOs, as well as utility, commercial and retail customers. We believe our engineering expertise, and our focus on customer relationships, provide us with the opportunity to continue our track record of innovation, which will contribute to our potential future growth.

 

    Acquiring Key Technologies and Personnel that Add Value. While the majority of our historic growth has been organic, we also have established a track record of selectively and successfully identifying, acquiring and integrating key technologies and expertise that are consistent with our core business. We look for acquisitions that can add value for our customers and are expected to be accretive to our financial performance.

Distributed Generation

Overview

Our Distributed Generation solutions involve manufacturing, installing and operating electric generation equipment “on site” at a facility where the power is used, including commercial, institutional and industrial operations. Our systems provide a highly dependable backup power supply during power outages, and provide a more efficient and environmentally friendly source of power during high cost periods of peak power demand. These two sources of value benefit both utilities and their large customers. In addition, our solar energy systems provide utilities and their customers with environmentally friendly power to augment their core power requirements.

Our Distributed Generation systems contain our proprietary electronic controls and PowerControl software, which enable our systems to be monitored around the clock by our smart grid monitoring center, protecting our customers’ operations from power outages and related costs. Through our monitoring center, we also forecast utilities’ peak demand periods and we electronically deploy our systems during these periods to power customers’ operations instead of drawing electricity from the utility grid. Our smart grid monitoring center ensures that our Distributed Generation systems deliver power at optimal times and durations for maximum efficiency. This efficient peak demand power capacity benefits both the utility and the customer whose facility is being supported by the system. Our systems also enable utilities to delay new infrastructure investments for transmitting and distributing power, and minimize energy losses associated with moving electricity over long distances.

Market

The market for our Distributed Generation systems is driven by the multiple sources of value they provide. Both utilities and their large customers receive financial and operational benefits from our systems.

For utilities, our systems help them to:

 

    manage constraints in their electric grid systems, particularly during times of peak demand;

 

    minimize energy losses associated with moving electricity over long distances;

 

    manage challenges with respect to bottlenecks that can occur in electric transmission and distribution systems;

 

    perform localized system maintenance without interrupting large users of electricity in that particular area;

 

    operate with demand levels that are less volatile, enhancing the efficiency and reliability of their overall system and invested capital; and

 

    reduce carbon emissions compared to traditional sources of spinning power reserves.

 

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For commercial, institutional and industrial customers, our systems help them by:

 

    providing a highly dependable source of backup power to protect their operations from financial losses and other negative consequences of power outages, including utilizing our systems both for preventative measures, such as when a storm is approaching, and for emergency purposes, when utility power is interrupted; and

 

    providing electricity cost savings by utilizing our systems to provide power during periods of high cost peak electricity demand, instead of drawing power from the utility grid, which is referred to as “peak shaving.”

Because utilities realize operational and financial benefits when customers reduce the amount of power they draw from the electric grid during peak power periods, they often provide incentives in their pricing, or tariff, structures to encourage this activity. These incentives are called “demand response” benefits and programs. Our systems are engineered to carry the full load required to operate the facilities they support. During peak shaving activities at a customer’s facility, our NexGear parallel switchgear technology enables power to be transferred, without any interruption, between (1) the grid, (2) our Distributed Generation system, and (3) the customer’s facility. Therefore, customers who use our Distributed Generation systems can realize the financial benefits of utility demand response programs without the consequences, costs and inconveniences of having to interrupt or reduce the load of their operations.

In addition, the growing desire for utilities and their customers to incorporate renewable energy sources into their portfolios has driven a demand for distributed solar energy systems. We provide turn-key solar photovoltaic systems either as a stand-alone solution or in conjunction with our traditional Distributed Generation systems. Our capabilities include the ability to provide turn-key systems, including engineering, procurement and construction, as well as provide on-going maintenance and monitoring services.

Our Systems and Technology

We provide “turn-key” Distributed Generation systems and programs for our customers. The typical Distributed Generation system is installed and maintained at a utility’s end customer’s location and is designed to supply power only to that one particular site. The size of the Distributed Generation systems that we install most commonly ranges from 500 kW to 6,000 kW, although there is no practical limit to the size of the load we can serve, and we have designed and installed significantly larger systems. Our proprietary Distributed Generation system, which is named PowerBlock, combines standardized size building blocks. These standard building block units are combined, using our switchgear and control technology, to create systems for facilities with higher electric loads. We manufacture our PowerBlocks at our facility near Greensboro, North Carolina. We also utilize generators sourced from major global generator manufacturers as the power plants for our systems.

The primary elements of our turn-key Distributed Generation systems include:

 

    designing and engineering the Distributed Generation system;

 

    obtaining the required regulatory approvals and permits;

 

    establishing the electricity inter-connect between the utility and the customer to take advantage of electricity rate savings;

 

    manufacturing and packaging the generators for our proprietary PowerBlock systems using engines sourced from a major global engine manufacturer, and in other cases integrating a turn-key generator sourced from one of several major global generator manufacturers, depending on the application;

 

    for solar photovoltaic systems, engineering, procuring and constructing the solar energy system, including sourcing solar panels from high-quality competitively priced panel manufacturers;

 

    engineering and integrating the system components and controls;

 

    designing, engineering, constructing and installing the switchgear and process controls; and

 

    providing continuous 24 x 7 PowerControl monitoring and servicing of the system.

One key component of a traditional, non-solar distributed generation system is its source of power generation, the generator, which is typically comprised of an alternator driven by a power source. While several types of distributed generation technologies are available, we currently utilize an internal combustion engine to power our

 

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Distributed Generation systems to provide maximum reliability as well as quick and efficient startup and shutdown. Typically these engines are fueled by diesel or a combination of natural gas and diesel, and they can also utilize methane or biodiesel as fuel. The types of generators, engines and alternators utilized in our systems are widely used and provide a highly dependable, cost-effective Distributed Generation technology, meaning that they are able to generate the power that is required with very short start-up times, with good efficiency at a reasonable cost. However, new power producing technologies are emerging, and we are continually evaluating the utilization of new technologies and their ability to be a commercially viable and reliable power source.

Our turn-key solar distributed energy system capabilities include the design, engineering, project development, installation and project management of these solutions. Our distributed solar energy systems primarily involve photovoltaic, or PV, panels generating power without moving parts or fuel. We rely heavily on our engineering expertise to design systems that optimize producing the maximum energy at the lowest capital cost. A successful solar power system requires the proper selection and configuration of panels, mounting equipment and inverters, which our engineering expertise and attention can provide. Our solar team has experience with a wide range of PV technologies, so we are supplier and technology neutral. Our technical expertise also includes permitting, interconnecting, commissioning, maintaining and monitoring the solar power system.

Smart Grid Monitoring Center and NexGear Technology

We build smart grid technology into our Distributed Generation systems. This technology is embedded into the design and manufacture of our proprietary switchgear and hardware and software controls systems, which are marketed under the name NexGear. Our NexGear technology controls the generator and the transfer of power, quickly shifting power between a customer’s primary power source and our Distributed Generation system. We consider our switchgear designs to be a source of competitive advantage for us due to their quality and their ability to provide power from the generator “in parallel with”, meaning at the same time as, the customer’s primary power source without disrupting the flow of electricity. This capability allows the customer to quickly substitute the power generated at the customer’s site with the power supplied by the utility power plant during times of peak demand without business interruption. Our system controls are built to enable remote monitoring and control functions, allowing us to operate the Distributed Generation system 24 x 7 from our PowerControl monitoring center.

We believe our combination of unique smart grid capabilities is unmatched in the industry. Through our PowerControl monitoring center, we lead the industry in our ability to monitor the electric power grid, proactively predict peak power periods and electronically dispatch our customers’ generation at the right time, and for the right duration, with the goal of optimizing our customers’ energy efficiency. Peak power periods vary by geography, time of day, utility infrastructure, utility customer mix and weather. Using our predictive capabilities, we coordinate the operation of our customers’ Distributed Generation systems during times of peak demand so that our customers can benefit from energy savings and beneficial electricity rates that are available from managing energy use during these periods of high electricity demand. Our ability to enable our customers to benefit from these savings is enhanced by our expertise in understanding complicated utility rate structures.

Our PowerControl monitoring center is an integral part of our Distributed Generation solution. We monitor and maintain our Distributed Generation systems for our customers around the clock, with the goal of ensuring reliability and removing many of the burdens associated with ownership. Distributed Generation systems must be operated periodically so that they function properly when called upon to supply power. We remotely start and operate the systems using sophisticated communication devices and we continuously monitor their performance. In the event of a mechanical problem, technicians are immediately dispatched. Additionally, we provide management services, including fuel management services, preventive and emergency maintenance services and monitoring and dispatching services.

Business Models

Our Distributed Generation systems are sold to customers utilizing two basic economic models, each of which can vary depending on the specific customer and application. In our original business model, which is still our predominant model, we sell the Distributed Generation system to the customer. We refer to this as the “project-based” or “customer-owned” model. For Distributed Generation systems that we sell under the project-based model, the customer acquires ownership of the Distributed Generation assets upon our completion of the project. Our revenues and profits from the sale of systems under this model are recognized over the period during which the system is installed. In the project-based model, after the system is installed we also usually receive revenue on the form of a monthly fee, in an amount modest relative to the initial purchase price of the system, to monitor the system for backup power and peak shaving purposes as well as to maintain the system.

 

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We have structured our second business model to generate ongoing, long-term recurring revenues for us. We refer to this as our “recurring revenue”, “PowerSecure-owned” or “company-owned” model. For Distributed Generation systems that we deploy under this model, we retain ownership of the Distributed Generation system after it is installed at the customer’s site. Because of this, we invest the capital required to design and build the system, and our revenues are derived from regular fees paid over the life of the recurring revenue contract by the utility or the customer, or both, for access to the system for standby power and peak shaving. The life of these recurring revenue contracts is typically from five to 15 years, and these contracts can be renewed or extended. The fees that generate our revenues in the recurring revenue model are generally paid to us by the customer on a monthly basis and are set at a level intended to provide us with attractive returns on the capital we invest in installing and maintaining the Distributed Generation system. Our fees for recurring revenue contracts are generally structured as shared savings arrangements with the customer, although they can also be structured with fixed monthly payments. For our shared savings recurring revenue contracts, a portion or all of our fees are earned out of the pool of peak shaving savings the system creates for the customer.

We believe that the customer value proposition is strong in both economic models. In the customer-owned model, where the customer pays for and obtains ownership of the system, the customer’s typical targeted returns on investment range from 15% to 25%, with a payback targeted at three to five years. These paybacks to the customer result from a combination of the benefits of peak shaving, which creates lower total electricity costs, and the value that the backup power provides in avoiding losses from business interruptions due to power outages. Additionally, utilities gain the benefits of smoother electricity demand curves and lower peaks, as the result of having highly reliable standby power supporting customers in their utility systems, power distribution and transmission efficiencies, and of avoiding major capital outlays that would have been required to build centralized power plants and related infrastructure for peaking needs. In our PowerSecure-owned model, where we pay for, install and maintain ownership of the system in exchange for the customer paying us smaller fees over a period of years, utilities and their customers receive access to our system without making a large up-front investment of capital. Under the PowerSecure-owned model, contracts can be structured a variety of ways, including between us and the utility, between us and the customer, or among us, the customer and the utility.

In 2014, 83.5% of our Distributed Generation systems revenues consisted of customer-owned sales, and the remaining 16.5% of our Distributed Generation systems revenues were derived from recurring revenue sales. Sales of customer-owned systems generate revenues and profits that are recorded on our financial statements over the course of the project implementation, which is generally a period ranging from three to 18 months depending on the size of the project. Sales of PowerSecure-owned projects are recorded over a longer time frame continuing well after the project is implemented, typically ranging from five to 15 years depending on the life of the underlying contract. Changes both in the absolute amount of sales under these two systems and in the proportionate ratio between the two sales models significantly impact our revenues and profits and cause them to fluctuate from period to period. Changes in sales under our customer-owned models result in significant changes in our near-term revenues and profits. By contrast, sales under the PowerSecure-owned system model generate revenues and profits that are more consistent from period-to-period, have higher gross margins and generate revenues and profits over a longer time period, although smaller in dollar amount in any particular period because they are recognized over the life of the contract. Our PowerSecure-owned recurring revenue model requires us to invest our own capital in the project without any return on capital until after the project is completed, commissioned and successfully operating.

Our PowerSecure Solar team provides us with the ability to deliver solar energy systems through our Distributed Generation solutions platform. These solar energy systems are sold under the project-based, customer-owned model. In 2014, our solar Distributed Generation business received major contract awards from one of the largest investor-owned utilities in the U.S., which will significantly expand our solar business in 2015 and 2016. Under the terms of these contracts, we will provide two utility-scale solar installations that will generate approximately $120 million in revenues fairly evenly split over 2015 and 2016, subject to project and operational changes.

Utility Infrastructure

Overview

Our Utility Infrastructure solutions are focused on helping electric utilities design, build, upgrade and maintain infrastructure that enhances the efficiency of their grid systems. Our products and services include transmission and distribution system construction and maintenance, installation of advanced metering and efficient lighting, and emergency storm restoration. Additionally, we provide utilities with a wide range of engineering and design services, as well as consulting services for cybersecurity compliance, and regulatory and rate design matters.

 

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Market

There are more than 3,000 electric utilities in the U.S. In 2013, investor-owned electric utilities and stand-alone transmission companies invested a record-setting $37.7 billion in transmission and distribution infrastructure, according to the Edison Electric Institute. Several industry trends indicate that strong transmission and distribution investment by utilities will continue over the coming years, including the need to upgrade and replace the utility grid’s aging infrastructure to improve and ensure reliability, to respond to the expected long-term increase in demand for electric power, to incorporate renewable energy and other new power sources into the grid, and to ensure the security of the grid. In addition, the megatrend toward improving the efficiency of our energy delivery and consumption is driving initiatives and innovations in smart grid technology which will also be a positive driver for transmission and distribution system infrastructure spending. Additionally, the new technologies have facilitated the cost-effective extraction of oil and gas from shale formations, many of which are in remote areas, and this is driving an increase in demand for utility infrastructure services to provide transmission and distribution lines to serve these production operations.

Utilities generally use a combination of internal and third-party vendors to provide construction and maintenance services for their transmission and distribution infrastructure. Utilities also utilize third party engineering and consulting firms to supplement their internal engineering resources. We provide services in each of these areas for IOUs, electric cooperatives and municipal utilities of virtually every size. Historically, our geography was primarily concentrated in the Southeast. However, we have grown the geographic base of the utilities we serve over the last several years to include utilities in the Mid-Atlantic, Midwest, Gulf Coast and Northeast regions. We intend to continue to expand our utility relationships and the geographies we serve as our business grows and develops.

Products and Services

Our largest source of revenue within our Utility Infrastructure area is our UtilityServices products and services. Our UtilityServices team provides utilities with transmission and distribution construction and maintenance, including substation construction and maintenance, advanced metering and lighting installations, and storm restoration. In addition to providing these services directly to utilities, we also perform this work on behalf of utilities for their large industrial and institutional customers, and directly to large oil and gas companies. Similar to the products and services we provide for utilities, our work for large utility customers includes turn-key design, procurement and construction services for large transmission and distribution projects, including substations. Our resources include a fleet of owned and leased utility vehicles along with experienced field personnel and engineers, and we also utilize third party resources from time to time, as needed, to supplement our internal resources on particular projects.

Through our Encari, UtilityEngineering and PowerServices teams, we serve the engineering and consulting needs of our utility clients, broadening our offerings to our utility partners. The scope of services that we offer through UtilityEngineering includes technical engineering services for our utility partners and their customers, including design and engineering relating to virtually every element of their transmission and distribution systems, substations and renewable energy facilities. Through PowerServices, we provide management consulting services to utilities and commercial and industrial customers, including planning and quality improvement, technical studies involving reliability analysis and rate analysis, acquisition studies, accident investigations and power supply contracts and negotiations. Our Encari business provides cybersecurity consulting and compliance services to the utility industry, helping large IOUs, municipalities and cooperative utilities assess, improve and maintain their compliance with the NERC’s CIP Reliability Standards.

Business Model

Revenues for our UtilityServices products and services are generally earned, billed and recognized using two primary models. Under the first model, we have regular, on-going assignments with utilities to provide maintenance and upgrade services. These services are earned, billed and recognized either on a fixed fee basis, based on the number of work units we perform, such as the number of transmission poles we upgrade, or on a time and materials basis, based on the number of hours we invest in a particular project, plus amounts for the materials we utilize and install. Under the second model, we are engaged to design, build and install large infrastructure projects, including

 

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substations, transmission lines and similar infrastructure, for utilities and their customers. In these types of projects, we are generally paid a fixed contractual price for the project, plus any modifications or scope additions. We recognize revenues from these projects on a cost-to-cost method using percentage-of-completion basis. In addition to these two primary models, in the future we could be engaged by utilities and their customers to build or upgrade transmission and distribution infrastructure that we own and maintain. In those cases, we would receive fees over a long-term contract in exchange for providing the customer with access to the infrastructure to transmit or receive power.

Revenues for our Encari, UtilityEngineering and PowerServices consulting services are generally earned, billed and recognized based on the number of hours invested in the particular projects and engagements they are serving. Similar to most traditional consulting businesses, these hours are billed at rates that reflect the general technical skill or experience level of the consultant or supervisor providing the services. In some cases, our engineers and consultants are engaged on an on-going basis with utilities, providing resources to supplement utilities’ internal engineering teams over long-term time horizons. In other cases, our engineers and consultants are engaged to provide services for very specific projects and assignments.

Energy Efficiency

Overview

We deliver Energy Efficiency solutions to assist our customers in the achievement of their energy efficiency goals. We have two primary Energy Efficiency product and service offerings: light emitting diode, or LED, lighting fixtures and lamps, and energy efficiency upgrades for ESCO customers, and large retailers. Our LED lighting solutions are primarily focused on the utility, commercial and industrial markets, while our energy efficiency solutions are primarily focused on serving the ESCO and retail channels. We have begun including our Distributed Generation products and services in our Energy Efficiency Services solutions. In the future, we also plan to bring our LED lighting solutions to our ESCO and retail customer base. In both of our Energy Efficiency product and service lines we deliver highly engineered product solutions and upgrades with strong value propositions that are designed to reduce energy costs, improve operations and benefit the environment.

Our LED lighting products, led by our PowerSecure Lighting team and operations, include the following:

 

    Our Solais brand, which includes LED-based lamps and fixtures for department stores and other commercial applications. The acquisition of Solais strengthened and complemented our existing LED lighting business through the addition of these new product lines and customer channels. This acquisition also enhanced our skill sets around product design, product commercialization, and manufacturing and sourcing capabilities. Our Solais team oversees all of our LED lighting operations.

 

    Our EfficientLights brand, which includes LED-based lighting fixtures for grocery, drug and convenience stores. EfficientLights products include our EfficientLights fixture for reach-in refrigerated cases, shelf and canopy lighting for open refrigerated cases, overhead lighting for walk-in storage coolers.

 

    Our IES brand, which includes LED-based lighting fixtures for utilities, commercial and industrial, and OEM applications. IES products include street lights, area lights, indoor overhead lighting, and other specialty lighting applications.

 

    Our EnergyLite brand, which is used to market our IES and EfficientLights brands primarily, but we may also use it from time to time for other LED lighting products. EnergyLite’s products are marketed to customers and utilities directly, and through third party distribution arrangements.

In 2013, we acquired our Energy Efficiency Services business, which gives us the capability to provide general lighting, building envelope, HVAC and water efficiency solutions to ESCOs, which deliver these energy efficiency solutions to public sector commercial, industrial and institutional facilities. In September 2014, we acquired the electrical contracting business of Apex. Apex provides retrofit and electrical contracting services to major retailers, in most cases through general contractors, and provides us with the capacity to provide our Energy Efficiency services to large retailers.

 

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The primary client base for our Energy Efficiency Services products and services are the large, publicly-traded ESCOs. Through our relationships with these ESCOs, we provide facility upgrades primarily for public sector customers, including federal, state and local government agencies and educational institutions. As ESCOs are awarded project contracts with public sector clients, we assist them by providing energy efficiency expertise to develop and implement tailored solutions under their contracts. From time to time, we also serve larger commercial and industrial clients for which we provide our energy efficiency solutions directly, when an ESCO is not involved in the customer relationship. Through Apex, we are also now able to provide our Energy Efficiency Services solutions to large retailers.

We focus on deploying solutions to improve the energy efficiency of large facilities, including reducing energy-related expenditures, and the impact of energy use on operations and the environment. This helps our Energy Efficiency Services customers save money, improve facilities and meet energy efficiency goals and mandates. Our solutions include energy efficient lighting upgrades, energy efficient mechanical and electrical retrofit and upgrade services, water conservation, building weatherization, and renewable energy project development and implementation. We provide energy solutions across a range of facilities, including high-rise office buildings, distribution facilities, manufacturing plants, retail sites, multi-tenant residential buildings, mixed use complexes, hospitals, universities and large government sites. We have also recently added our Distributed Generation products as part of these solutions, and in the future plan to incorporate our and LED lighting products as well.

Market

The market for LED-based lighting is large and expected to grow rapidly over the next decade. This market growth is driven by the many benefits LED lights provide over traditional lighting, including superior energy efficiency, improved quality of the light emitted, superior heat characteristics, smaller size, relatively low cost over time and longer life. Because of these factors, LED lighting is also better for the environment than traditional lighting. LED lighting can be utilized in a large range of broad general commercial and industrial lighting applications, as well as used effectively in very specialized applications. In our markets, many of our customers have concluded that LED lighting is the superior choice over traditional lighting, both for new facility installations and for investments to retrofit existing facilities, due to the financial and environmental benefits and its superior lighting quality. Utilities can also benefit from this technology due to the availability of renewable energy portfolio credits for the energy efficiencies our lights deliver, as well as the direct financial and environmental benefits available from investments in LED street lights.

The general LED lighting industry and market is served by companies in the areas of LED chip technology and manufacturing, and in LED lighting application development and manufacturing, the latter area being the one in which we participate and serve. The market for LED-based lighting applications, and the pace at which LED lighting is being and will be adopted, is driven by the return on investment available when an LED-based light is utilized instead of, or as a replacement for, traditional lighting. In particular, the size and growth of the LED lighting market is driven by the return on investment available to retrofit existing traditional lighting installations with LED lighting, given the significant size of the installed base of traditional lighting. To a large extent, this return on investment is influenced and driven by the cost of the LED itself, because the LED is the largest single component of cost in the LED lighting application. Over the past several years, the cost of LEDs has decreased significantly, which has been a catalyst driving the growth and expansion in the market for general LED lighting applications. Additionally, LED lighting application and manufacturing companies, such as us, have improved the efficiency and effectiveness of application designs. The combination of these factors has increased the return on investment for LED lighting applications in general, and for LED retrofit opportunities in particular. We believe these factors will continue to cause the market for LED-based general lighting to continue to grow and expand over the next five to 10 years. Demand for our LED products may also be impacted by changes in government policies, standards or regulations that discourage the use of certain traditional lighting technologies.

In the Energy Efficiency Services market, ESCOs develop, install and arrange financing for projects designed to improve the energy efficiency of buildings and other facilities. Typical products and services offered by energy efficiency companies include boiler and chiller replacement, HVAC upgrades, lighting retrofits, equipment installations, on-site cogeneration, renewable energy systems, load management, energy procurement, rate analysis, risk management and billing administration. ESCOs often offer their products and services through energy savings performance contracts, or ESPCs. Under these contracts, ESCOs assume certain responsibilities for the performance of the installed measures, under assumed conditions, for a portion of the project’s economic lifetime. We are a service provider to the ESCOs providing the technical expertise, engineering support and implementation services for their energy efficiency projects.

 

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We believe the following factors continue to drive demand for energy efficiency projects in the markets in which we operate:

 

    the return on investment driven by the cost savings from the installation of energy efficient and renewable energy solutions;

 

    government initiatives to improve the efficiency of federal facilities and to utilize energy from renewable sources;

 

    the availability of rebates and financial incentives for organizations that reduce their energy consumption; and

 

    concerns regarding the substantial and volatile cost of energy, the adverse implication of global climate change and the desire for energy independence and security.

Products and Services and Business Model

Our LED lighting revenues are generated through the sale of LED-based light fixtures and lamps. Our portfolio of products consists exclusively of our proprietary designs, which are generally focused on very specific applications. These applications require our lights to be highly engineered to maximize the quality, and amount of light produced, at the lowest cost. This formula, in turn, enables us to provide our customers with lighting that maximizes the return on investment for their lighting spend. We design and manufacture our LED-based lights for utilities, commercial and industrial customers. Our lighting generally reduces energy consumption by 60-70%, improves the quality of light, reduces maintenance expense, extends light life by several-fold, lowers a facilities’ carbon footprint, and eliminates the use of traditional lighting which can contain environmental hazards.

Our LED lighting product line includes:

 

    LED-based lamps and fixtures for department stores and other commercial applications, including display and down-lighting;

 

    LED-based lighting fixtures for grocery, drug and convenience stores, including lights for reach-in refrigerated cases, shelf and canopy lighting for open refrigerated cases, overhead lighting for walk-in storage coolers, and outdoor lighting; and

 

    LED-based lighting fixtures for utilities, commercial and industrial, and OEM applications, including area lights, indoor overhead lighting, and other specialty lighting applications.

The majority of our LED lights are sold as retrofits for existing traditional lighting, and to a lesser extent for new construction lighting installations. Additionally, historically the majority of our lights have been sold by us directly to our customers, although we also have distributor relationships that serve certain product lines and are becoming an increasing part of our sales channels. Occasionally we provide installation services, although that is not a significant portion of our business. We also assist our customers in receiving utility incentives for LED lighting. Our customers are primarily large retail chains, utilities, department stores, and large commercial and industrial customers. These customers typically install LED lighting across numerous locations over a diverse geographic scope. We expect our customer base and sales channels to continue to grow and develop as LED technology continues to be more widely adopted. As we bring additional products to market, we expect to employ a similar business model with our LED lighting products with a greater portion of our sales driven through distributorship channels.

Our Energy Efficiency Services revenues are generated through a full range of turn-key services we provide to our ESCO, utility, industrial and municipality customers. We apply our engineering expertise to analyze a facility’s energy consumption and operational needs, and develop customized energy efficiency and renewable energy solutions to optimize that facility’s return on investment. We provide complete turn-key implementation services for a range of energy efficiency and renewable energy projects, including energy efficient lighting upgrades, energy efficiency mechanical and electrical retrofit and upgrade services, water conservation, weatherization, combined heat and power or cogeneration and renewable project development and implementation. We consider factors such as current facility infrastructure, best available technologies, building environmental conditions, hours of operation, energy costs, available utility rebates, tax incentives, and installation, operation and maintenance costs of various efficiency alternatives. Our extensive knowledge of energy solutions and their results in numerous environments enables us to apply some of the most appropriate, effective and proven technologies available in the marketplace.

 

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Revenue Backlog

Our revenue backlog is discussed in “Item 7. Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations—Backlog” of this report. Orders in our backlog are subject to delay, deferral, acceleration, resizing or cancellation from time to time. Given the irregular sales cycle of customer contracts and orders, and especially of large contracts and orders, our backlog at any given time involves the use of estimates and is not necessarily an accurate indication of our future revenues.

Customers

Our customers include a wide variety of large and mid-sized commercial and industrial businesses, public and private institutions, and utilities, including investor-owned utilities, cooperatives and municipalities. Although we have continued to diversify and expand our customer base and our markets, from time to time, we have derived a significant portion of a particular period’s revenues from a concentrated group of customers, because a significant portion of our revenues in any particular period can be driven by one or more large projects. In 2015 and 2016, for example, a substantial portion of our revenues is expected to be derived from two utility-scale solar Distributed Generation projects with a large utility customer. Over the past three years, all of our revenues have been generated from customers in the United States.

Sales and Marketing

We market our products and services primarily through a direct sales force. Our sales and marketing effort is focused on sales channels that include, are complementary to, and are in partnership with utilities, as well as national and local commercial, industrial, institutional and municipal accounts.

For our Distributed Generation products and services, we are very focused on the needs of utilities and partner with utilities to develop, market and manage Distributed Generation systems to their large commercial and industrial customers. This partnering process includes combining our Distributed Generation solutions with products or services of the utility, and working with the utility in marketing our Distributed Generation solution to end customers. We market our Utility Infrastructure products and services directly to utilities, including investor-owned utilities, cooperatives and municipalities. We market our Energy Efficiency LED lighting products to commercial, industrial and institutional customers, as well as directly to utilities and municipalities. We also use distributors for our Solais product line, and expect these distributor relationships will be an increased part of our sales channel for our lighting products in the future. For our Energy Efficiency Services business, we market our products and services directly to the ESCOs, as well as to municipalities, utilities, large retailers and other industrial and commercial customers.

In each of our business areas, from time to time, we utilize independent representative networks, and we also establish alliances with channel partners who can assist with our sales and marketing activities. We plan to continue expanding our sales and marketing efforts in order to market and support our traditional and our new products, services and technologies, including direct sales as well as through third party representatives and channel partners.

Competition

We face intense competition for all of our product and service offerings.

In our Distributed Generation segment, our competition primarily consists of manufacturers and distributors of power generation and heavy electrical equipment including switchgear companies, electrical contractors, electrical engineering firms and companies involved in providing utilities with demand response and load curtailment products and services. Electric utilities could also offer their own Distributed Generation solutions, which would decrease our base of potential customers. Additionally, several well established companies have developed microturbines used in Distributed Generation, and a number of companies are also developing alternative generation technology such as wind, fuel cells and solar energy systems. Several large companies are also becoming leaders in uninterruptible power supply system technology, and companies developing and marketing their proprietary smart grid technologies are also potential competitors. Many of these technologies are eligible for and supported by governmental financial incentives. Additionally, technologies that make commercial, institutional and industrial operations more efficient result in lower electricity use, reducing the benefits of using our Distributed Generation systems. Also, the solar distributed energy system market is very competitive and rapidly evolving, and is significantly dependent on government incentives. For this product offering we expect to face increased

 

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competition, which may result in price reductions, reduced margins or loss of market share. Our solar power products and systems compete with a large number of competitors in the solar power market, including major national companies such as completely vertically integrated companies as well as numerous regional developers, some of which are in poor financial condition. The principal elements of competition in the solar power systems market include engineering capabilities, technical expertise, price, experience, delivery capabilities, diversity of product offerings, financing structures, marketing and sales, product performance, efficiency and reliability, and technical service.

In our Energy Efficiency segment, we face numerous competitors. These include numerous global competitors, many based in Asia, in the market for lighting products in general, and for LED lighting products in particular. Generally, the less specialized that the lighting application is, the more competitors there are in that space. Accordingly, we focus our efforts in this area on more specialized, proprietary applications, and we also focus on bringing technologies to customer categories and utilities that we understand best and represent our strongest relationships. However, the LED lighting marketplace is highly fragmented and expanding at a very fast pace, and a significant number of new competitors are entering the market, including large companies that are strong, sophisticated, have established channel relationships and are well-capitalized. Additionally, new competitive technologies are being developed and existing technologies are being improved at a rapid pace. Our LED lighting products currently face competition from lighting fixture companies, from lamp manufacturers and from non-traditional companies focused on LED lighting systems including fixtures and components. Our products compete on the basis of lighting color quality and consistency, light output, energy efficiencies, maintenance savings, light life and return on the customer’s investment. We also face numerous competitors for our Energy Efficiency Services solutions, including regional and national solutions providers. Many of these competitors are focused on one aspect of our Energy Efficiency Services solutions, for example HVAC solutions, and several have a suite of multiple solutions they can offer the ESCOs. The competition for these solutions is strong, with highly skilled, well-financed competitors, and the requirements of our ESCO customers are demanding.

In our Utility Infrastructure segment, our UtilityServices solutions also compete with numerous providers of transmission and distribution construction and maintenance firms. Many of these firms have broader customer bases, strong track records of performance and larger resources of personnel and equipment. Competitors in this area are diverse, consisting of both large and small firms on regional and national levels. In addition, our Encari, UtilityEngineering and PowerServices consulting services have numerous competitors, large and small, that offer engineering, design and consulting services to utilities. Also, utilities have their own internal engineering resources that provide alternatives to using our services.

The markets for our products, services and technology are competitive and are characterized by rapidly changing technology, new and emerging products and services, frequent performance improvements and evolving industry and regulatory standards. We expect the intensity of competition to increase in the future because the growth potential of the energy market has attracted and is anticipated to continue to attract many new competitors, including new businesses as well as established businesses from different industries. As a result of increased competition, we may have to reduce the price of our products and services, and we may experience reduced gross margins, loss of market share or inability to penetrate or develop new markets, or increases in operating expenses or capital investment required to develop and maintain competitive product offerings, any one of which could adversely affect our operating results.

We believe that our ability to compete successfully will depend upon numerous factors, many of which are outside of our control. These factors include:

 

    the performance and features functionality and benefits of our, and of our competitors’, products and services;

 

    the value to our customers for the price they pay for our products and services;

 

    the timing and market acceptance of new products and services and enhancements to existing products and services developed by us and by our competitors, including the effects of environmental initiatives on existing and new technologies and customer preferences;

 

    our responsiveness to the needs of our customers;

 

    the ease of use of our, and of our competitors’, products and services;

 

    the quality and reliability of our, and of our competitors’, products and services;

 

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    our reputation and the reputation of our competitors;

 

    our sales and marketing efforts;

 

    the stability of certain state and federal incentives for energy efficiency and renewable energy;

 

    our ability to develop and maintain our strategic relationships; and

 

    the price of our, and of our competitors’, products and services, and the cost to engineer, produce and deliver our products compared to our competitors, as well as other technological alternatives in the marketplace.

We believe that in many of our markets we have established ourselves as a niche supplier of high quality, reliable products and services and, therefore, compete favorably with respect to the above factors. We do not typically attempt to be the low cost provider. Rather, we endeavor to compete primarily on the basis of the quality of our products and services. In order to be successful in the future, we must continue to respond promptly and effectively to the challenges of technological change and to our competitors’ innovations. We cannot provide any assurance that our products and services will continue to compete favorably in the future against current and future competitors or that we will be successful in responding to changes in other markets including new products and services and enhancements to existing products and services introduced by our existing competitors or new competitors entering the market.

Regulation

Our businesses and operations are affected by various federal, state, local and foreign laws, rules, regulations and authorities. While to date, our compliance with those requirements has not materially adversely affected our business, financial condition or results of operations, we cannot provide any assurance that existing and new laws and regulations will not materially and adversely affect us in the future.

Regulation of Operations Generally. Our operations are subject to various federal, state, local and international laws and regulations including:

 

    licensing, permitting and inspection requirements applicable to contractors, electricians and engineers;

 

    building and electrical codes;

 

    permitting and inspection requirements applicable to construction and electrical projects;

 

    regulations relating to worker safety and health;

 

    regulations relating to employees, such as wage and hour regulations;

 

    regulations pertaining to utilities and energy providers;

 

    special bidding, procurement and other requirements on government projects;

 

    regulations relating to transportation of equipment and materials, including licensing and permitting requirements;

 

    regulations relating to environmental protection;

 

    the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and similar anti-bribery and anti-corruption laws and regulations; and

 

    federal and state energy efficiency incentives.

We believe that we have obtained, or are in the process of obtaining, all the licenses required to conduct our operations and that we are in substantial compliance with applicable regulatory requirements. Our failure to comply with applicable regulations could result in substantial fines or revocation of our operating licenses.

Regulation of Electricity. We operate in both regulated and deregulated electricity markets. Rules and regulations within these markets impact how quickly our projects may be completed, could affect the prices we can charge and the margins we can earn and impact the various ways in which we are permitted or may choose to do business and, accordingly, our assessments of which potential markets to most aggressively pursue. The policies regarding our Distributed Generation solutions, safety regulations and air quality or emissions regulations, which

 

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can vary by state, affect how we do business. For example, some environmental agencies limit the amount of emissions allowed from generators utilized by our customers. In addition, because our Distributed Generation projects interconnect with the electric power grid, grid interconnection public safety regulations apply. The installation of devices used in our solutions and our generators may be subject to governmental oversight and regulation under state and local ordinances relating to building codes, public safety regulations pertaining to electrical connections and state and local licensing requirements. Moreover, federal, state and local governmental and regulatory authorities may seek to change existing regulations, impose additional regulations or change their interpretation of the applicability of existing regulations. We expect the electric utility industry to continue to undergo changes due to the changing and uncertain regulatory environment.

Regulation of Solar Operations. The market for electricity generating products is strongly influenced by federal, state and local government regulations and policies concerning the electric utility industry as well as policies promulgated by electric utilities. These regulations and policies often relate to electricity pricing and technical interconnection of customer-owned electricity generation. In the U.S., these regulations and policies have been modified in the past and may continue to be modified in the future. Customer purchases of alternative energy sources, including solar power technology, could be deterred by these regulations and policies, which could result in a significant reduction in the demand for our solar power products. Moreover, our solar power systems are subject to oversight and regulation in accordance with national and local ordinances relating to building codes, safety, environmental protection, utility interconnection and metering and related matters.

Regulation of Environment. While various federal, state and local laws and regulations covering the discharge of materials into the environment, or otherwise relating to the protection of the environment, may affect our business, our financial condition and results of operations have not been materially adversely affected by environmental laws and regulations. We believe we are in material compliance with those environmental laws and regulations to which we are subject. While in the past we have incurred costs to maintain environmental compliance and otherwise address environmental issues, we do not anticipate that we will be required make material capital expenditures due to these environmental laws and regulations in the foreseeable future. However, because environmental laws and regulations are frequently changed and expanded and our business operations and activities are growing, we are unable to provide any assurance that the cost of compliance in the future will not be material to us or our customers.

Employees

As of February 27, 2015, we had 790 full-time and 37 part-time employees. None of our employees is covered by a collective bargaining agreement and we have not experienced any work stoppage. We consider our relations with our employees to be good. Our future success is dependent in substantial part upon our ability to attract, retain and motivate qualified management, technical, marketing and other personnel.

Training, Quality Assurance and Safety

The performance of our services in many areas of our business, especially our UtilityServices operations, requires the use of equipment and exposure to conditions and situations that are dangerous and can be life threatening. We are committed to a policy of operating safely and prudently, and we emphasize safety at every level of our organization, with safety leadership in senior management and an extensive and required ongoing safety and training program.

Risk Management and Insurance

We maintain insurance arrangements with coverage customary for companies of our type and size, including general liability, automotive liability and workers’ compensation. Additionally, poor safety performance can have an immediate and significant negative impact on our customer relationships and financial results. We are partially self-insured under our major policies, and our insurance does not cover all types or amounts of liabilities. We also maintain insurance for extraordinary health insurance claims. We are not required to, and do not, specifically set aside funds for our self-insurance programs. Losses are accrued based on estimates of the ultimate liability for claims reported and an estimate of claims incurred but not reported. We maintain accruals based on known facts and historical trends. We generally renew our insurance policies on an annual basis, so the types, levels and scopes of coverage may change from time to time in future periods. In addition, insurers may cancel our coverage or determine to exclude certain items from coverage, or we may elect not to obtain certain types or incremental levels of insurance if we believe that the cost to obtain such coverage exceeds the additional benefits obtained.

 

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Performance Bonds and Letters of Credit

In the ordinary course of business, we are required by certain customers to post surety or performance bonds or letters of credit in connection with services that we provide to them. These bonds and letters of credit provide a guarantee to the customer that we will perform under the terms of a contract and that we will pay subcontractors and vendors. If we fail to perform under a contract or to pay subcontractors and vendors, the customer may demand that the surety, in the case of a performance bond, or our lenders, in the case of a letter of credit, make payments or provide services under the bond. We must reimburse the surety or our lenders for any expenses or outlays they incur. We have not been required to make any reimbursements to our sureties for bond-related costs, and we do not currently expect that we will have to fund significant claims under our surety arrangements in the foreseeable future. As of December 31, 2014, we had approximately $265.0 million in surety bonds outstanding, including a $120 million surety bond on our behalf issued in July 2014 in connection with two utility-scale solar Distributed Generation contracts. Based upon the current status of our contracts and projects, we estimate our exposure on these surety bonds was approximately $120.3 million at December 31, 2014.

Raw Materials and Component Parts

In our businesses we purchase generators, engines, alternators, electronic components, printed circuit boards, specialized sub-assemblies, relays, electric circuit components, fabricated sheet metal parts, machined components, copper, aluminum, metallic castings, LEDs, other LED lighting materials and components, wire, poles, transformers, inverters, solar panels, lighting, HVAC systems, boilers, plumbing systems, windows, insulation and various other raw materials, equipment, parts and components for our products and systems from third party vendors and suppliers. While we generally use standard parts and components for our products and systems that are readily available from multiple suppliers, we currently procure, and expect to continue to procure, certain components from single source manufacturers due to unique designs, quality and performance requirements and favorable pricing arrangements.

While, in the opinion of management, the loss of any one supplier of materials would not have a material adverse impact on our business or operations due to our belief that suitable and sufficient alternative vendors would be available, from time to time we do encounter difficulties in acquiring certain components due to shortages that periodically arise, supply problems from our suppliers, obsolescence of parts necessary to support older product designs or our inability to develop alternative sources of supply quickly or cost-effectively, and these procurement difficulties could materially impact and delay our ability to manufacture and deliver our products and therefore could adversely affect our business and operations. We attempt to mitigate this risk by maintaining an inventory of such materials. In addition, some of the raw materials used in our business, including but not limited to generators, transformers and engines, have significant lead times before they are available, which may affect the timing of our project completions. These delays and lead times can be even longer for parts and materials that we obtain from international sources.

Intellectual Property

Our success and ability to grow depends, in part, upon our ability to develop and protect our proprietary technology and intellectual property rights in order to distinguish our products, services and technology from those of our competitors. We rely primarily on a combination of copyright, trademark and trade secret laws, along with confidentiality agreements, contractual provisions and licensing arrangements, to establish and protect our intellectual property rights. We hold several copyrights, service marks and trademarks in our business, and we have applied for a patent protection and registrations of additional marks, although we may not be successful in obtaining such patent and registering such marks. In the future, we intend to continue to introduce and register new trademarks and service marks, and to file new patent applications, as we deem appropriate or necessary for our business and marketing needs.

Despite our efforts to protect our intellectual property rights, existing laws afford only limited protection, and our actions may be inadequate to protect our rights or to prevent others from claiming violations of their intellectual property rights. Unauthorized third parties may copy, reverse engineer or otherwise use or exploit aspects of our products and services, or otherwise obtain and use information that we regard as proprietary.

 

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We do not believe that we are dependent upon any one copyright, trademark, service mark or other intellectual property right. Rather, we believe that, due to the rapid pace of technology and change within the energy industry, the following factors are more important to our ability to successfully compete in our markets:

 

    the technological and creative skills of our personnel, including our entrepreneurial culture and engineering staff;

 

    the development of new products, services and technologies;

 

    frequent product, service and technology enhancements;

 

    the return on investment that our products and services deliver to our customers, including our turn-key product and service approach and integrated solutions;

 

    our customer relationships, name recognition and reputation in the marketplace;

 

    customer and employee training and development; and

 

    reliable products and service support.

We cannot assure you that we will be successful in competing on the basis of these or any other factors. See “—Competition” above in this item.

Research and Development

Our business leaders and their teams spend a significant amount of time on research and development including management and engineering time, and virtually all of our research and development is performed internally by our personnel. Our research and development activities include developing and enhancing our generator products, controls, switchgear, monitoring and control software, LED lighting products and components, substation products and designs, microgrid products, and electrical storage technologies, among other research and development activities. We intend to continue our research and development efforts to enhance our existing products and services and technologies and to develop new products, services and technologies enabling us to enter into new markets and better compete in existing markets.

The markets for our products, services and technology are dynamic, characterized by rapid technological developments, frequent new product introductions and evolving industry standards. The constantly changing nature of these markets and their rapid evolution will require us to continually improve the performance, features and reliability of our products, services and technology, particularly in response to competitive offerings, and to introduce both new and enhanced products, services and technology as quickly as possible and prior to our competitors. We believe our future success will depend, in part, upon our ability expand and enhance the features of our existing products, services and technology and to develop and introduce new products, services and technology designed to meet changing customer needs on a cost-effective and timely basis.

Business Investments and Acquisitions

We believe that all three of our business segments offer organic growth opportunities, and have been focused on creating organic revenue growth. In addition, from time to time we have made business investments and acquisitions to take advantage of opportunities to acquire key businesses, products, services, technology, customer relationships and management talent that we believed would enhance our capabilities and our solutions for our customers, and be financially beneficial. Since forming our Distributed Generation business in 2000, we have made a number of important business investments and acquisitions, including the following:

 

    In 2001, we acquired a process control and electric switchgear design and manufacturing firm, which provided the foundation for our NexGear switchgear solutions, an important strategic component of our Distributed Generation systems.

 

    In 2005, we launched two new complementary businesses to serve our utility clients by providing regulatory consulting, energy system engineering and design, and energy conservation services. These engineering and consulting capabilities are operated under the brand names UtilityEngineering and PowerServices, and their formation constituted the beginning of our Utility Infrastructure product and service category.

 

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    In 2006, we formed a new business to provide energy efficiency services to industrial and commercial customers, primarily involving efficient lighting products. This business now operates under the brand name EnergyLite in our Energy Efficiency segment.

 

    Also in 2006, we launched a business unit focused on marketing the services of our businesses to federal customers, primarily in conjunction with our utility alliances. This investment represented the next step in the evolution and development of our Utility Infrastructure products and services, and provided us the capability to do larger-scale power projects for utilities and their federal customers.

 

    In late 2006, we acquired a business that provides us with the capability to build trailers and enclosures for our Distributed Generation and switchgear equipment. This business has now been fully incorporated into our Distributed Generation business primarily as a source of manufacturing for many of the components of our Distributed Generation systems, including our PowerBlock generator technology.

 

    In mid-2007, we launched a business unit focused on providing utilities with solutions involving building and servicing transmission and distribution systems. This business operates under the brand name UtilityServices, and its capabilities further enhance and complement our Utility Infrastructure products and services, strengthening the breadth of our overall offerings in this area.

 

    In late 2007, we organized a new business to design and manufacture LED-based lighting solutions. This business initially included solutions specifically aimed at substantially reducing the energy consumed in grocery, drug and convenience stores, and now operates in our reorganized LED lighting solutions business under PowerSecure Lighting.

 

    In April 2010, we launched an expansion of our LED lighting business through the acquisition of a controlling interest in an LED lighting development company that broadened our Energy Efficiency solutions though the addition of turn-key product development, design and manufacturing of solid state LED-based lights, including power drivers, light engines and thermal management solutions. This business currently operates under our reorganized LED lighting solutions business operated under PowerSecure Lighting.

 

    In June 2012, we acquired PowerSecure Solar, a distributed solar energy business, adding a solar capability to our Distributed Generation system platform. This acquisition provided us the capability to provide stand-alone solar energy PV systems to utilities and their commercial and industrial customers, as well as utilizing solar energy in combination with our traditional Distributed Generation and microgrid systems.

 

    In February 2013, we acquired our Energy Efficiency Services business. This acquisition strengthened our Energy Efficiency product and services offerings by expanding our portfolio of energy efficient facility technologies and expertise, which now includes lighting solutions, HVAC system upgrades, building envelope upgrades, transformer efficiency upgrades and water conservation systems.

 

    In April 2013, we acquired Solais, an LED lighting company with a proprietary portfolio of LED lamps and fixtures for commercial and industrial applications. Solais’ innovative designs, which are covered by a variety of patents and patents pending, provide their products with enhanced light output, thermal management, optics and light quality, and aesthetics. The acquisition of Solais strengthened and complemented our existing LED business through the addition of new product lines and new skill sets around product design, product commercialization, and manufacturing and sourcing capabilities. In addition, Solais added to our capabilities in marketing LED lighting through distributor channels.

 

    In May 2013, we acquired the business and certain assets of Powerline, which involves safety training in electrical utility work and enhances our Utility Infrastructure safety and training programs with additional resources and capabilities.

 

    In October 2013, we acquired the assets and business of Encari, which provides cybersecurity consulting and compliance services to the utility industry. Encari helps utilities assess, improve and maintain their compliance with NERC CIP Reliability Standards.

 

    In September 2014, we acquired the electrical contracting business of Apex, which provides retrofit and electrical contracting services to major retailers, in most cases through general contractors. This acquisition is part of our strategy to expand our Energy Efficiency services market base to retailers.

 

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    In October 2014, we acquired the Mission Critical Energy Services business, which provides full turn-key electrical infrastructure design, implementation and commissioning service to data center owners. We previously provided our Distributed Generation data center solutions as a supplier to that business. This acquisition has provided us with a direct customer channel and capabilities to accelerate our access to key data center decision makers who are designing and evaluating backup power and control systems for their facilities.

While we regularly engage in discussions relating to potential acquisitions and dispositions of assets, businesses and companies, as of the date of this report we have not entered into any binding agreement or commitment with respect to a material acquisition or disposition that has not been disclosed in this report.

Operating Segments

Our operating and reportable segments are currently organized around the following products and services that we offer as part of our core business strategy:

 

    Distributed Generation solutions;

 

    Utility Infrastructure solutions; and

 

    Energy Efficiency solutions.

These three reportable segments, described in greater detail above in this report, had previously been reported on a combined basis under our Utility and Energy Technologies segment as they had been operated and evaluated as one operating segment. We experienced significant growth over the last several years in most of our product and service areas. As we have grown organically, and as we have added to our capabilities through acquisitions, our product and service areas have become more strategically important and distinctly organized under these three groupings. In addition, our chief operating decision maker, who is our Chief Executive Officer, has begun reviewing results and allocating resources among these three strategic business groupings, and we have begun budgeting using these business segments. Our segment information for the years ended December 31, 2013 and 2012 have been reclassified to conform to our current presentation.

Financial information related to our segment operations for the past three fiscal years is set forth in Note 15, “Segment Information” of the notes to our consolidated financial statements included beginning at page F-1 of this report and incorporated herein by reference.

Available Information

Our corporate website is located at www.powersecure.com. On the investor relations section of our website, we make available, free of charge, our Annual Reports on Form 10-K, Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q, Current Reports on Form 8-K, and amendments to those reports as soon as reasonably practicable after we electronically file them with or furnish them to the SEC. You may read and copy any materials we file with the SEC at the SEC’s Public Reference Room at 100 F Street, NE, Washington, D.C. 20549. You may obtain information on the operation of the SEC’s Public Reference Room by calling the SEC at 1-800-SEC-0330. The SEC’s website is located at www.sec.gov that contains all of the reports, proxy and information statements and other information that we file with or furnish to the SEC.

We webcast our earnings calls and certain events we participate in with members of the investment community on our investor relations website. Additionally, we provide notifications of news or announcements regarding our financial performance, including SEC filings, investor events and press and earnings releases as part of the investor relations section of our website. Further corporate governance materials, including our Corporate Governance Guidelines, charters of our Board committees and our Code of Conduct, are also available on the investor relations portion of our website. The content of and the information available on or accessible through our corporate website, including the investor relations portion of our website, is not a part of, and is not incorporated into, this report or any other report or document we file with or furnish to the SEC, and any references to our website are intended to be an inactive textual references only.

 

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Executive Officers of the Registrant

The names of our executive officers and their ages, positions with us and biographies as of March 2, 2015 are set forth below:

 

Name

  

Age

  

Positions

Sidney Hinton    52    President, Chief Executive Officer and Director
Christopher T. Hutter    48   

Executive Vice President, Chief Operating Officer,

Chief Financial Officer, Treasurer and Secretary

Eric Dupont    42    Executive Vice President of Finance and Administration
Gary J. Zuiderveen    55   

Vice President of Financial Reporting, Controller,

Principal Accounting Officer, Assistant Treasurer and

Assistant Secretary

Our executive officers are appointed by, and serve at the discretion of, our Board of Directors. Each executive officer is a full-time employee. There are no family relationships between any of our executive officers or directors.

Sidney Hinton has served as our President and Chief Executive Officer and a member of our Board of Directors since 2007. Mr. Hinton has also served as the President and Chief Executive Officer of our principal subsidiary PowerSecure, Inc. since its incorporation in September 2000. In 2000, he was an Executive-in-Residence with Carousel Capital, a private equity firm. In 1999, he was the Vice President of Market Planning and Research for Carolina Power & Light (now known as Progress Energy). From August 1997 until December 1998, Mr. Hinton was the President and Chief Executive Officer of IllumElex Lighting Company, a national lighting company. From 1982 until 1997, he was employed in several positions with Southern Company and Georgia Power Company.

Christopher T. Hutter has served as an executive officer since joining our company in December 2007, serving as our Chief Operating Officer since November 2014, our Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer since December 2007, our Executive Vice President since March 2010 and prior thereto our Vice President, and our Secretary since September 2012. Mr. Hutter was employed in various management positions with ADVO, Inc., a NYSE-listed media and marketing services company located in Hartford, Connecticut, from 1993 until March 2007, when ADVO was acquired by Valassis Communications, Inc. He served as ADVO’s National Vice President, Finance, Treasurer, Investor Relations and Assistant Secretary from December 2005 until March 2007, as its Vice President, Financial Planning and Analysis, Investor Relations and Treasurer from November 2003 until December 2005, as its Vice President, Investor Relations and Assistant Treasurer from October 1999 until November 2003, and as its Vice President, Financial Planning and Analysis, Investor Relations and Treasurer from 1998 until 1999. From 1993 through 1998, Mr. Hutter held various financial management positions with ADVO. From 1989 until 1991, he was employed as a senior staff tax consultant with Deloitte & Touche LLP, an international accounting firm.

Eric Dupont has served as our as our Executive Vice President of Finance and Administration since September 2014 and prior thereto served as the Vice President of Finance of our PowerSecure, Inc. subsidiary since joining our company in March 2013. From June 2008 to February 2013, Mr. Dupont served in a variety of positions with Lime Energy Co., an energy services company based on Huntersville, North Carolina, including ultimately as its Vice President of Operations. From 2004 through June 2008, he served as Chief Financial Officer of Applied Energy Management, Inc., a Cornelius, North Carolina based energy efficiency services company, which was acquired by Lime Energy Co. in June 2008. From 1998 through 2004, he served as the Director of Structured Finance for Ameresco, Inc., formerly DukeSolutions, Inc., a Duke Energy subsidiary. Mr. Dupont was employed with KPMG Peat Marwick LLP from 1995 through 1998 as a supervising senior.

Gary J. Zuiderveen has served as our Vice President of Financial Reporting, Controller and Principal Accounting Officer since December 2007. Mr. Zuiderveen also serves as our Assistant Secretary and Assistant Treasurer. He served as our Vice President and Chief Financial Officer from April 2007 through December 2007, as our Controller, Principal Accounting Officer and Secretary from April 2001 through April 2007, and as our Secretary from December 2007 until September 2012. He had previously served as our Controller from May 1994 until May 2000 and as our Secretary and Principal Accounting Officer from August 1996 until May 2000. From June 1992 until May 1994, Mr. Zuiderveen was the General Accounting Manager at the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado. From 1983 until June 1992, he was employed in the Denver, Colorado office of Deloitte & Touche LLP, providing accounting and auditing services to clients primarily in the manufacturing and financial services industries and serving in Deloitte’s national office accounting research department.

 

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Item 1A. Risk Factors

Our operations and financial results are subject to and may be affected by many risks, uncertainties and other factors, including those set forth below and those contained elsewhere in this report. These risks, uncertainties and other factors could materially and adversely affect our business, affairs, assets, financial condition, results of operations, cash flows and prospects, as well as the trading price of our common stock. When we say that something could have a material adverse effect on us or on our business or words of similar import, we mean that it could have one or more of those effects.

Risks Related to Our Business and Industry

We may not be able to grow our company or become profitable on an annual basis in 2015 or future years, or to reach or exceed the levels of growth, revenues and profits that we target in the future, and we may incur net losses in the future.

While during recent years through 2013 we experienced a high rate of growth in our revenues and our business was generally profitable on an annual basis, in 2014 our revenues declined year-over-year and we incurred a net loss for the year. While in future years we expect and target a return to meaningful growth in our revenues, expansion in our business operations and profitability in our financial results, we may not be able to grow and be profitable or to meet the business and financial results we expect or target, and we may incur additional net losses in the future, due to one or more of the factors listed in this item or of the other factors discussed elsewhere in this report. In addition, even if our revenues increase and our operations return to profitability in any future periods, we may not be able to grow our revenues and profits or to sustain such growth and profitability in subsequent future periods. Also, as a result of costs we incur in connection with the growth and expansion of our existing businesses, products and services and in connection with acquisitions and start-up time for new businesses, products and services, and also as a result of other expenses and capital expenditures we may incur from time to time in the short-term in operating our business or in our efforts to grow our business, even if we are successful at growing our business and revenues we might not be able to operate on a profitable basis. As a result, there is no assurance that our revenues will increase or that we will be profitable in any particular future period. If our future growth rates, revenues and margins do not meet our expectations, or if our operating expenses are higher than we anticipate, then our revenues could decline or we could incur net losses or both, and our business, our results of operations and the trading price of our common stock could be materially and adversely affected.

Adverse economic conditions, including weak or deteriorating business and market conditions and volatile and uncertain financial and capital markets, could materially and adversely affect our business and financial results in future periods.

The United States and world economies have, to some extent, continued to suffer from uncertainty, volatility, disruption and other adverse conditions since the 2007-08 recession, and those conditions continue to adversely impact the business community and the financial markets. There is no assurance that these economic and business conditions will not be adverse in the future. Adverse economic and financial market conditions could negatively affect our customers and our markets, and thus negatively impact our business and results of operations by extending the length of our sales cycle and causing potential customers to delay, defer or decline to make purchases of our products and services due to uncertainties surrounding the future performance of their businesses, limitations on their capital expenditures due to internal budget constraints, the inability to obtain financing in the capital markets, and the adverse effects of the economy on their business and financial condition. As a result, if economic and financial market conditions deteriorate, then our business, financial condition and results of operations, including our ability to grow and expand our business and operations, could be materially and adversely affected.

Our operating results can fluctuate significantly from period to period, which makes our operating results difficult to predict and can cause our operating results in any particular period to be less than comparable periods and expectations from time to time.

Our operating results have fluctuated significantly from quarter-to-quarter, period-to-period and year-to-year during our operating history and are likely to continue to fluctuate in the future due to a variety of factors, many of which are outside of our control. Factors that affect our operating results include those set forth in “Item 7. Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations — Uncertainties, Trends and Risks that can cause Fluctuations in our Operating Results.”

 

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Because we have little or no control over many of these factors, our operating results are difficult to predict. Any adverse change in any of these factors could negatively affect our business and results of operations.

Our revenues, net income and other operating results are heavily dependent upon the size and timing of customer orders and projects, and the timing of the completion of those projects. The timing of our receipt of large individual orders, and of project completion, is difficult for us to predict. Because our operating expenses are based on anticipated revenues over the mid- and long-term and because a high percentage of our operating expenses are relatively fixed, a shortfall or delay in recognizing revenues can cause our operating results to vary significantly from quarter-to-quarter and can result in significant operating losses or declines in profit margins in any particular quarter. If our revenues fall below our expectations in any particular quarter, we may not be able, or it may not be prudent for us, to reduce our expenses rapidly in response to the revenue shortfall, which can result in us suffering significant operating losses or declines in profit margins in that quarter.

As we develop new lines of business, our revenues and costs will fluctuate because generally new businesses require start-up expenses and revenues need time to develop, and these start-up timing issues can result in losses in early periods in new businesses if even they later become financially successful. Another factor that could cause material fluctuations in our quarterly results is an increase in recurring, as opposed to project-based, sources of revenue we generate for our Distributed Generation and Utility Infrastructure projects. To date, the majority of our revenues have consisted of project-based Distributed Generation revenues, project-based Utility Infrastructure revenues and sales of LED lighting fixtures, which are recognized as the sales occur or as the projects are completed. Recurring revenue projects, compared to project-based sales, are generally more profitable over time, and growth in this business model can result in delayed recognition of revenue and net income, especially in the short-term.

Due to these factors and the other risks discussed in this report, you should not rely on quarter-to-quarter, period-to-period or year-to-year comparisons of our results of operations as an indication of our future performance. Quarterly, period and annual comparisons of our operating results are not necessarily meaningful or indicative of future performance. As a result, it is likely that, from time to time, our results of operations or our revenue backlog could fall below historical levels or the expectations of public market analysts and investors, which could cause the trading price of our common stock to decline significantly.

We may incur liabilities or suffer other significant adverse financial or reputational consequences, including the abrupt and immediate loss of revenues and income from the loss of business, relating to occupational health and safety matters and other accident and safety risks and hazards that are inherent to our operations.

Portions of our operations are subject to many hazards and risks inherent in the servicing and operation of electrical power lines, including electrocutions, fires, mechanical failures, weather-related incidents, cave-ins, heavy equipment operation and transportation accidents. For example, we face risks related to the manufacture, installation, sale, servicing and operation of electrical equipment such as our Distributed Generation system equipment and our Utility Infrastructure construction, maintenance and service work, including electric shocks, falls and other physical hazards inherent in working with electrical equipment. These hazards and risks could result in personal injuries, loss of life, environmental damage, severe damage to or destruction of property and equipment and other consequential damages, some of which could occur for uninsurable or uninsured risks or could exceed our insurance coverage, and could lead to the suspension of certain of our operations, large damage claims, damage to our safety reputation, loss of business and, in extreme cases, criminal liability.

While we have invested, and will continue to invest, substantial resources in our occupational health and safety programs, our industry involves a high degree of operational risk and there can be no assurance that we will avoid significant liability exposure. Although we have taken what we believe are appropriate precautions, we have suffered accidents in the past and will likely suffer additional accidents in the future. In addition, the risks inherent in our business are such that we cannot assure you that we will be able to maintain adequate insurance in the future at reasonable rates. Our safety record is an important consideration for many of our customers. If our safety record does not meet the standards of our customers or deteriorates or if we were to suffer substantial penalties or criminal prosecution for violation of health and safety regulations, our customers could cancel our existing projects and relationships or not award us future business. Therefore, the occurrence of a significant accident, or of another risk, event or hazard, which is not fully covered by insurance, could materially and adversely affect our business and financial results. Even if fully covered by insurance, one or more accidents or other safety risks or hazards could materially and adversely affect our business due to the impact on our reputation for safety and the potential loss of business, revenues and income from customers. For example, if our safety performance and safety record do not

 

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meet the standards of our utility customers, we could be abruptly and immediately released from our work assignments with those utilities and from other utilities, and we could lose the opportunity to obtain additional or new work from those utilities, which could materially and adversely affect our revenues, net income and cash flows.

We have been named as a defendant in a purported securities class action litigation and as a nominal defendant in a shareholder derivative action, and we could be named in additional related litigation, all of which may require significant management time and attention, and result in significant legal expenses and may result in an unfavorable outcome, which could have a material adverse effect on our business, operating results and financial condition.

On May 22, 2014, a putative securities class action lawsuit was filed against us and certain of our executive officers in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina. Subsequently, in May and July 2014, two additional purported securities class action lawsuits were filed against the same defendants in the United States District Courts, one in the Eastern District of North Carolina and the other in the Western District of North Carolina. On October 10, 2014, these lawsuits were consolidated in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina, and a lead plaintiff was appointed. A consolidated amended complaint was filed on December 29, 2014, purportedly on behalf of all persons or entities that purchased our common stock during a purported class period from August 8, 2013 through May 7, 2014. The action alleges that certain statements made by the defendants during the applicable class period violated federal securities laws. The amount of damages has not been specified, and no determination has been made on the status of the lawsuits proposed as class actions. We filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit on February 26, 2015. The plaintiff is expected to file its response to our motion to dismiss, to which we will file a reply, before the court rules on our motion to dismiss. We cannot provide any assurance on the timing or the outcome of a court ruling on our motion to dismiss.

On August 15, 2014, a shareholder derivative complaint was filed against certain of our executive officers and each of our directors during the class period in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina. The complaint alleges breach of fiduciary duty, waste of corporate assets and unjust enrichment by the named officers and directors in connection with substantially the same events as set forth in the class action lawsuit, seeking damages in an unspecified amount. On November 26, 2014, based on mutual agreement of the parties to the lawsuit, the court ordered that proceedings under the complaint be stayed until resolution of the class action litigation.

While we believe that we have substantial legal and factual defenses to the claims in the class action and we are pursuing these defenses vigorously, the outcome of this litigation is difficult to predict and quantify and the defense against such claims could be costly. In addition, we have various insurance policies related to the risk associated with our business, including directors’ and officers’ liability insurance policies. However, there is no assurance that we will be successful in our defense of the pending securities class action, and there is no assurance that our insurance coverage will be sufficient or that our insurance carriers will cover all claims in that litigation. If we are not successful in our defense of the claims asserted in the securities class action and those claims are not covered by insurance or exceed our insurance coverage, we may have to pay damage awards, indemnify our officers and directors from damage awards that may be entered against them and pay the costs and expenses incurred in defense of, or in any settlement of, such claims.

While we are only a nominal defendant in the shareholder derivative litigation, we could be obligated to indemnify and/or to pay an advancement of fees and costs incurred by our officers and directors in their defense of the derivative litigation.

Any such payments or settlement arrangements in these current lawsuits or related litigation or proceedings could be significant and have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations, or cash flows if the claims are not covered by our insurance carriers or if damages exceed the limits of our insurance coverage. Furthermore, regardless of the outcome of these claims, defending the litigation itself could result in substantial costs and divert management’s attention and resources, which could have a material adverse effect on our business, operating results, financial condition and ability to finance our operations.

 

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We recently entered into two contracts with a utility customer under which we are acting as the general contractor in connection with the installations of two utility-scale solar power systems, which constitute a material amount of our revenue backlog and we expect will constitute a material amount of our revenues and profit in 2015 and 2016. We are subject to a variety of risks associated with the execution of these large projects, including but not limited to potential damages under the contracts if we do not deliver quality systems on time, and performance bonds that guarantee the performance of our obligations under the contracts, any of which could have a material adverse effect on our business and results of operations.

In 2012, we acquired our distributed solar energy business, which is operated by PowerSecure Solar and is included in our Distributed Generation product platform and segment. Because our solar energy capability was acquired relatively recently, we have limited experience on which to base our prospects and anticipated results of operations.

In July 2014, through PowerSecure Solar, we entered into two engineering, procurement and construction contracts with a utility customer, pursuant to which we will act as the general contractor in connection with the installation of two solar power Distributed Generation systems with a total project value of $120 million. Because of the size, scope, and strict project timelines, we have taken on significant responsibility and risks related to project completion.

The contracts for these utility-scale solar projects contain customary covenants, representations, warranties and indemnities to the utility customer. They also include terms requiring us to provide indemnification to the utility under certain circumstances, as well as containing provisions requiring us to pay the utility liquidated damages upon the occurrence of certain events, including delays in achieving pre-determined substantial completion, and placed in service dates, and the level of energy performance of the project. The aggregate limit on our liability to the utility for liquidated damages due to such delays under the contracts is approximately $24 million per contract, and $48 million in total, which cap does not apply to other breaches. We could have additional liability to the utility for any breaches of our covenants, representations or warranties in addition to these potential liquidated damages. The contracts also contain typical events of default, including material breaches of the contracts after notice and cure periods and defaults relating to bonding and surety failures. We provide a warranty on each project for three years after substantial completion of that project.

The solar projects under each contract were subject to certain conditions that were required to be met within 120 days of the date of either contract. Those conditions have been timely met, and the utility has issued a notice to proceed under the EPC Contracts, ending the prior rights to terminate the EPC Contracts. The scheduled substantial completion and placed in service dates of each contract are no later than August 1, 2016 and December 31, 2016, respectively.

In addition, the solar projects covered by these contracts are subject to bonding and surety requirements. In connection with these requirements, we have obtained bonding and surety arrangements in the amount of approximately $120 million to support our performance obligations under the contracts to our utility customer. The solar panel manufacturer has provided a supply bond to us in the amount of approximately $60 million that backstops the on-time delivery of solar panels.

We depend on third-party solar panel manufacturers and suppliers to provide the solar panels for these projects, and any failure or delay to obtain sufficient quality solar panels could significantly affect our performance, lead to construction delays, create liquidated damages for project delays and damage our customer relationships. If the operations of our panel supplier are disrupted or if its financial stability becomes impaired, or if it becomes unable or unwilling to devote capacity to our solar panels in a timely manner, then we might be unable to complete the projects on a timely basis. While the panel supplier has bonded its obligations, it may not be possible for us to obtain adequate solar panels from an alternate supplier in a timely manner or without incurring significantly higher costs.

In addition, these solar projects are the largest we have been awarded to date, and are expected to generate a significant portion of our revenues in 2015 and 2016. These projects create concentrated operating and financial risks, and we do not control all events that could affect our performance or the timing of these projects. We may not recognize revenue as anticipated in a given reporting period because a project is delayed or if construction, operational challenges arise, or if the timing of such a project unexpectedly changes for other reasons. We may incur large liquidated damages if we fail to execute the projects by a specified time, or incur other damages due to performance issues or contractual breaches. Our performance on this scale is untested. Moreover, these projects are

 

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subject to deferral or termination by the utility customer, under certain circumstances, upon which we would only receive compensation for our work performance and costs incurred. In addition, since these are fixed price projects, we would be adversely affected by any increase in costs, whether due to cost-overruns, construction delays, increased supply costs, adverse weather conditions, or other unanticipated factors. Any decrease in revenues below expectations from these projects, payment of liquidated damages, or increase in project expenses could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations and financial condition. This is particularly true because we expect the gross margins on these projects to be significantly less than our traditional solar gross margins. This means that we have less room for error, and the impact of issues with the execution of these projects could be magnified in our results of operations.

Our success in developing and growing a profitable distributed solar energy business depends in large part on our ability to anticipate and effectively manage these and other risks and uncertainties, many of which are outside of our control. Any of these risks could materially and adversely affect our solar operations and business and, accordingly, our expected future growth and results of operations.

We may require a substantial amount of additional funds to finance our capital requirements and the growth of our business, and we may not be able to generate or raise a sufficient amount of funds, or be able to do so on terms favorable to us and our stockholders, or at all.

Although we believe we have adequate liquidity and capital resources to fund our operations internally for the near-term, due in large part to the receipt of cash proceeds from a June 2013 term loan under our credit facility and from our August 2013 public offering of stock, as well as the availability of revolving loans under our credit facility, over time we may need to obtain additional capital to fund our capital obligations and to finance the continued growth and expansion of our business. For example, we may need substantial capital to finance the development and growth of our recurring revenue projects, which are capital intensive. In addition, each of our Distributed Generation, Energy Efficiency and Utility Infrastructure products and services have experienced high growth rates, which have required, and will likely continue to require, additional funds to finance working capital needs due to long payment cycles, as well as investments in operational equipment. Moreover, from time to time as part of our business plan, we evaluate potential acquisitions of businesses and technologies, such as the recent acquisitions discussed elsewhere in this report. Also, unanticipated events, and other events over which we have no control, could increase our expenses or decrease our ability to generate revenues from product and service sales, necessitating additional capital. We continually evaluate our cash flow requirements as well as our opportunity to raise additional capital in order to improve our financial position. In addition, we continually evaluate opportunities to optimize the availability, cost and terms of our debt facilities. We cannot provide any assurance that we will be able to maintain our current credit facility, raise additional capital or replace our current credit facility when needed or desired, or that the terms of any such financing will be favorable to us and our stockholders.

Our credit facility, which commenced in 2007 and has been subsequently amended and restated, consists of a revolving credit line of $20 million that matures in November 2016 and two term loans, a $25 million seven year amortizing term loan maturing in June 2020 and a $2.6 million term loan maturing in November 2016. The proceeds under our credit facility are available for our capital requirements subject to our meeting certain financial and operating covenants. In July 2014, the credit facility was amended to increase the letter of credit sublimit to $12 million as part of, but not in addition to, the $20 million revolving credit line. In conjunction with this amendment, our lenders issued a $12 million letter of credit to our bonding surety to support our bonding arrangements under contracts to construct two utility-scale solar energy projects for a major utility. Our bonding surety released the $12.0 million letter of credit in August 2014 upon receipt of acceptable supply bonding from the solar panel manufacturer.

As of March 4, 2015, an aggregate balance of approximately $21.6 million was outstanding under the two term loans under our credit facility and we had no balance outstanding under the $20 million revolving portion of our credit facility which was fully available to us.

Our ability to borrow under the revolving credit facility is subject to our ability to satisfy certain financial covenants, and our ability to satisfy those covenants depends principally upon our ability to achieve positive operating performance including but not limited to earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, or EBITDA, and ratios thereof, as well as certain balance sheet ratios. If we are unable to fully satisfy the financial covenants of the credit facility, and any such failure is not waived by our lenders, then we will be in breach of the terms of our credit facility. For example, if our cash on hand does not exceed funded indebtedness by at least $5 million, then our minimum fixed charge coverage ratio must be in excess of 1.25. In October 2014, we amended our

 

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credit agreement to modify the fixed charge coverage ratio covenant so that, for the third quarter 2014, it was calculated based solely on our financial results for that quarter, and for the fiscal quarters ending December 31, 2014 and March 31, 2015, the fixed charge coverage ratio is based on our financial results for the third quarter 2014 and subsequent fiscal quarters. Thereafter, commencing with the fiscal quarter ending June 30, 2015, the fixed charge coverage ratio will be based on our financial results for the previous four fiscal quarters on a rolling basis. The amendment did not modify the trigger for the fixed charge coverage ratio covenant or the minimum ratio itself.

Our obligations under the credit facility are secured by a first priority security interest in substantially all of the assets of our operating subsidiaries, which have guaranteed the credit facility. Any breach of the covenants in the credit facility could result in a default under the credit facility, and lead to an acceleration of the payment of all outstanding debt owed, which could materially and adversely affect our financial condition. In such case, we would seek an amendment, or a waiver of any breach of any term of our credit agreement, or consider other options, such as raising capital through an equity issuance to pay down debt, which could be dilutive to stockholders. There can be no assurance that our lenders would agree to any such amendment or waiver. In the event we obtain such an amendment or waiver under our credit agreement, we would likely incur additional fees and higher interest expense.

Moreover, we could be adversely affected by the failure of any of our lenders to fulfill their commitments under our credit facility, which risk would be primarily due to potentially difficult conditions in the financial markets and banking industry. Our credit facility is provided by a syndicate of financial institutions, with each institution agreeing severally, and not jointly, to make revolving credit loans to us in accordance with the terms of the credit agreement. If any of these financial institutions were to default on its obligation to fund its commitment, the portion of the credit facility provided by such defaulting financial institution would not be available to us.

We may seek to raise any needed or desired additional capital from the proceeds of public or private equity or debt offerings at the holding company level or at the subsidiary level or both, through asset or business sales, from traditional credit financings or from other financing sources. Our ability to obtain additional capital when needed or desired will depend on many factors, including market conditions, our operating performance and investor sentiment, and thus cannot be assured. In addition, depending on the structure and amount, raising capital could require the consent of our lenders. Even if we are able to raise additional capital, the terms of any financing could be adverse to the interests of our stockholders. For example, the terms of a debt financing could include covenants that restrict our ability to operate our business or to expand our operations, while the terms of an equity financing, involving the issuance of capital stock or of securities convertible into capital stock, could dilute the percentage ownership interests of our stockholders, and the new capital stock or other new securities could have rights, preferences or privileges senior to those of our current stockholders.

We cannot provide any assurance that sufficient additional funds will be available to us when needed or desired or that, if available, such funds can be obtained on terms favorable to us and our stockholders and acceptable to our lending group, if its consent is required. Our inability to obtain sufficient additional capital on a timely basis on favorable terms could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

Because a portion of our business depends on our ability to provide surety or performance bonds, we may not be able to compete for or work on certain projects if we are not able to maintain sufficient bonding capacity.

In the ordinary course of business, we are required by certain customers to post surety or performance bonds in connection with services that we provide to them. These bonds provide a guarantee to the customer that we will perform under the terms of a contract and that we will pay subcontractors and vendors. If we fail to perform under a contract or to pay subcontractors and vendors, the customer may demand that the surety make payments or provide services under the bond. We must reimburse the surety for any expenses or outlays it incurs. As of December 31, 2014, we had approximately $265.0 million in surety or performance bonds outstanding. Based upon the current status of our contracts and projects, we estimate our exposure on these bonds was approximately $120.3 million at December 31, 2014.

Sureties issue or continue bonds on a project-by-project basis and can decline to issue bonds at any time or require the posting of additional collateral as a condition to issuing or renewing any bonds. Current or future market conditions, including the current state of the construction industry, the bonding market and general lending activity, as well as ultimately our performance on contracts, could have a negative effect on surety providers. These market conditions, as well as changes in our surety providers’ assessment of our operating and financial risk, could also cause our surety providers to decline to issue or renew, or substantially reduce the amount of, bonds for our work

 

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and could increase our bonding costs. These actions could be taken on short notice. If our surety providers were to limit or eliminate our access to bonding, our alternatives would include seeking bonding capacity from other sureties, finding more business that does not require bonds and posting other forms of collateral for project performance, such as letters of credit or cash. We may be unable to secure these alternatives in a timely manner, on acceptable terms, or at all. Accordingly, if we were to experience an interruption or reduction in our availability of bonding capacity, we may be unable to compete for or work on certain projects and such interruption or reduction could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations. In addition, if we were required to make any reimbursements to our sureties for bond-related costs, we could experience a material adverse effect on our financial condition and results of operations.

Because we are dependent upon the utility industry for a large portion of our current and future revenues, reductions or deferrals of purchases of our products and services by utilities or their customers could materially and adversely affect our business.

One of the central aspects of our marketing approach involves partnering with utilities and selling our products and services to their large commercial, institutional, federal and industrial customers. We have generated a significant portion of our revenues using this approach. However, the purchasing patterns of these customers are cyclical and generally characterized by long budgeting, purchasing and regulatory processes. These customers typically issue requests for quotes and proposals, establish committees to evaluate the purchase proposals, review different technical options with vendors, analyze performance and cost-benefit justifications and perform a regulatory review, in addition to applying budgetary approval processes and operational and financial justifications. In addition, utilities and their customers may defer purchases of our products and services if the utilities reduce capital expenditures as the result of difficult economic and financial market conditions, mergers and acquisitions, pending or unfavorable regulatory decisions, poor revenues due to weather conditions or rising interest rates, among other factors. These unfavorable conditions could reduce the demand for our products and services and materially and adversely affect our business. In addition, changes in utility spending and the demand by utilities for our services can be immediate and abrupt, and a reduction in demand for our services by utilities could cause us to have equipment and personnel that are not being utilized, significantly affecting our revenue and profits.

Restrictions imposed on us by the terms of our credit facility limit how we conduct our business and our ability to raise additional capital.

The terms of our credit facility contain financial and operating covenants that place restrictions on our activities and limit the discretion of our management. These covenants place significant restrictions on our ability to:

 

    incur additional indebtedness;

 

    allow our cash position to fall below certain limits;

 

    create liens or other encumbrances;

 

    issue or redeem our securities;

 

    make dividend payments, stock repurchases and investments;

 

    incur capital expenditures above certain limits;

 

    incur leasing obligations above certain limits;

 

    amend our charter documents;

 

    sell or otherwise dispose of our or our subsidiaries’ stock or assets;

 

    liquidate or dissolve;

 

    make certain types of acquisitions above specified limits; or

 

    reorganize, recapitalize or engage in a similar business transaction.

Any future financing arrangements will likely contain covenants that are similar to, and could be more restrictive than, those under our current credit facility. As a result of these restrictions, we may be:

 

    limited in how we conduct our business;

 

    unable to raise additional capital, through debt or equity financings, when needed for our operations and growth; and

 

    unable to compete effectively, make desired acquisitions or to take advantage of new business opportunities.

 

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The need to comply with the terms of our debt obligations may also limit our ability to obtain additional financing and our flexibility in planning for or reacting to changes in our business. If, as a result of these covenants, we are unable to pursue a favorable transaction or course of action or to respond to an unfavorable event, condition or circumstance, then our business could be materially and adversely affected.

From time to time, a large portion of our revenues and operating results can be driven by significant purchases by a concentrated number of customers, and if we do not continue to receive additional significant purchase commitments in the future from those or other customers, our revenues and operating results could be adversely affected.

From time to time, we have a concentrated number of customers that account for a large portion of our consolidated revenues during a year, and because the majority of our revenues are project-based, we receive our revenues from these orders over a limited period of time. For example, in 2015 and 2016 a significant portion of our revenues are expected to be generated from a large utility customer under two utility-scale solar projects that we expect will generate approximately $120 million in the aggregate over those two years combined. As a result, we are continually replacing revenue from current customers and projects with revenue from new customers and projects, while at the same time working to grow our revenues and our business. See “Item 1. Business—Customers” above. While we have been diversifying our products and services, our markets and our customer base in order to reduce our dependence on any one or small group of customers in the future, there is no assurance we will be successful in diversifying our business or obtaining additional significant purchase commitments from other customers to replace work that has been completed. If we are unable to obtain additional significant purchase orders in the future and to otherwise diversify and expand our customer base, our revenues and net income in future periods could be adversely affected.

Our success is continually dependent on our ability to develop new relationships and to maintain beneficial relationships with our current utility partners and with significant new customers and to generate additional project-based revenues, and also recurring revenues, from those relationships. We cannot provide any assurance that we will be able to attract additional large customer orders in the future to replace revenues from large customer orders in prior years, or that our existing customers will continue to purchase our products and services in future years in the same amounts as in prior years. Our business and operating results would be adversely affected by:

 

    the loss of, or the completion of our work on orders from, one or more large customers;

 

    any cancellation of orders by, or any reduction or delay in sales to, these customers, including actual customer purchases being less than originally expected when we received the project or sales awards;

 

    the failure of large purchase commitments to be renewed or to recur, and the failure of us to develop new business to replace orders that have been executed and recognized;

 

    delays in timing of future projects with existing and new customers;

 

    our inability to successfully develop relationships with additional customers; or

 

    future price concessions that we may have to make to these customers.

We do not have long-term commitments for significant revenues with most of our customers and may be unable to retain existing customers, attract new customers or replace departing customers with new customers that can provide comparable revenues and profits.

Because we generally do not obtain firm, long-term volume purchase commitments from our customers, most of our contracts and commitments from our customers are short-term and project-based. As long as most of our revenues continue to primarily be recognized on a project by project basis, we remain dependent upon securing new contracts in the future in order to sustain and grow our revenues. Accordingly, there is no assurance that our revenues and business will grow in the future. Our failure to maintain and expand our customer relationships could materially and adversely affect our business and results of operations.

 

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Because a significant portion of our revenue backlog consists of non-contractual orders that can be deferred, reduced or cancelled by the customers, and because the calculation of our backlog involves the use of estimates, our revenue backlog may not be fully recognized or may not result in profits.

A significant portion of our revenue backlog is comprised of master contracts, product contracts and orders that are subject to cancellation without penalty or are otherwise subject to delay, deferral or reduction from time to time. In addition, the determination of our backlog involves the use of estimates of the revenue that will be realized from certain customers we are serving under master contract relationships. Reductions in our backlog of sales could significantly reduce the revenue and profit we actually receive from orders included in our backlog. Because we often purchase inventory and equipment, and expend labor and other resources, on these orders, especially large orders, in advance of their delivery and completion, such delays or cancellations put us at risk of incurring expenses while the associated revenues may be deferred, reduced or even lost. In the event of a project cancellation, we may be reimbursed for certain costs but typically have no contractual right to the total amount of revenues reflected in our backlog. In addition, projects may remain in backlog for extended periods of time. All of these uncertainties are heightened in times of adverse economic conditions due to their impact on our customers’ spending. Consequently, we cannot assure you that our estimates of backlog are accurate or that we will be able to realize all of the revenues in our backlog. Accordingly, if a significant amount of orders are deferred, reduced or cancelled, then our financial condition and results of operations, including our revenues, gross margins, net income and cash flow, could be materially and adversely affected.

Our ability to grow our revenues and business and to operate profitably in the future is dependent, in part, upon on our ability to execute the contract awards we receive from our customers with operational efficiency and on a profitable basis, and the failure to do so could materially and adversely affect our business, financial results and prospects.

Our customer relationships are extremely important to us and to our success, and the contract awards we obtain from our customers are the key to our ability to grow on a profitable basis in the future. However, the key to our success is not only to win contract awards from our customers but to perform on the projects awarded at the highest level. We emphasize operational efficiency and profitability in all our business units, in order to execute on our projects in a manner that both increases value to our customers generating customer satisfaction and future business and results in sustainable improvements in our financial results and future prospects and a high reputation for quality. If we fail to execute on our contract awards and projects with operational efficiency and on a profitable basis, then our business, results of operations and future prospects could be materially and adversely affected.

The quality and performance of our products are, in part, dependent on the quality of their component parts that we obtain from various suppliers as well as the specific design and purpose for which the parts are incorporated into our systems, which makes us susceptible to performance issues that arise from time to time that could materially and adversely affect our business, our financial results and our reputation.

Our success depends, in large part, upon our ability to provide quality, reliable and productive products, services and solutions to our customers. From time to time, in the ordinary course of business, we encounter issues with component parts that affect the performance of our Distributed Generation systems, switchgear systems, Utility Infrastructure products, engines, generators, alternators, breakers, fuel systems, LED and other lighting products, electrical circuit boards, power drivers, photovoltaic energy systems, inverters, and other complex electrical products. While we strive to utilize high quality component parts from reputable suppliers, and to back-up their quality and performance with manufacturers’ warranties, even the best parts and components have performance issues from time to time, and these performance issues create significant financial and operating risks to our business, operations and financial results. Because we regularly develop new products and technical designs, we often incorporate component parts into these new products in configurations, for uses, and in environments, for which limited experience exists, and that exposes us to performance risks which may not be covered by warranties, or may invalidate warranties or performance certifications.

As we strive to bring solutions to customers with unique capabilities that provide performance and cost advantages, from time to time we use new suppliers and new products for applications where a track record of performance does not exist or is difficult to ascertain. For example, the quality and performance of our PowerBlock, which is our proprietary generator system used in many of our Distributed Generation projects, is dependent upon the quality the engines we acquire from the manufacturer. Similarly, the quality and performance of our LED lighting products is dependent upon the quality of their component parts, many of which we acquire from other manufacturers and suppliers. Likewise, the success of our solar projects is dependent upon the quality and performance of key component solar parts such as solar panels, which will be a significant factor in the success of our recent utility-scale solar project awards.

 

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From time to time we encounter situations in which the responsibility for the performance issues is unclear or is difficult to ascertain. Because of our strong focus on customer satisfaction, we often accept and pay the cost of repairs in excess of our contractual obligations. Additionally, the outcome of any performance disputes or warranty claims is inherently difficult to predict due to the uncertainty of technical solutions, cost, customer requirements, and the uncertainty inherent in litigation and disputes generally. As a result, there is no assurance we will not be adversely affected by these or other performance issues with key parts and components. Moreover, from time to time performance issues are not covered by manufacturer’s warranties, certain suppliers may not be financially able to fulfill their warranty obligations, and customers may also claim damages as a result of those performance issues. Also, the mere existence of performance issues, even if finally resolved with our suppliers and customers, can have an adverse effect on our reputation for quality, which could adversely affect our business.

We estimate that from time to time we have performance issues related to component parts which have a cost basis of approximately 5-10% of our estimated annual revenues, although not necessarily limited to this amount, which are installed in equipment we own and have sold to various customers across our business lines, and additional performance issues could arise in the future. In addition, the failure or inadequate performance of these components pose potential material and adverse effects on our business, operations, reputation and financial results, including reduced revenues for projects in process or future projects, reduced revenues for recurring revenue contracts which are dependent on the performance of the affected equipment, additional expenses and capital cost to repair or replace the affected equipment, inventory write-offs for defective components held in inventory, asset write-offs for company-owned systems which have been deployed, the cancellation or deferral of contracts by our customers, or claims made by our customers for damages as a result of performance issues.

We have experienced performance issues with two types of component parts, in particular, which we have made progress in correcting or mitigating, but which continue to represent operational and financial risks to our business. One issue involves a component we incorporated into a Distributed Generation system configuration installed in many of the systems deployed for our customers, which has been deemed to invalidate the generator manufacturer’s warranty and may cause other customer issues and costs. Another issue involves generators from a certain supplier that have had performance issues in a Distributed Generation system we own, and for which we have a performance-based recurring revenue contract that is dependent on the system’s successful operation. In both of these matters, we have been actively working to correct and resolve the performance issues and have made progress in mitigating their risk, but the risk is not eliminated.

Given that we continue to have risk related to these performance issues, and the inherent uncertainty in assessing and quantifying the costs and certainty regarding their resolution, we are unable to estimate the potential negative impacts from these two particular items, if any, in addition to other component part performance issues discussed above. In addition, we have not recorded any specific adjustment to our warranty reserve for these particular performance issues, other than our regular reserves for minor repairs, as the estimated cost, if any, of fulfilling our obligations for these matters within a possible range of outcomes is not determinable as of this date.

Many of our products and services, especially in the DG business, experience long and variable sales cycles, which could have a negative impact on our results of operations for any given quarter or year and on our ability to anticipate and plan for our future revenues.

Purchases of our products and services, especially in our DG business, are usually significant financial investments for our customers and are used by our customers to address important and complex business needs. Customers generally consider a wide range of issues and alternatives before making a decision to purchase our products and services. Before customers commit to purchase our products, they often require a significant technical review, assessment of competitive products and approval at a number of management levels within their organization. The sales cycle may vary based on the industry in which the potential customer operates. Moreover, as we strive for larger sales projects and awards, especially in the DG business, both the length and the variability of the sales cycle typically increases. The length and variability of the sales cycle makes it difficult to predict whether particular sales commitments will be received in any given quarter, especially for larger DG projects. During the time our customers are evaluating our products and services, we may incur substantial sales and marketing and research and development expenses to customize our products to the customers’ needs. We may also expend significant management efforts, increase manufacturing capacity, hire employees, purchase or lease equipment, order long-lead-time components or purchase significant amounts of inventory prior to receiving an order. Even

 

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after this evaluation process, a potential customer may not purchase our products. As a result, these long sales cycles may cause us to incur significant expenses without receiving revenue to offset those expenses, and as these sales cycles grow and become more variable, our results of operations and financial condition may be materially and adversely affected, especially in the short-term.

We face intense competition in the markets for our products, services and technology, and if we cannot successfully compete in those markets, our business could be materially and adversely affected.

The markets for our products, services and technology are intensely competitive and subject to rapidly changing technology, new competing products and services, frequent performance improvements and evolving industry standards. The markets for energy solutions are fragmented. We compete against both other third party providers of similar products and services, as well as our utility partners and customers sourcing those products and services on an in-house basis. We expect the intensity of competition to increase in the future because the growth potential and deregulatory environment of the energy market have attracted and are anticipated to continue to attract many new competitors, including new businesses as well as established businesses from different industries. As a result of increased competition, we may have to reduce the price of our products and services, and we may experience reduced gross margins and loss of market share, which could significantly reduce our future revenues and operating results.

Many of our existing competitors, as well as many potential new competitors, have longer operating histories, greater name recognition, larger customer bases and significantly greater financial, technical, marketing, manufacturing and other resources than we do. This may enable our competitors to respond more quickly to new or emerging technologies and changes in customer requirements or preferences and to devote greater resources to the development, promotion and sale of their products and services than we can. Our competitors may be able to undertake more extensive marketing campaigns, adopt more aggressive pricing policies and make more attractive offers to potential employees, customers, strategic partners and suppliers and vendors than we can. Our competitors may develop products and services that are equal or superior to the products and services offered by us or that achieve greater market acceptance than our products do. In addition, current and potential competitors have established or may establish cooperative relationships among themselves or with third parties to improve their ability to address the needs of our existing and prospective customers. As a result, it is possible that new competitors may emerge and rapidly acquire significant market share or impede our ability to acquire market share in new markets. We cannot assure you that we will have the financial resources, technical expertise, portfolio of products and services or marketing and support capabilities to compete successfully in the future. Our inability to compete successfully or to timely respond to market demands or changes could have a material adverse effect on our business, conditions and results of operations.

Because our future success depends, in part, upon the success of our recurring revenue project business model, if we do not receive substantially all of the benefits anticipated by those projects or if one or more of the risks associated with those projects materializes, then our financial condition and results of operations could be materially and adversely affected.

A growing amount of our revenues, cash flow and net income is generated by our recurring revenue projects, in which we install and own Distributed Generation systems and Utility Infrastructure and realize recurring revenues derived from regular fees paid by the customer to utilize these assets over a long-term contract, typically five to fifteen years. The revenues from these business arrangements include fixed fee contracts, variable fee contracts, utility or independent system operator program fees which may be fixed or variable, and fees which are dependent on the energy cost reductions realized by our customers. While to date recurring revenue projects have constituted only a modest portion of our revenue base, they are growing, and we expect and intend that they will represent a more significant portion of our revenues in the future. The success of these recurring revenue projects is dependent upon our ability to realize the revenues over the life of the contracts and on our ability to manage the costs of those projects. Accordingly, if we do not realize most of the revenues of these recurring revenue projects, or if the costs to operate or maintain these systems increase significantly, including the cost of fuel, or if one or more material risks related to these projects discussed below materializes, our business and operating results could be materially and adversely affected.

Under these recurring revenue projects, we derive recurring revenues from our customers. This recurring revenue stream enhances the size and dependability of our revenues, cash flow, gross margins and income over the long-term. However, the amount of anticipated recurring revenues and related gross margins and cash flows from these long-term projects are based on a number of assumptions and estimates, including those pertaining to customer

 

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demand, energy consumption, energy costs and savings, tariff structures, fuel cost, run time required to achieve the revenues, maintenance cost, our monitoring ability, the quality, reliability and availability of the associated equipment, our capital resources, and the initial and ongoing expenses of the projects. Changes in our estimates or assumptions causing us to fail to realize the benefits of these recurring revenue projects may result in the recurring revenues, gross margins on those revenues and cash flows we receive being substantially less than expected.

Moreover, these recurring revenue projects have certain risks associated with them, in addition to the risks associated with our traditional turn-key Distributed Generation sales, due to our continued ownership of the underlying equipment and the nature of the relationship we have with the customers under these projects. These risks of engaging in a recurring revenue project include the following:

 

    disputes arising with the customer about the project that ultimately results in either the customer requiring us, or in us determining, to remove the equipment from the customer’s site, which could result in a significant loss in revenues and cash flow until the equipment can be re-deployed in a new project or, if the equipment is not re-usable, a significant write-down of our assets;

 

    the financial and operational health of the customer and the risk that the customer’s electrical load is reduced, or the facility is abandoned or moved, which would reduce or eliminate the revenues expected from the arrangement and result in a portion of the cost of our system being unrecoverable;

 

    our inability to receive the intended benefits from the project due to changes associated with the Distributed Generation model, such as due to changes in tariff structures or customer requirements;

 

    our inability to receive recurring revenues from the project due to customer issues, such as deterioration in the customer’s ability to pay our ongoing fees or a dispute with the customer delaying, deferring or reducing the project fees payable to us, or the closure of the customer’s facility;

 

    the failure of the equipment to properly function and to perform and deliver the intended benefits, which could result in claims by the customer for damages to its equipment, lost revenues and profits or safety issues and in attempts by the customer to cancel the contract related to the project or to refuse or to delay making payments in amounts we believe are due to us under those contracts;

 

    new regulations, or changes in the interpretation of existing regulations, such as those pertaining to air emissions or those relating to the requirements and conditions for the ownership of power generation systems, that could render the project no longer economically viable, or technically obsolete, or legally impractical;

 

    the costs of operating and maintaining the systems increase significantly, including fuel costs, and maintenance expenses, as well as the run time required to earn the revenues;

 

    damages, payment delays and other issues due to issues with the performance of component parts;

 

    injuries to persons caused by problems or failures of equipment owned by us; and

 

    environmental matters, such as fuel spills, requiring costly and time-consuming remediation efforts and potentially subjecting us to fines and penalties related to environmental requirements and regulations.

Accordingly, we cannot provide any assurance that we will realize substantially all the benefits that we expect, or that our business will not face some of the risks, including the risks discussed above, related to these recurring revenue projects. If we do not receive substantially all of the expected benefits, or if we face one or more significant risks, related to these recurring revenue projects, our financial condition and results of operations could be materially and adversely affected.

Our ability to grow our revenues and business and to operate profitably in the future is dependent, in part, upon on our ability to generate increased revenues and profits in our Utility Infrastructure segment.

Our growth rate in prior years was fueled, in part, by the growth of our Utility Infrastructure revenues, especially revenues from transmission and distribution construction and maintenance, including substation construction and maintenance, advanced metering and lighting installations, and storm restoration. As a key part of our corporate growth strategy, our future growth will depend on our ability to expand the scope of our utility relationships, customers and geographic service areas that we serve. This business is highly competitive and cyclical, and the storm restoration services are highly volatile and unpredictable. We have a significant amount of fixed costs associated with these operations, including personnel, vehicles, and equipment, and a loss of revenue from these services would significantly impact our profitability. In addition, in order to grow our profitability, we

 

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will need to provide services with enhanced margins and to manage our costs and expenses, such as fuel costs which are volatile and subject to unanticipated and uncontrollable increases that adversely affect our profitability. Moreover, in order for our Utility Infrastructure operations to grow profitably, we will need to continue our focus on improving our contract pricing and personnel and asset efficiencies in our UtilityServices business. If our revenues fail to continue to grow, or if the margins associated with those revenues decline, then our business and financial results could be materially and adversely affected.

Our ability to generate future growth and profitability is dependent, in part, upon on our ability to capture a sufficient share of the anticipated growth in the LED lighting markets.

Our future growth depends, in part, upon the increased adoption and growth of the market for LED lighting products, and our ability to capture a growing profitable share of this market, as well as our ability to successfully manage our potential growth of customer demand for our LED-based products. Although the LED lighting market has grown rapidly in recent years, adoption of LED lighting is still relatively new and limited, and LED lighting faces significant challenges before it is adopted on a widespread basis. In order to manage our growth and business strategy effectively, we must:

 

    develop and market LED-based lighting products that are responsive to customer needs and that compete successfully in the marketplace;

 

    secure adequate manufacturing facilities and equipment to meet anticipated customer demand, including successfully sourcing from cost-effective manufacturers, many of whom are located in Asia and other countries;

 

    maintain a sufficient supply of raw materials to support our anticipated growth; and

 

    invest in research and development, engineering, sales and marketing, technical support, distribution capabilities and administrative functions and successfully manage product lifecycles.

In addition, our future profitability in this area is dependent upon our ability to manage our costs and expenses, and we have taken recent actions in this business area to restructure and streamline our operations and reduce our cost structure, including our cost of sales and overheads and enhance our manufacturing efficiencies, in large part as a result of our acquisition of Solais and its management. However, while we have been focused on restructuring our costs and expenses in the near-term, over the long-term we expect to make investments to support our growth, and we may also have additional unexpected costs given the dynamic nature of the market. Additionally, such investments may take time to become fully operational and productive, and we also may not be able to expand quickly enough to serve market opportunities as they develop. There are also inherent execution risks in addressing our costs, especially in our production arrangements with Asian manufacturers, which could increase costs and reduce our operating results, including design and cost overruns, poor production process yields and reduced quality control. It is possible that we may incur some or all of these costs in the future as we continue to shift production to other contract manufacturers. If we fail to continue to manufacture our products in a cost-effective manner, then our business and financial results could be materially and adversely affected. In addition, if we fail to capture, on a profitable basis, a growing portion of the anticipated expanding LED-based lighting market, and then to manage such growth in our business, then our business and financial results could be materially and adversely affected.

The adoption of, or changes in, government or industry policies, standards or regulations relating to the efficiency, performance or other aspects of LED lighting or changes in government or industry policies, standards or regulations that encourage or discourage the use of certain other lighting technologies, could impact the demand for our LED products.

The adoption of, or changes in, government or industry policies, standards or regulations relating to the efficiency, performance or other aspects of LED lighting may impact the demand for our products. For example, certain government policies may favor certain LED lighting technologies, or other lighting technologies, which may or may not be consistent with our core technologies and strengths. Demand for our LED lighting products may also be impacted by changes in government or industry policies, standards or regulations that encourage or discourage the use of other lighting technologies. Future legislative or regulatory activity could have a negative impact on demand for our LED lighting products and thus an adverse effect on us.

 

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With the growth and emergence of our solar energy business as a product line in our Distributed Generation segment, we face a variety of risks and uncertainties related to solar technologies and the industry generally, as well as to our solar business specifically, that could adversely affect our operating results if they materialize.

In June 2012, we acquired our distributed solar energy business, PowerSecure Solar, which is integrated into our Distributed Generation product platform. In June 2014, we obtained two utility-scale solar project awards. Accordingly, we have limited experience in the solar power business on which to base our prospects and anticipated results of operations, which are becoming an increasingly meaningful portion of our business and financial results. In this new solar energy business, we face a number of risks including the following:

 

    While the demand for solar installations is emerging and rapidly evolving, its future success is uncertain. If solar power technology proves unsuitable for widespread commercial deployment or if demand fails to develop sufficiently, we may not be able to generate enough revenues to achieve and sustain it as a profitable product line. The factors influencing the widespread adoption of solar power technology include cost-effectiveness, performance, and reliability; the availability of government subsidies and incentives; the desire of utilities and commercial, industrial, and institutional customers to invest in alternative “green” energy technology; fluctuations in economic and market conditions which impact the viability of conventional and non-solar alternative energy sources; and the willingness and ability of customers to make significant capital expenditures to purchase the products.

 

    The reduced growth in, or the reduction, elimination or expiration of government subsidies, tax and economic incentives, renewable energy targets and other support for solar energy, and an increase in adverse public policies, could reduce demand or price levels, or both, for our solar business, because we believe that the near-term growth of the solar market depends in large part on the availability and size of these subsidies, incentives, targets and other support for solar energy. To encourage the adoption of solar technologies, the U.S. government and numerous state and local governments have provided subsidies in the form of rebates, cost reductions, tax incentives and other incentives to end-users, distributors, systems integrators and manufacturers of solar power products. Many of these support programs expire, phase out over time, require renewal by the applicable authority, or may be amended. In particular, the step-down of the U.S. federal investment tax credit for solar installations from 30% to 10% scheduled for the end of 2016 poses significant uncertainties regarding U.S. solar market demand. Reduction, elimination and/or periodic interruption of these government subsidies and economic incentives may result in the diminished competitiveness of solar energy, thus materially and adversely affecting the demand and/or price levels for solar projects, leading to a reduction in solar sales and adversely impacting our financial results. Additionally, many state governments have adopted, or endorse, or encourage utilities to achieve, certain renewable portfolio standards and goals which have driven the adoption of solar and other alternative energy technologies. These renewable targets and goals are subject to change at any time, and are especially subject to political instability or policy changes. The reduction, elimination, or expiration of these targets, goals and standards could negatively impact demand for solar technology generally and our solar business specifically.

 

    The execution of our growth strategy is dependent upon the continued availability of third-party financing arrangements for our customers. Depending on the status of financial markets, companies may be unwilling or unable to finance the cost of construction of solar projects. We often act as the general contractor for our customers in connection with the installations of our solar power systems and are subject to risks associated with construction, bonding, cost overruns, delays and other contingencies, which could have a material adverse effect on our business and results of operations.

 

    Many of our customers require long-term performance guarantees by us that guarantee certain levels of energy output from the systems we install. Due to general risks inherent in the performance of solar systems, including unexpected performance problems, uncertain technology or other events that could cause us to fail to meet these performance criteria, we could face significant revenue and earnings losses and financial penalties.

 

    The market for electricity generation products is heavily influenced by federal, state, and local government regulations and policies concerning the electric utility industry, as well as policies promulgated by electric utilities. These regulations and policies have been modified in the past and may be modified again in the future. Any changes to existing regulations and policies, and any new regulations and policies, could cause a significant reduction in demand for solar projects or increase the costs of conducting a solar business. In addition, any regulatory compliance failure could result in significant management distraction, unplanned costs and/or reputational damage.

 

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Our success in developing and growing a profitable distributed solar energy business depends in large part on our ability to anticipate and effectively manage these and other risks and uncertainties, many of which are outside of our control. Any of these risks could materially and adversely affect our solar operations and our Distributed Generation product and service area, and consequently, our operating results.

Because our business depends, in part, on conditions in the oil and natural gas industry, such as oil and natural gas prices, continued volatility in oil and natural gas prices, tight credit markets and disruptions in the U.S. and global financial systems may adversely impact our business.

Prices for oil and natural gas historically have been extremely volatile and have reacted to changes in the supply of, and demand for, oil and natural gas. These include changes resulting from, among other things, the ability of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries to support oil prices, domestic and worldwide economic conditions and political instability in oil-producing countries. We depend in part on our customers’ willingness to make expenditures that are intended to reduce their energy costs. Therefore, weakness in oil and natural gas prices, or the perception by our customers that oil and natural gas prices are weak or will decrease in the future, could result in a reduction in purchases of our products and services. Our customers’ willingness to purchase our products and services, and the price of oil and natural gas, depends largely upon prevailing industry conditions that are influenced by numerous factors over which we have no control. In addition, weakness in the energy markets could impair the ability of our oil and natural gas customers to remain solvent and continue paying for the products we have delivered and the services we have performed, which could in turn impair the collectability of our accounts receivablefd. Accordingly, continued low levels or further reductions in energy prices could cause a decline in the demand for our products and services, adversely affect the prices that we can charge for our products and services or impact the collectability of our accounts receivable, which could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows.

If we were to lose the services of one or more of our executive officers and key business leaders, we might not be able to execute our business strategy successfully and our business and financial results could be materially and adversely affected.

Our future success depends in large part upon the continued service of our executive officers and our other key business leaders. In particular, we are dependent upon Sidney Hinton, our President and Chief Executive Officer, who is the visionary and leader of our company and who is critical to the overall management of our company as well as to the development of our business, our future growth and performance and our strategic direction. The loss of the services of any of our executive officers or other key business leaders, especially Mr. Hinton, could materially and adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.

If we are unable to continue to attract and retain key personnel, our business could be materially and adversely affected.

We believe our future success and performance depends, in large part, upon our ability to attract and retain highly qualified leaders for our business units and technical, managerial, sales, marketing, finance and operations personnel. Competition for qualified personnel is intense, and we cannot assure you that we will be able to attract and retain these key employees in the future, especially in improved economic conditions. The loss of the services of any of our key personnel could have a material adverse effect on our business. Although we have entered into employment agreements with our executive officers and the leaders of some of our business units, we generally do not have employment contracts with our other key employees. In addition, we do not have key person life insurance for most of our key personnel. We cannot assure you that we will be able to retain our current key personnel or that we will be able to attract and retain other highly qualified personnel in the future. We have from time to time in the past experienced, and we expect in the future to continue to experience, difficulty in hiring and retaining highly skilled employees with appropriate qualifications. If we are unable to attract and retain highly qualified personnel, our business could be materially and adversely affected.

Price increases in some of the key components in our products and systems could materially and adversely affect our operating results and cash flows.

The prices of some of the key components of our products and systems are subject to fluctuation due to market forces beyond our control. If we incur price increases from our suppliers for key components in our products and systems or from our contractors, we may not be able to pass all of those price increases on to our customers in the form of higher sales prices, which would adversely affect our operating results and cash flows.

 

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For example, a significant portion of our revenues in recent years have been generated from fixed price Distributed Generation projects, and increases in the prices of key components in those projects, such as engines, generators, emissions systems, fuel systems, diesel fuel, copper, aluminum and labor, would increase our operating costs and, accordingly, reduce our margins in those projects. Similarly, we use key components in our Energy Efficiency and Utility Infrastructure products and services that are subject to price fluctuations. Although we intend to adjust the pricing on future projects based upon long-term changes in the prices of our components, we generally cannot pass on short-term price increases on fixed priced projects, and we may not be able to pass on all long-term price increases. Such price increases could occur from time to time due to spot shortages of commodities or labor, longer-term shortages due to market forces beyond our control or exchange rate fluctuations.

An increase in our operating costs due to price increases from these components causing a reduction in our margins could materially and adversely affect our consolidated results of operations and cash flows.

We depend on sole source and limited source suppliers for some of the key components and materials in our products and systems, which dependence makes us susceptible to supply shortages or price increases that could materially and adversely affect our business.

We depend upon sole source and limited source suppliers for some of the key components and materials that we use in our products and systems. If we experience delays in receiving these components or parts, we will not be able to deliver our products and systems to our customers on a timely basis, which could defer revenues and income recognition, cause the cancellation or reduction of some projects and contracts or cause us to incur financial penalties. Also, we cannot guarantee that any of the parts or components that we purchase, if available at all, will be of adequate quality or that the prices we pay for these parts or components will not increase.

For example, we are dependent upon obtaining a timely and cost-effective supply of generators and engines for our generator systems for our Distributed Generation solutions, but from time to time these generators and engines may be in short supply, affecting the timing of our performance and cost of the generators. Also, we are dependent upon obtaining certain component parts for our LED lighting products, and the failure to obtain these on a timely and cost-effective business could affect our gross margins and our customer satisfaction. Similarly, we are dependent on obtaining solar panels for our solar projects, but these panels are from time to time in short supply affecting our ability to timely and profitably complete those projects. From time to time we may experience delays in production because the supply of one or more critical components is interrupted or reduced, or because of malfunctions or failures of key components, or we may experience significant increases in the cost of such components.

If any of those events occurs and we have failed to identify an alternative vendor, then we may be unable to meet our contractual obligations and customer expectations, which could damage our reputation and result in lost customers and sales, or we may incur higher than expected expenses, either of which could materially and adversely affect our business, operations and results of operations.

Our business is subject to the risk of changes in utility tariff structures, which changes could materially and adversely affect our business as well as our financial condition and results of operations.

Our business is dependent, in part, upon our ability to utilize our Distributed Generation systems to create favorable electricity costs for customers based on utility pricing structures and incentives. If utility tariffs change in some regions, then our business would become less viable in those regions. Moreover, even if such tariffs do not change, if we are unable to obtain the expected benefits from those tariffs, our revenues and income would be materially and adversely affected. Changes in utility tariffs or our inability to obtain the benefits of tariff structures could materially and adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations. In addition, many utility tariffs include penalties, which can be severe, in the event that our Distributed Generation systems do not operate properly when required. Incurring these penalties, particularly in cases where we have multiple Distributed Generation installations serving one utility system, could materially and adversely affect our business.

Our business is subject to the risk of changes in environmental requirements or their interpretations, which could materially and adversely affect our business as well as our financial condition and results of operations.

We primarily utilize diesel powered generators in our systems. Our newer generator systems are made to utilize a blend of natural gas and diesel, and can also be modified to utilize biodiesel, diesel continues to be the primary fuel utilized across our fleet of systems. If regulatory requirements or their interpretation unfavorably impact the utilization of diesel for generation, or require the diesel to have certain properties that impact the

 

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operation of our Distributed Generation systems or their cost, then our business could be materially and adversely affected. While, in such case, we would utilize our best efforts to find alternative power sources, or modify the units to qualify under the requirements, there is no assurance those alternatives would be economically acceptable. Thus, unfavorable changes to such regulatory environmental requirements could materially and adversely affect our business as well as our financial condition and results of operations.

In some of our project-based Distributed Generation system sales, the contracts with our customers have long-term performance requirements that subject us to risks.

In some of our project-based Distributed Generation system sales, the contracts with our customers impose long-term performance requirements on us, and these projects subject us to risks due to our obligations under those contracts. For example, in some cases, we are responsible for the full maintenance on the generators, switchgear, solar panels, or inverters during the term of the contract, but the reserves we have set aside may not be sufficient to cover our maintenance obligations, and the maintenance packages that we purchase to cover the maintenance on the generators may not be adequate. In addition, changes in circumstances that were not contemplated at the time of the contract could expose us to unanticipated risks or to protracted or costly dispute resolution.

Utility companies or governmental entities could place barriers to our entry into the marketplace that could adversely affect our business.

Utility companies or governmental entities could place barriers on the installation of our products or the interconnection of our Distributed Generation systems with the electric grid. Further, they could charge additional fees to our customers for installing Distributed Generation. These types of restrictions, fees or charges could impair our ability to sell our Distributed Generation systems, or the ability of our customers to effectively use our systems, or they could increase the costs of operating our systems. This could make our Distributed Generation systems less desirable, which could materially and adversely affect our business, financial condition and operating results.

Because our business depends, in part, on conditions in the oil and natural gas industry, such as oil and natural gas prices, continued volatility in oil and natural gas prices, tight credit markets and disruptions in the U.S. and global financial systems may adversely impact our business.

Prices for oil and natural gas historically have been extremely volatile and have reacted to changes in the supply of, and demand for, oil and natural gas. These include changes resulting from, among other things, the ability of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries to support oil prices, domestic and worldwide economic conditions and political instability in oil-producing countries. We depend in part on our customers’ willingness to make expenditures that are intended to reduce their energy costs. Therefore, weakness in oil and natural gas prices, or the perception by our customers that oil and natural gas prices are weak or will decrease in the future, could result in a reduction in purchases of our products and services. Our customers’ willingness to purchase our products and services, and the price of oil and natural gas, depends largely upon prevailing industry conditions that are influenced by numerous factors over which we have no control. In addition, weakness in the energy markets could impair the ability of our oil and natural gas customers to remain solvent and continue paying for the products we have delivered and the services we have performed, which could in turn impair the collectability of our accounts receivable. Accordingly, continued low levels or further reductions in energy prices could cause a decline in the demand for our products and services, adversely affect the prices that we can charge for our products and services or impact the collectability of our accounts receivable, which could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations and cash flow.

We could become subject to burdensome government regulation that affects our ability to offer our products and services or that affects demand for our products and services.

Our business operations are subject to varying degrees of federal, state, local and foreign laws and regulations. For example, our products, services and technologies are subject to regulations relating to emissions, building codes, public safety, electrical connections, security protocols, and local and state licensing requirements. The regulations to which we are subject may change, additional regulations may be imposed, or existing regulations may be applied in a manner that creates special requirements for the implementation and operation of our products or services that may significantly impact or even eliminate some of our revenues or markets. In addition, we may incur material costs or liabilities in complying with any such regulations. For example, our company-owned recurring revenue projects could be materially and adversely affected by new laws or regulations, or new interpretations of existing laws and regulations, that would ban the ownership of power generation by a third party, such as us. Furthermore, some of our customers must comply with numerous laws and regulations, which may affect their willingness and ability to purchase our products, services and technologies.

 

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In addition, while the electric power markets in which we operate are regulated, most of our business is not directly subject to the regulatory framework applicable to the generation and transmission of electricity. However, we could become directly subject to such regulation to the extent we are deemed to own, operate or control generation used to make wholesale sales of power or provide ancillary services such as exporting power to the electric power grid as a short-term reserve resource.

The modification of existing laws and regulations or interpretations thereof or the adoption of future laws and regulations could adversely affect our business, cause us to modify or alter our methods of operations and increase our costs and the price of our products, services and technology. In addition, we cannot provide any assurance that we will be able, for financial or other reasons, to comply with all applicable laws and regulations. If we fail to comply with these laws and regulations, we could become subject to substantial penalties or restrictions that could materially and adversely affect our business.

Because many of our businesses and our product and services offerings have limited histories and their business strategies are evolving, their markets may be limited and concentrated, and limited information is available to evaluate their future prospects.

Our business strategy includes the development and expansion of new businesses and product lines from time to time. Examples of recent new product offerings and those in development include, but are not limited to, our solar products, our LED lighting products, our micro-grid products and our PowerBlock generator technologies. Our plans and strategies with respect to these new businesses and product offerings are often based on limited histories and market information and are continually being modified as we seek to maximize their potential. In addition, our new businesses generally have a limited number of customers, and our future success depends in large part upon our ability to expand our customer base and to enhance and develop our products and services in these new businesses so that they will generate significant revenues, profits and cash flow.

As a company developing new businesses in the rapidly evolving energy and technology markets, we face numerous risks and uncertainties that are described in this item as well as other parts of this report. Some of these risks relate to our ability to:

 

    anticipate, adapt and influence the changing regulatory climate for energy and technology products, services and technology;

 

    provide new products and services at price points that deliver economic benefits to our customers and to us;

 

    expand our customer base in our new businesses;

 

    anticipate and adapt to the changing energy markets and customer preferences;

 

    attract, retain and motivate qualified personnel and leaders for these new businesses;

 

    respond to actions taken by our competitors;

 

    integrate acquired businesses, technologies, products and services;

 

    generate revenues, gross margins, cash flow and profits from sales of new products and services; and

 

    implement effective sales and marketing strategies to increase the demand for our new businesses, products and services.

Our business and financial results in the future will depend heavily on the market acceptance and profitability of our new businesses and these new product and service offerings. If we are unsuccessful in addressing these risks or in executing our business strategies, or if our business model fails or is invalid, then our business could be materially and adversely affected.

 

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Changes in our product mix affect our margins, which can materially and adversely affect our operating results.

The margins on our revenues from some of our product and service offerings are higher than the margins on other product and service offerings. For example, our non-solar Distributed Generation projects generally yield gross profit margins higher than our solar Distributed Generation projects, and we generally derive higher gross profit margins from our Energy Efficiency revenues than from our Utility Infrastructure revenues. The gross profit margins we realize largely correlates to the amount of value-added products and services we deliver, with highly engineered, turn-key projects realizing higher gross profit margins due to the benefits they deliver our customers and the value we deliver because we are vertically integrated. Because of these gross profit margin differences, changes in the mix of our product lines can adversely affect our consolidated gross profit margin results. Additionally, our margins fluctuate from project to project, depending on the project’s scope, technical specifications and materials and labor costs, among other factors. Our margins can also fluctuate based upon competition, alternative products and services, operating costs, tariff systems and contractual factors. In addition, we cannot currently accurately estimate the margins of some of our new and developing products and services due to their limited operating history. Our new products and services may have lower margins than our current products and services. If in the future we derive a proportionately greater percentage of our revenues from lower margin products and services, then our overall margins on our total revenues will decrease, and, accordingly, we will record lower profits and receive less cash flow on the same amount of revenues.

In addition to the proceedings and litigation related to the class action lawsuit, we are subject to other lawsuits, claims and other proceedings from time to time, and in the future we could become subject to new lawsuits, claims and other proceedings, and if any of those proceedings become material and are successfully prosecuted against us, our business, financial condition and results of operations could be materially and adversely affected.

In addition to the class action lawsuit filed against us in 2014 and related proceedings described elsewhere in this report, from time to time, we are involved in a variety of claims, lawsuits, investigations, actions and other legal proceedings arising in the ordinary course of our business, including actions with respect to labor and employment, non-competition agreements, taxes, breach of contract, warranty claims, accidents, injuries, property damage and other matters. For example, from time to time, we are involved in disputes relating to the scope of our services, or services that we receive from our vendors, and charges or fees relating to those services. These disputes have historically been limited in number and dollar amount and, in the opinion of management, based upon current information, no currently pending or overtly threatened claim is expected to have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition or results of operations. However, our historical experience is not necessarily indicative of the number or dollar amount of future disputes or claims, and the ultimate outcome of these types of matters cannot be accurately predicted due to the inherent uncertainty of litigation. We have vigorously defended all claims against us in the past, and intend to continue to do so in the future. However, even if we are successful on the merits, any pending or future lawsuits, claims or other legal proceedings could be time-consuming and expensive to defend or settle and could result in the diversion of significant management time and operational resources, which could materially and adversely affect us. In addition, it is possible that an unfavorable resolution of one or more such disputes, claims or proceedings could in the future materially and adversely affect our financial condition, results of operations or cash flows.

We provide product warranties, which could adversely affect our operating results.

We generally provide a standard one year warranty for our distributed generation, switchgear and utility infrastructure equipment and a five to ten year warranty for our LED lighting-based products. In certain cases, we offer extended warranty terms for those product lines. We reserve for the estimated cost of product warranties when revenue is recognized, and we evaluate our warranty reserves periodically by reviewing our warranty repair experience. While we engage in product quality programs and processes, including monitoring and evaluating the quality of our components sourced from our suppliers and instituting methods to remotely detect and correct failures, our warranty obligation is affected by actual product failure rates, parts and equipment costs and service labor costs incurred in correcting a product failure. Our warranty reserves may be inadequate due to undetected product defects, unanticipated component failures, or changes in estimates for material, labor and other costs we may incur to replace projected product failures. As a result, if actual product failure rates, parts and equipment costs or service labor costs exceed our estimates, our operating results could be adversely impacted.

In addition, we provide longer warranties for our PowerSecure Solar products and services. Since the solar energy systems we purchase and sell, and their associated components, including solar panels, cannot be tested for the duration of their standard multi-year warranty period, we may be subject to unexpected warranty expense and product liability claims that our vendors do not cover. Additionally, the solar panel manufacturing industry has experienced significant financial upheaval and inconsistent results in recent years, driven largely by decreasing panel prices, and this has weakened the financial health of many of the panel manufacturers which can affect their ability to honor their warranty obligations. The current standard product warranty for the solar energy systems we sell includes a warranty period of generally one to five years for defects in material and workmanship, a warranty

 

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period that can extend to ten years for panel and inverter workmanship, and a warranty period which can extend 20 to 25 years on the functionality of solar panels which is generally backed by the panel manufacturer. Due to the long warranty period and even though we pass through manufacturers’ warranties from the manufacturer, we may bear the risk of extensive warranty claims long after we have shipped product and recognized revenue. Any warranty claims that the manufacturer does not cover could cause us to increase the amount of warranty reserves and have a corresponding negative impact on our results.

Consolidation in our customer base and utility relationships can create risks that could adversely affect our business.

From time to time industry consolidation can occur and impact our customers and potential customers, as well as our utility relationships and potential utility relationships. Industry consolidation has the potential to impact virtually every area of our business. In each of our businesses, industry consolidation has the potential to create both positive and negative effects on our business. The risks created by industry consolidation include, but are not limited to, instances where our customers or utility company relationships are acquired by other customers or utilities who:

 

    have vendors other than us from which they prefer to source our products and services;

 

    seek to reduce the prices they pay for our products and services;

 

    have not adopted our methodologies and technology;

 

    impact organizational structures and personnel such that our relationships are negatively affected; or

 

    in the case of utilities, cause changes in tariff structures that are unfavorable to our business.

If we are unable to continue to develop new and enhanced products and services that achieve market acceptance in a timely manner, our competitive position and operating results could be harmed.

Our future success will depend on our ability to continue to develop new and enhanced products and services that achieve market acceptance in a timely and cost-effective manner. The markets in which our businesses operate are characterized by frequent introductions of new and enhanced products and services, evolving industry standards and regulatory requirements, government incentives and changes in customer needs. The successful development and market acceptance of our products and services depends on a number of factors, including:

 

    the changing requirements and preferences of the potential customers in our markets;

 

    the accurate prediction of market requirements, including regulatory issues;

 

    the timely completion and introduction of new products and services to avoid obsolescence;

 

    the quality, price and performance of new products and services;

 

    the availability, quality, price and performance of competing products, services and technologies;

 

    our customer service and support capabilities and responsiveness;

 

    the successful development of our relationships with existing and potential customers; and

 

    changes in industry standards.

We may experience financial or technical difficulties or limitations that could prevent us from introducing new or enhanced products or services. Furthermore, any of these new or enhanced products and services could contain problems that are discovered after they are introduced. We may need to significantly modify the design of these products and services to correct problems. Rapidly changing industry standards and customer preferences and requirements may impede market acceptance of our products and services. Our business could be materially and adversely affected if we experience difficulties in introducing new or enhanced services and products or if these products and services are not received favorably by our customers.

Development and enhancement of our products and services will require significant additional expenses and could strain our management, financial and operational resources. The lack of market acceptance of our products or services or our inability to generate sufficient revenues from this development or enhancements to offset their costs could have a material adverse effect on our business. In addition, we may experience delays or other problems in releasing new products and services and enhancements, and any such delays or problems may cause customers to forego purchases of our products and services and to purchase those of our competitors.

 

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We cannot provide assurance that products and services that we have recently developed or that we develop in the future will achieve market acceptance. If our new products and services fail to achieve market acceptance, or if we fail to develop new or enhanced products and services that achieve market acceptance, our growth prospects, operating results and competitive position could be adversely affected.

Rapid technological changes may prevent us from remaining current with our technological resources and maintaining competitive product and service offerings.

The markets in which our businesses operate are characterized by rapid technological change. Significant technological changes could render our existing and planned new products, services and technology obsolete. Our future success will depend, in large part, upon our ability to:

 

    effectively use and develop leading technologies;

 

    continue to develop our technical expertise;

 

    enhance our current products and services with new, improved and competitive technology; and

 

    respond to technological changes in a cost-effective manner.

If we are unable to successfully respond to technological change or if we do not respond to it in a cost-effective manner, then our business will be materially and adversely affected. We cannot assure you that we will be successful in responding to changing technology. In addition, technologies developed by others may render our products, services and technology uncompetitive or obsolete. Even if we do successfully respond to technological advances, the integration of new technology may require substantial time and expense, and we cannot assure you that we will succeed in adapting our products, services and technology in a timely and cost-effective manner.

Failures in the integrity of our current financial systems and processes, and future system or process upgrades or changes, could materially affect our business performance and our ability to accurately and timely report our financial results.

Our ability to generate accurate and timely financial information for management reporting and public reporting purposes is dependent on the integrity and stability of our current financial systems and processes, and future changes and upgrades to these systems and processes. Disruptions in our systems integrity could lead to operational issues and inefficiencies in our business which could be material. Our growth requires that we upgrade our financial systems and processes from time to time, and we expect financial system upgrades will improve our financial operations when complete, but transitional issues could occur during the upgrade process which could adversely impact our performance as well as the integrity or timing of our financial results.

If we fail to effectively manage our operations as we grow, our ability to sell our products and services and to provide quality customer service may be adversely affected.

In past years we have experienced, and in future years we expect to achieve, substantial growth in our business and revenues, resulting from both organic growth and acquisitions. As a result, the scope of our operations have expanded into new lines of business and new geographic areas, and the number of our employees has increased significantly to support that growth, and we expect that growth and expansion to continue. This growth could place a significant strain on our management and operational resources, including our ability to timely and cost-effectively satisfy our customers’ requirements and our ability to execute our business plan. Accordingly, we must plan and manage our resources effectively in order to continue to offer quality and successful products and services, to carry out our business plan and to achieve profitability in the midst of such growth. For example, we must continue to implement and continue to improve our managerial, operational, financial and reporting systems, our internal controls and our procedures and compliance programs, and we need to continue to recruit and train additional qualified personnel. These measures will require significant expenditures and demand the attention of management. Our limited resources could limit our ability to manage that growth. If we are not able to effectively manage our long-term growth in the future, our business and operations could be materially and adversely affected.

 

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Our business may be subject to additional obligations to collect and remit sales, use or other taxes, and any successful action by state, foreign or other authorities to collect additional sales, use or other taxes could adversely harm our business.

We file sales or use tax returns in certain states as required by law. We do not collect sales or other similar taxes in other states and many of the states do not apply sales or similar taxes to the services that we provide. However, one or more states could seek to impose additional sales or use tax collection and record-keeping obligations on us. Any successful action by state, foreign or other authorities to compel us to collect and remit sales or use taxes, either retroactively, prospectively or both, could adversely affect our results of operations and business.

Our results of operations could be adversely affected if our goodwill or other intangible assets become impaired.

When we acquire a business, we record an asset called “goodwill” equal to the excess amount we pay for the business, including liabilities assumed, over the fair value of the tangible and intangible assets of the business we acquire. In accordance with GAAP, we must identify and value intangible assets that we acquire in business combinations, such as customer arrangements, customer relationships and non-compete agreements, that arise from contractual or other legal rights or that are capable of being separated or divided from the acquired entity and sold, transferred, licensed, rented or exchanged.

GAAP provides that goodwill and other intangible assets that have indefinite useful lives not be amortized, but instead must be tested at least annually for impairment, while intangible assets that have finite useful lives are amortized over their useful lives. Management is required to make certain estimates and assumptions when allocating goodwill to reporting units and determining the fair value of a reporting unit’s net assets and liabilities, including, among other things, an assessment of market conditions, projected cash flows, investment rates, cost of capital and growth rates, which could significantly impact the reported value of goodwill and other intangible assets. Absent any impairment indicators, we perform our impairment tests annually as of October 1. We review our intangible assets with finite lives for impairment when events or changes in business conditions indicate the carrying value of the assets may not be recoverable.

We cannot predict the occurrence of certain future events that might adversely affect the reported value of goodwill and other intangible assets that totaled $53.9 million at December 31, 2014. A material decline in our market capitalization or change in discount rates or industry growth rates could result in an impairment of our goodwill. The recognition of a significant charge to earnings in our consolidated financial statements resulting from any impairment of our goodwill or other intangible assets could adversely impact our results of operations.

We could be adversely affected by our failure to comply with the laws applicable to our foreign activities, including the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and other similar worldwide anti-bribery laws.

The U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, or FCPA, and similar anti-bribery laws in other jurisdictions prohibit U.S.-based companies and their intermediaries from making improper payments to non-U.S. officials for the purpose of obtaining or retaining business. We may pursue opportunities in certain parts of the world that experience government corruption, and in certain circumstances, compliance with anti-bribery laws may conflict with local customs and practices. Our policies mandate compliance with all applicable anti-bribery laws. Further, we require our partners, subcontractors, agents and others who work for us or on our behalf to comply with the FCPA and other anti-bribery laws. Although we have policies and procedures, and have conducted training, designed to ensure that we, our employees, our agents and others who work with us in foreign countries comply with the FCPA and other anti-bribery laws, there is no assurance that such policies, procedures or training will protect us against liability under the FCPA or other laws for actions taken by our agents, employees and intermediaries. If we are found to be liable for FCPA violations (either due to our own acts or inadvertence, or due to the acts or inadvertence of others), we could suffer from severe criminal or civil penalties or other sanctions, which could have a material adverse effect on our reputation, business, results of operations or cash flows. In addition, detecting, investigating and resolving actual or alleged FCPA violations is expensive and could consume significant time and attention of our senior management.

 

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If our information technology systems fail to adequately gather and protect required data or are compromised or fail to operate, or if we experience an interruption in the operation of our information technology systems, our business, financial condition and results of operations could be adversely affected.

The efficient operation of our business is dependent on our information technology systems. For example, we rely on our information technology systems to effectively control Distributed Generation equipment on our customers’ sites and gather and assess data used in our operations. The failure of our information technology systems to perform as we anticipate could disrupt our business and make us unable, or severely limit our ability, to serve our customers. In addition, our information technology systems are vulnerable to damage or interruption from:

 

    earthquakes, fires, floods and other natural disasters;

 

    terrorist attacks and attacks by computer viruses or hackers;

 

    power losses; and

 

    computer systems, Internet, telecommunications or data network failures.

Any interruption in the operation of our information technology systems could result in decreased revenues, loss of customer confidence in our products, services, technology or systems and lawsuits and could subject us to penalties. Although no such failures or interruptions have occurred to date, any such occurrence could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

Security breaches and other disruptions could compromise our information and expose us to liability, which would cause our business and reputation to suffer.

In the ordinary course of our business, we collect and store sensitive data, including intellectual property, our proprietary business information and that of our customers, suppliers and business partners, and personally identifiable information of our customers and employees, in our data centers and on our networks. The secure processing, maintenance and transmission of this information is critical to our operations and business strategy. Despite our security measures, our information technology and infrastructure may be vulnerable to attacks by hackers or breached due to employee error, malfeasance or other disruptions, which could compromise our networks and the information stored there could be accessed, publicly disclosed, lost or stolen. Although we have not suffered any such breach, access or other loss of information to date, any such occurrence could result in legal claims or proceedings, liability under laws that protect the privacy of personal information, disrupt our operations and the services we provide to customers, damage our reputation and cause a loss of confidence in our products and services, which could adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.

We may be unable to acquire other businesses, technologies or companies or engage in other strategic transactions, or to successfully realize the benefits of any such strategic transactions.

In addition to organic growth, we have grown in the past and expect to grow in the future by acquiring complimentary products, services, technologies and businesses and entering into other strategic transactions that have enabled us to increase our product and service offerings, enhance our technology and capabilities, expand our markets and add experienced management. For example, in recent years we made acquisitions of new businesses and technologies such as PowerSecure Solar, Solais, Encari, our Energy Efficiency Services businesses, and we have made acquisitions designed to expand our existing products and services into new markets such as our Distributed Generation data center markets and of our retail Energy Services Solutions business.

As part of our growth strategy, we expect to continue to evaluate and consider potential strategic transactions, including business combinations, acquisitions and strategic alliances, to enhance our existing businesses and to develop new products, services. At any given time we may be engaged in discussions or negotiations with respect to one or more of these types of transactions, and any of these transactions could be material to our financial condition and results of operations. However, we do not know if we will be able to identify any future opportunities that we believe will be beneficial for us. Even if we are able to identify an appropriate business opportunity, we may not be able to successfully consummate the transaction, and even if we do consummate such a transaction we may be unable to obtain the benefits or avoid the difficulties and risks of such transaction.

 

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Any future acquisition involves risks commonly encountered in business relationships, including:

 

    the difficulties in assimilating and integrating the operations, personnel, systems, technologies, finance and accounting functions, and products and services of the acquired business;

 

    the technologies, products or businesses that we acquire may not achieve expected levels of revenue, profitability, benefits or productivity;

 

    we may not be able to achieve the expected synergies from an acquisition, or it may take longer than expected to achieve those synergies;

 

    unexpected costs and liabilities and unknown risks associated with the acquisition;

 

    the difficulties and inefficiencies in managing and operating businesses in multiple locations or businesses in which we have limited or no direct experience;

 

    the difficulties in retaining, training, motivating and integrating key personnel;

 

    the diversion of management’s time and resources away from our daily operations;

 

    the difficulties in successfully incorporating licensed or acquired technology and rights into our product and service offerings;

 

    the difficulties in maintaining uniform standards, controls, procedures and policies within the combined organizations;

 

    the difficulties in managing, maintaining and enhancing relationships with customers and suppliers of the acquired business;

 

    the risks of entering markets in which we have no or limited direct prior experience;

 

    the difficulties in integrating accounting and financial reporting systems;

 

    potential disruptions to our ongoing businesses;

 

    the potential need for restructuring operations or reductions in workforce, which may result in substantial charges to our operations;

 

    difficulties in implementing controls, procedures and policies, including disclosure controls and procedures and internal controls over financial reporting, appropriate for a larger public company at companies that, prior to their acquisition, lacked such controls, procedures and policies, which may result in ineffective disclosure controls and procedures or material weaknesses in internal controls over financial reporting;

 

    incurring future impairment charges related to diminished fair value of businesses acquired as compared to the price we paid for them; and

 

    issuing potentially dilutive equity securities, or incurring debt or continuing liabilities, which could harm our financial condition.

We cannot assure you that we will make any additional acquisitions or that any future acquisitions will be successful, will assist us in the accomplishment of our business strategy, or will generate sufficient revenues to offset the associated costs and other adverse effects or will otherwise result in us receiving the intended benefits of the acquisition. In addition, we cannot assure you that any future acquisition of new businesses or technology will lead to the successful development of new or enhanced products and services, or that any new or enhanced products and services, if developed, will achieve market acceptance or prove to be profitable.

If we fail to adequately protect our intellectual property rights, we could lose important proprietary technology, which could materially and adversely affect our business.

Our success and ability to compete depends, in substantial part, upon our ability to develop and protect our proprietary technology and intellectual property rights to distinguish our products, services and technology from those of our competitors. The unauthorized use of our intellectual property rights and proprietary technology by others could materially harm our business. We rely primarily on a combination of copyright, trademark and trade secret laws, along with non-competition and confidentiality agreements, contractual provisions and licensing arrangements, to establish and protect our intellectual property rights. Although we hold several patents, trademarks, and unregistered copyrights in our business, and we have applied for an additional patent and the registration of a number of new trademarks and service marks and intend to continue to introduce new trademarks and service marks, we believe that the success of

 

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our business depends more upon our proprietary technology, information, processes and know-how than on patents or trademark registrations. In addition, much of our proprietary information and technology may not be patentable. Also, we may not be successful in obtaining any future patents or in registering new marks.

Despite our efforts to protect our intellectual property rights, existing laws afford only limited protection, and our actions may be inadequate to protect our rights or to prevent others from claiming violations of their proprietary rights. Unauthorized third parties may attempt to copy, reverse engineer or otherwise obtain, use or exploit aspects of our products and services, develop similar technology independently, or otherwise obtain and use information that we regard as proprietary. We cannot assure you that our competitors will not independently develop technology similar or superior to our technology or design around our intellectual property. In addition, the laws of some foreign countries may not protect our proprietary rights as fully or in the same manner as the laws of the United States.

We may need to resort to litigation to enforce our intellectual property rights, to protect our trade secrets, and to determine the validity and scope of other companies’ proprietary rights in the future. However, litigation could result in significant costs and in the diversion of management and financial resources. We cannot assure you that any such litigation will be successful or that we will prevail over counterclaims against us. Our failure to protect any of our important intellectual property rights or any litigation that we resort to in order to enforce those rights could materially and adversely affect our business.

If we face claims of intellectual property infringement by third parties, we could encounter expensive litigation, be liable for significant damages or incur restrictions on our ability to sell our products and services.

Although we are not aware of any present infringement of our products, services or technology on the intellectual property rights of others, we cannot be certain that our products, services and technologies do not or in the future will not infringe on the valid intellectual property rights held by third parties. In addition, we cannot assure you that third parties will not claim that we have infringed their intellectual property rights.

In recent years, there has been a significant amount of litigation in the United States involving patents and other intellectual property rights. In the future, we may be a party to litigation as a result of an alleged infringement of others’ intellectual property. Successful infringement claims against us could result in substantial monetary liability, require us to enter into royalty or licensing arrangements, or otherwise materially disrupt the conduct of our business. In addition, even if we prevail on these claims, this litigation could be time-consuming and expensive to defend or settle, and could result in the diversion of our time and attention and of operational resources, which could materially and adversely affect our business. Any potential intellectual property litigation also could force us to do one or more of the following:

 

    stop selling, incorporating or using our products and services that use the infringed intellectual property;

 

    obtain from the owner of the infringed intellectual property right a license to sell or use the relevant technology, which license may not be available on commercially reasonable terms, or at all; or

 

    redesign the products and services that use the technology.

If we are forced to take any of these actions, our business may be seriously harmed. Although we carry general liability insurance, our insurance may not cover potential claims of this type or may not be adequate to indemnify us for all liability that may be imposed.

Our use of percentage-of-completion accounting could result in a reduction or elimination of previously reported revenue and profits.

A significant portion of our revenues is recognized using the percentage-of-completion method of accounting. In applying the percentage-of-completion method to our Distributed Generation turn-key projects, including our traditional Distributed Generation projects and our solar projects, we have identified the key output project phases that are standard components of these projects. We have further identified, based on past experience, an estimate of the value of each of these output phases based on a combination of costs incurred and the value added to the overall construction project. While the order of these phases varies depending on the project, each of these output phases is necessary to complete each project and each phase is an integral part of the turn-key product solution we deliver to our customers. We use these output phases and percentages to measure our progress toward completion of our projects. For each reporting period, the status of each project, by phase, is determined by employees who are managers of or are otherwise directly involved with the construction project and is reviewed by our accounting personnel. Utilizing this information, we recognize project revenues and associated project costs and gross profit based on the percentage associated with output phases that are complete or in process on each of our projects.

 

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In applying the percentage-of-completion method to our Utility Infrastructure turn-key projects, our recently acquired Mission Critical Energy Services business projects and our Energy Efficiency Services projects, revenues and gross profit are recognized as work is performed based on the relationship between actual costs incurred and total estimated costs at completion.

In all cases where we utilize the percentage-of-completion, revenues and gross profit are adjusted prospectively for revisions in estimated total contract costs and contract values. Estimated losses, if any, are recorded when identified. While a project is in process, amounts billed to customers in excess of revenues recognized to date are classified as current liabilities. Likewise, amounts recognized as revenue in excess of actual billings to date are recorded as unbilled accounts receivable. In the event adjustments are made to the contract price, including, for example, adjustments for additional wire or other raw materials, we adjust the purchase price and related costs for these items when they are identified.

Because the percentage-of-completion method of accounting relies upon estimates described above, recognized revenues and profits are subject to revision as a project progresses to completion. Revisions in profit estimates are charged to income in the period in which the facts that give rise to the revision become known. In the event we were required to adjust any particular project’s estimated revenues or costs, the effect on the current period earnings may or may not be significant. If, however, conditions arise that require us to adjust our estimated revenues or costs for a series of similar projects, the effect on current period earnings would more likely be significant. In addition, certain contracts provide for cancellation provisions prior to completion of a project. Such cancellation provisions generally require the customer to pay or reimburse us for costs we incurred on the project, but may result in an adjustment to profit already recognized in a prior period.

Our operating results can be negatively affected by weather conditions.

We perform a substantial amount of our services in the outdoors. As a result, adverse weather conditions, such as rainfall, snow or storms, may affect our productivity in performing, or may delay our performance of, those services. The effect of weather delays in projects that are under fixed price arrangements may be greater if we are unable to adjust the project schedule for such delays. While difficult weather conditions can provide opportunities for us to serve utilities with storm restoration activities, a reduction in our productivity or delays in our performance of our services may adversely affect our business and financial results.

We face exposure to significantly higher tax liabilities in the future as a result of our recent utilization of existing net operating loss carryforwards, which could adversely affect our cash flows and net income.

In recent years, we have exhausted a significant portion of our available net operating loss carryforwards, or NOLs, as a result of taxable income for U.S. federal income tax purposes. As of December 31, 2014, our available federal NOLs were approximately $34.1 million expiring over the next 20 years. When our aggregate net income, for federal income tax purposes, exceeds the amount of our available NOLs, we incur a current liability for federal income taxes, which adversely affects our net income, cash flow and available cash resources compared to previous periods.

In addition, our ability to utilize these NOLs is subject to significant conditions and restrictions. If we fail to meet these conditions and restrictions, we may be unable to fully utilize some or all of these NOLs. For example, the use of our NOLs is limited under the alternative minimum tax provisions of the U.S. federal income tax code, as a result of which we have recorded and paid U.S. federal income taxes in the past and expect to do so in the future. Other limitations imposed on our ability to use NOLs to offset future taxable income could cause us to pay U.S. federal income taxes earlier than we otherwise would if such limitations were not in effect, adversely affecting our future net income and cash flow. For example, a corporation that undergoes an “ownership change” for U.S. federal income tax purposes is subject to limitations on its ability to utilize its NOLs to offset future taxable income. A corporation generally undergoes an ownership change when the ownership of its stock, by value, changes by more than 50 percentage points over any three year period. Similar rules and limitations may apply for state income tax purposes as well.

As a result, as we earn net taxable income, our ability to use our NOL carryforwards to offset federal taxable income may become exhausted or subject to limitations, which could potentially result in increased future tax liability and an adverse impact on our cash flows.

 

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We expect our overall effective tax rate in the future will be higher than in recent years and will adversely affect our net income.

The income tax expense or benefit we record is the result of applying our annual effective tax rate by our net income or loss. Our effective tax rate and our income tax expense or benefit includes the effects of many factors, including changes in the valuation allowance for our net deferred tax asset associated with our NOLs. As a result of the gain from the sales of our non-core businesses in 2011 and the expectation of taxable income in the future, we eliminated our valuation allowance for our net deferred tax asset associated with our remaining NOLs. In the future, we expect our effective tax rate will approximate statutory rates, which will adversely affect our net income.

We may have tax expense exposure that is greater than anticipated in our estimated tax provision.

The determination of our provision for income taxes and other tax liabilities requires estimation and significant judgment, but there are many transactions and calculations where the ultimate tax determination is uncertain. Our tax returns and our tax positions are subject to review by applicable taxing authorities, and we are from time to time subject to audits and examinations by the Internal Revenue Service and by state and local tax authorities. Any adverse outcome from these audits or examinations could have a negative effect on our operating results and financial condition. We regularly assess the likelihood of favorable or unfavorable outcomes resulting from these audits and examinations to determine the adequacy of our provision for income taxes. Although we believe our tax positions and estimates are reasonable, the ultimate outcome of any tax audit may differ from the amounts recorded in our financial statements and may materially affect our financial results in the period or periods for which such determination is made.

Changes in statutory tax rates or in our effective tax rate may have an adverse effect on our results of operations.

Our future effective tax rates may be adversely affected by a number of factors including:

 

    changes in government administrations at the federal and state levels;

 

    changes in tax laws or interpretation of such tax laws, changes in statutory tax rates, and changes in generally accepted accounting principles related to accounting for income taxes;

 

    the jurisdiction in which profits are determined to be earned and taxed;

 

    the resolution of issues arising from tax audits with various authorities;

 

    changes in the valuation of our deferred tax assets and liabilities;

 

    adjustments to estimated taxes upon finalization of various tax returns;

 

    increases in expenses not deductible for tax purposes, including impairment of goodwill in connection with acquisitions;

 

    changes in available tax credits; and

 

    the recognition and measurement of uncertain tax positions.

Any significant increase in statutory tax rates or our future effective tax rates would adversely impact net income for future periods. In addition, the determination of our income tax expense requires complex estimations, significant judgments and significant knowledge and experience concerning the applicable tax laws. To the extent our actual income tax liability materially exceeds our income tax expense and accruals due to factors, including the above, which were not anticipated at the time we estimated our tax expense, our net income or cash flows would be adversely affected.

We are subject to the risks of owning real property.

We own real property, including the land and building constituting our principal executive offices as well as one of our production locations, and could acquire additional property in future business acquisitions. The ownership of real property subjects us to risks, including:

 

    the possibility of environmental contamination and the costs associated with fixing any environmental problems and the risk of damages resulting from such contamination;

 

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    adverse changes in the value of the property, due to interest rate changes, changes in the neighborhood in which the property is located, or other factors;

 

    ongoing maintenance expenses and costs of improvements;

 

    the possible need for structural improvements in order to comply with zoning, seismic, disability act or other requirements; and

 

    possible disputes with neighboring owners or others.

Our current and anticipated future international activities subject us to many legal, business, political and economic risks and uncertainties that could adversely affect our operating results if they materialize.

We acquire certain inventory, primarily for our LED lighting products and our Distributed Generation products, and we expect to market and sell some of our products and services, in international markets. While virtually none of our sales have been into international markets in recent years, one component of our strategy for future growth involves the expansion of our products and services into new international markets and the expansion of our marketing efforts in our current international markets. This expansion will require significant management attention and financial resources to establish additional offices, hire additional personnel, localize and market products and services in foreign markets and develop relationships with international service providers. Moreover, we acquire a significant amount of our parts for our LED lights from Asian nations. We have very limited experience in international operations, including developing localized versions of our products and services and developing relationships with international service providers. We cannot provide any assurance that we will be successful in developing international operations, or that revenues from international operations will be sufficient to offset these additional costs. If revenues from international operations are not adequate to offset the additional expense from expanding these international operations, our business could be materially and adversely affected. In addition, international operations entail a variety of other risks, including:

 

    unexpected changes in legislative, regulatory or market requirements of foreign countries;

 

    poor quality or protracted production or shipping cycles;

 

    currency exchange fluctuations;

 

    longer payment cycles and greater difficulty in accounts receivable collection;

 

    significant taxes or other burdens of complying with a variety of foreign laws; and

 

    geopolitical risks, such as political, social and economic instability and changes in diplomatic and trade relations.

One or more of these factors could adversely affect any international operations in which we engage and result in lower revenue or higher expenses than we expect and could significantly affect our results of operations and financial condition.

New regulations related to conflict-free minerals may force us to incur additional expenses or adversely affect our sourcing of supplies.

In August 2012, pursuant to the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, the SEC adopted new rules requiring disclosure of the use of certain minerals, referred to as conflict minerals, which originate in the Democratic Republic of Congo or adjoining countries. The final rules impose diligence and disclosure obligations with respect to these conflict minerals, which are defined as tin, tantalum, tungsten and gold, which are necessary to the functionality of a product manufactured, or contracted to be manufactured, by an SEC reporting company. These new requirements have required us to undertake due diligence efforts since the 2013 calendar year, with annual disclosure requirements each May 31 of the following year. Our supply chain is complex and we may incur significant costs to determine the source and custody of any conflict minerals in order to comply with these disclosure requirements, including costs associated with canvassing our supply chain to determine the source country of any conflict minerals incorporated in our products, in addition to the cost of remediation and other changes to products, processes, or sources of supply as a consequence of such verification activities. We may also face reputational challenges if we are unable to verify the origins for all conflict minerals used in our products, technology or equipment, or if we are unable to certify that our products are “conflict-free.” Compliance with these regulatory requirements may also affect the sourcing, price and availability of some minerals necessary to the manufacture of our products.

 

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We may be subject to impacts related to legislative, regulatory and economic responses to climate change, with which compliance could be difficult and costly.

Legislative and regulatory responses related to climate change and new interpretations of existing laws through climate change litigation create financial risk. Increased public awareness and concern has resulted in more federal, state and local requirements to reduce or mitigate the effects of greenhouse gases. Thus, there is a risk that our Distributed Generation operations, or other businesses could be subject to regulation under climate change laws at the federal, state or local level in the future, and that any such regulation could be difficult and costly to our business and adversely affect our results of operations.

In addition, the potential economic effects of climate change, such as an increase in energy prices, and the potential effect of future legislation aimed at reducing the impact of climate change and lowering emissions could increase the pace of development of alternative energy sources and supplies and the voluntary reduction in energy use, each of which could reduce the need for Distributed Generation and Utility Infrastructure services, which would adversely affect our business and operating results.

Catastrophic events and other factors outside of our control could disrupt our business.

We must protect our business and operations against damage from earthquake, flood, hurricane and similar catastrophic events. A natural disaster or other unanticipated problem could also adversely affect our business by, among other things, harming our information systems or data, or other internal operations, limiting our ability to communicate with our customers, impairing our ability to perform critical functions of our business and limiting our ability to sell our products and services. Any outbreak of a widespread communicable disease pandemic could similarly impact our operations. There may also be secondary impacts that are unforeseeable as well, such as impacts to our customers and disruptions to our supply chain, which could cause delays in new orders, delays in completing projects or even cancellations of orders. Any of these events could severely affect our ability to conduct normal business operations and, as a result, adversely affect our business, financial condition and our results of operations.

Risks Related to the Ownership of our Shares

Our charter documents, as well as certain portions of Delaware law, contain anti-takeover provisions that could discourage or prevent a third-party acquisition of our common stock, even if an acquisition would be beneficial to our stockholders.

Some provisions in our second restated certificate of incorporation and of our amended and restated by-laws, as well as some provisions of Delaware law, could have the effect of discouraging, delaying or preventing a third party from attempting to acquire us, even if doing so would be beneficial to stockholders, including transactions in which investors might otherwise receive a premium for their shares. These provisions could also limit the price that investors might be willing to pay in the future for shares of our common stock. These provisions could also prevent or frustrate attempts by our stockholders to replace or remove our management. These provisions include:

 

    a classified Board of Directors in which only approximately one-third of the total board members are elected at each annual meeting;

 

    limitations on the ability of stockholders to change the authorized number of directors or to fill vacancies on the Board of Directors;

 

    the prohibition of cumulative voting in the election of directors;

 

    authority for our Board of Directors to issue shares of our common stock and of our preferred stock, and to determine the price, voting and other rights, preferences, privileges and restrictions of undesignated shares of preferred stock, without any vote by or approval of our stockholders;

 

    super-majority voting requirements to effect material amendments to our second restated certificate and restated by-laws;

 

    a limitation on which persons may call a special meeting of stockholders;

 

    a prohibition on stockholders acting by written consent without a meeting;

 

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    a fair price provision that sets minimum price requirements for potential acquirers under certain conditions;

 

    anti-greenmail provisions which limit our ability to repurchase shares of common stock from significant stockholders;

 

    restrictions under Delaware law on mergers and other business combinations between us and any 15% stockholders; and

 

    advance notice requirements for director nominations and for stockholder proposals.

In addition, we have entered into employment agreements with most of our executive officers which, among other things, include provisions for severance payments and accelerated vesting of benefits, such as accelerated vesting of restricted stock and stock options, upon a change in control or circumstances after a change in control.

We have not in the past and we do not currently intend to pay cash dividends on our common stock.

We have never declared or paid any cash dividends on our common stock, and we do not anticipate declaring or paying any cash dividends on our common stock in the near future. We currently intend to retain any future earnings to fund the development, operation and growth of our business, the servicing and repayment of any indebtedness, the repurchase of our shares and other business purposes. Future cash dividends, if any, will be determined by our Board of Directors, in its discretion, based upon our earnings, financial condition, cash flow, capital resources, capital requirements, charter restrictions, contractual restrictions including those under our credit facility, and such other factors as our Board of Directors deems relevant.

The market for our common stock is volatile and subject to extreme trading price and volume fluctuations.

Our common stock has been listed and traded on the New York Stock Exchange since August 28, 2013. The market price and volume of our common stock has in the past been, and in the future is likely to continue to be, highly volatile. The stock market in general, and the market for small cap companies and energy companies in particular, have experienced extreme price and volume fluctuations in recent years, and these fluctuations have often been unrelated or disproportionate to the operating performance of those companies. A number of factors could cause wide fluctuations in the market price and trading volume of our common stock to continue in the future, including:

 

    our ability to generate growing and profitable operations;

 

    the effects of economic, financial and market conditions on our business and revenues, especially the effects of the recent challenging and uncertain economic and financial market conditions and inconsistent capital and credit markets, including their effects on our markets, and the volatility and on the demand for our products, services and technologies;

 

    actual or anticipated fluctuations in our results of operations or those of our competitors, or in other companies that investors consider comparisons to ours;

 

    announcements by us or our competitors of acquisitions, significant technical innovations, new products or services, product improvements, significant contracts, strategic relationships or capital commitments;

 

    the receipt, deferral or loss of significant customer orders, including replacing, sustaining and growing revenues from new customers;

 

    the introduction of new products and services by us or by our competitors;

 

    the commencement of, or our involvement in, litigation or other legal or regulatory proceedings;

 

    announcements by us or our competitors about the success or status of business;

 

    our ability to develop new relationships and to maintain and enhance existing relationships with customers and strategic partners;

 

    conditions or trends in the energy and technology industries in general, and in the particular markets we serve;

 

    potential favorable or unfavorable regulatory and legislative impacts, including provisions and spending which may or may not be included in federal economic stimulus legislation;

 

53


    changes in any revenue or earnings guidance or future goals or targets we may from time to time provide, and changes in the amount or timing of our new business announcements and of our revenue backlog;

 

    our financing and capital raising activities;

 

    recommendations by securities analysts and their revenue and earnings estimates, including changes thereto;

 

    changes in, or the failure by us to meet, securities analysts’ estimates and expectations;

 

    the lower coverage by securities analysts and the media of smaller issuers like us;

 

    changes in the market valuation of other energy or technology companies;

 

    additions or departures of key personnel;

 

    purchases or sales of our common stock by our directors, executive officers and significant stockholders;

 

    the impact and outcome of existing and future litigation actions, claims or proceedings or regulatory action, such as the class action lawsuit;

 

    general economic, business and market conditions and fluctuations in equity markets; and

 

    other external factor or other disasters or crisis.

Many of these factors are beyond our control. The occurrence of any one or more of these factors could cause the market price of our common stock to increase or decrease significantly, regardless of our operating performance.

In addition, broad fluctuations in price and volume may be unrelated or disproportionate to operating performance. Any significant fluctuations in the future might result in a material decline in the market price of our common stock. In the past, following periods of volatility in the market price of a company’s securities, securities class action litigation has often been brought against that company. We are currently involved with, and in future may become exposed to more of, this type of class action litigation. Securities litigation is often expensive to defend or settle and could divert management’s attention and operational resources, which could have a material adverse effect on our business, even if we ultimately prevail in the litigation.

We may issue a substantial number of shares of our common stock in the future, and stockholders may be adversely affected by the issuance of those shares.

From time to time in the future we may raise additional capital by issuing shares of our common stock or securities convertible into shares of our common stock, which would increase the number of shares outstanding and may result in dilution in the equity interest of our current stockholders and may adversely affect the market price of our common stock. We filed two shelf registration statements in 2013 which allow us to issue up to $70 million in any combination of common stock, preferred stock, warrants and units in offerings for cash, less the amount we raised in our 2013 public offering, and in connection with acquisitions to issue up to 2.5 million shares of common stock, less shares we have issued under that shelf registration statement in acquisitions. Shares issued under either shelf registration statement would be freely tradable upon issuance. In addition, from time to time we may issue shares of our common stock or securities convertible into common stock pursuant to exemptions under the Securities Act registration requirements that we register for resale.

The issuance, and the resale or potential resale, of shares of our common stock or securities convertible into or exchangeable for shares of our common stock in connection with acquisitions, offerings or otherwise could adversely affect the market price of our common stock, and could be dilutive to our stockholders depending on the use of proceeds, the performance of the acquired business and other factors.

 

Item 1B. Unresolved Staff Comments

None.

 

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Item 2. Properties

We own our corporate headquarters and principal executive and operating offices, including the land and building, which are located in Wake Forest, North Carolina. The building consists of approximately 31,000 square feet and sits on approximately 2.65 acres of land. We also own an 11,770 square foot pre-engineered steel building, which sits on approximately 16.65 acres of land, in Randleman, North Carolina that we use for fabrication activities. These properties are subject to deeds of trust granted under our credit facility, as described in the notes to our consolidated financial statements included elsewhere in this report.

In addition, we lease 24 facilities located in North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Oklahoma, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts and Maryland. The facilities, which consist of approximately 148,000 square feet in the aggregate, are used primarily as offices but also for operations. The leases on these facilities have an aggregate monthly rental obligation of approximately $146,000 and expire at various dates through 2020.

We believe our facilities are suitable and adequate to meet our current needs, although our anticipated growth may require us to obtain additional space in the future. We continually monitor our facilities requirements, and we believe that any additional space needed in the future will be available on commercially reasonable terms.

 

Item 3. Legal Proceedings

On May 22, 2014, a putative securities class action lawsuit was filed against us and certain of our executive officers in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina. Subsequently, in May and July 2014, two additional purported securities class action lawsuits were filed against the same defendants in the United States District Courts, one in the Eastern District of North Carolina and the other in the Western District of North Carolina. On October 10, 2014, these lawsuits were consolidated in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina, and a lead plaintiff was appointed. A consolidated amended complaint was filed on December 29, 2014, purportedly on behalf of all persons or entities that purchased our common stock during a purported class period from August 8, 2013 through May 7, 2014. The action alleges that certain statements made by the defendants during the applicable class period violated federal securities laws. The amount of damages has not been specified, and no determination has been made on the status of the lawsuits proposed as class actions. We filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit on February 26, 2015. The plaintiff is expected to file its response to our motion to dismiss, to which we will file a reply, before the court rules on our motion to dismiss. We cannot provide any assurance on the timing or the outcome of a court ruling on our motion to dismiss.

On August 15, 2014, a shareholder derivative complaint was filed against certain of our executive officers and each of our directors during the class period in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina. The complaint alleges breach of fiduciary duty, waste of corporate assets and unjust enrichment by the named officers and directors in connection with substantially the same events as set forth in the class action lawsuit, seeking damages in an unspecified amount. On November 26, 2014, based on mutual agreement of the parties to the lawsuit, the court ordered that proceedings under the complaint be stayed until resolution of the class action litigation.

While we believe that we have substantial legal and factual defenses to the claims in the class action and we are pursuing these defenses vigorously the outcome of this litigation is difficult to predict and quantify, and the defense against such claims could be costly. In addition, we have various insurance policies related to the risk associated with our business, including directors’ and officers’ liability insurance policies. However, there is no assurance that we will be successful in our defense of the securities class action, and there is no assurance that our insurance coverage will be sufficient or that our insurance carriers will cover all claims in that litigation. If we are not successful in our defense of the claims asserted in the securities class action and the claims are not covered by insurance or exceed our insurance coverage, we may have to pay damage awards, indemnify our officers and directors from damage awards that may be entered against them and pay the costs and expenses incurred in defense of, or in any settlement of, such claims.

While the company is only a nominal defendant in the shareholder derivative litigation, it could be obligated to indemnify and/or to pay an advancement of fees and costs incurred by our officers and directors in their defense of the litigation.

 

55


Any such payments or settlement arrangements in these current lawsuits or related litigation or proceedings could be significant and have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations, or cash flows if the claims are not covered by our insurance carriers or if damages exceed the limits of our insurance coverage. Furthermore, regardless of the outcome of these claims, defending the litigation itself could result in substantial costs and divert management’s attention and resources, which could have a material adverse effect on our business, operating results, financial condition and ability to finance our operations.

From time to time, we are also involved in a variety of other claims, lawsuits, investigations, actions and other legal proceedings arising in the ordinary course of our business, including actions with respect to labor and employment, taxes, breach of contract, professional liability and other matters.

For further information about material pending legal proceedings, see Note 12, “Commitments and Contingencies” of the notes to our consolidated financial statements included elsewhere in this report, which is incorporated herein by reference.

 

Item 4. Mine Safety Disclosures

Not applicable.

 

56


PART II

 

Item 5. Market for Registrant’s Common Equity, Related Stockholder Matters and Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities

Market Information for Our Common Stock

Our common stock has been listed and traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol “POWR” since August 28, 2013. Prior thereto, our common stock was listed and traded on The NASDAQ Global Select Market under the symbol “POWR.” The following table sets forth the high and low sales prices per share of our common stock, as reported on the New York Stock Exchange or the NASDAQ Global Select Market, as applicable, for the periods indicated.

 

Fiscal Year 2014 Quarters Ended:

   High      Low  

March 31

   $ 27.44       $ 16.09   

June 30

     24.20         6.41   

September 30

     12.19         8.32   

December 31

     11.75         8.17   

Fiscal Year 2013 Quarters Ended:

   High      Low  

March 31

   $ 12.74       $ 7.83   

June 30

     16.15         11.39   

September 30

     18.83         13.64   

December 31

     20.57         15.34   

On March 2, 2015, the last sale price of our common stock as reported on the New York Stock Exchange was $11.15.

Stockholders

As of March 2, 2015, there were 140 stockholders of record of our common stock. Such number of record stockholders does not include additional stockholders whose shares are held in street or nominee name by banks, brokerage firms and other institutions on their behalf.

Dividends

We have never declared or paid any cash dividends on our common stock, and we do not anticipate declaring or paying any cash dividends on our common stock in the near future. We currently intend to retain any future earnings to fund the development, operation and growth of our business, the servicing and repayment of any indebtedness, the repurchase of our shares and other business purposes. Future cash dividends, if any, will be determined by our Board of Directors, in its discretion, based upon our earnings, financial condition, cash flow, capital resources, capital requirements, charter restrictions, contractual restrictions including those under our credit facility, and such other factors as our Board of Directors deems relevant.

Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities

On November 1, 2011, our Board of Directors authorized a stock repurchase program providing for the repurchase of up to $5.0 million in shares of our common stock for 24 months. On December 3, 2012, our Board of Directors authorized an increase in the stock repurchase program to provide for the repurchase of up to an additional $5.0 million in shares of our common stock and extended the program through December 2014. Repurchases of shares could be made from time to time in open market purchases or in privately negotiated transactions. The timing and amount of any shares repurchased were determined in the discretion of our management based on its evaluation of market conditions and other factors.

During the three months ended December 31, 2014, we did not repurchase any shares of our common stock under our stock repurchase program. As of December 31, 2014, we were not authorized to purchase any shares of our common stock under our previous stock repurchase program, which expired in December 2014.

 

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Item 6. Selected Financial Data

The selected consolidated financial data in the following tables have been derived from our audited consolidated financial statements. The consolidated statements of operations data for the years ended December 31, 2014, 2013 and 2012, and the consolidated balance sheet data as of December 31, 2014 and 2013, have been derived from our audited consolidated financial statements and the related notes thereto included beginning on page F-1 of this report. The consolidated statements of income data for the years ended December 31, 2011 and 2010, and the consolidated balance sheet data as of December 31, 2012, 2011 and 2010, have been derived from our audited consolidated financial statements and the related notes thereto not included in this report.

The historical results presented below are not necessarily indicative of the results to be expected from our future operations and should be read in conjunction with “Item 7. Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” and our audited consolidated financial statements and the related notes thereto included beginning on page F-1 of this report.

 

Consolidated Statements of    Year Ended December 31,  
Operations Data:    2014     2013     2012     2011     2010  
     (In thousands, except per share amounts)  

Revenues

   $ 256,657      $ 270,234      $ 162,039      $ 130,015      $ 96,209   

Cost of sales (excluding depreciation and amortization)

     192,088        198,651        110,953        89,321        60,605   
  

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Gross profit

  64,569      71,583      51,086      40,694      35,604   
  

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Operating expenses:

General and administrative

  56,419      47,071      36,201      33,652      28,262   

Selling, marketing and service

  8,890      7,381      5,560      4,651      5,104   

Depreciation and amortization

  8,902      7,287      4,780      3,423      2,641   

Restructuring charges

  427      1,205      2,675      —        —     
  

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Total operating expenses

  74,638      62,944      49,216      41,726      36,007   
  

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Operating income (loss)

  (10,069   8,639      1,870      (1,032   (403

Other income and (expenses):

Gain on sale of unconsolidated affiliate

  —        —        1,439      21,873      —     

Equity income

  —        —        —        1,559      3,182   

Management fees

  —        —        —        282      583   

Interest income and other income

  215      81      88      98      99   

Interest expense

  (1,236   (817   (449   (575   (619
  

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Income (loss) before income taxes

  (11,090   7,903      2,948      22,205      2,842   

Income tax expense (benefit)

  (4,098   3,672      850      3,134      1,130   
  

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Income (loss) from continuing operations

  (6,992   4,231      2,098      19,071      1,712   

Income from discontinued operations (1)

  —        —        78      4,133      1,597   
  

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Net income (loss)

  (6,992   4,231      2,176      23,204      3,309   

Net (income) loss attributable to noncontrolling interest

  —        181      902      846      153   
  

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Net income (loss) attributable to

PowerSecure International, Inc.

$ (6,992 $ 4,412    $ 3,078    $ 24,050    $ 3,462   
  

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

 

(1) During fiscal 2011, our Board of Directors approved a plan to exit our PowerPackages business and the majority of its assets and liabilities were liquidated and its operations ceased in 2011. During fiscal 2010, our Board of Directors approved a plan to sell our Southern Flow business and all of its assets and operations were sold effective January 1, 2011. The operations of PowerPackages and Southern Flow have been classified as discontinued operations for all periods presented. In addition, certain other amounts prior to fiscal 2013 have been reclassified to conform to fiscal 2013 presentation. Such reclassifications had no impact on our net income or stockholders’ equity.

 

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Consolidated Statements of    Year Ended December 31,  
Operations Data (continued):    2014     2013      2012      2011      2010  
     (In thousands, except per share amounts)  

Per Share Data:

             

Basic earnings (loss) per common share:

             

Income (loss) from continuing operations

   $ (0.31   $ 0.22       $ 0.16       $ 1.05       $ 0.10   

Income from discontinued operations

     —          —           —           0.22         0.09   
  

 

 

   

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

 

Basic earnings (loss) per common share

$ (0.31 $ 0.22    $ 0.16    $ 1.27    $ 0.19   
  

 

 

   

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

 

Diluted earnings (loss) per common share:

Income (loss) from continuing operations

$ (0.31 $ 0.22    $ 0.16    $ 1.04    $ 0.10   

Income from discontinued operations

  —        —        —        0.22      0.09   
  

 

 

   

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

 

Diluted earnings (loss) per common share

$ (0.31 $ 0.22    $ 0.16    $ 1.26    $ 0.19   
  

 

 

   

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

 

Weighted average common shares outstanding:

Basic

  22,263      19,837      18,681      18,877      18,133   
  

 

 

   

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

 

Diluted

  22,263      20,160      18,818      19,139      18,603   
  

 

 

   

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

 
     Year Ended December 31,  
Consolidated Balance Sheet Data:    2014     2013      2012      2011      2010  
     (In thousands, except per share amounts)  

Cash and cash equivalents

   $ 33,775      $ 50,915       $ 19,122       $ 24,606       $ 8,202   

Working capital

     70,837        105,103         59,242         69,381         54,514   

Total assets

     265,217        255,491         159,147         142,575         120,529   

Long-term capital lease obligations

     —          986         1,921         2,807         3,647   

Revolving line of credit and long-term debt

     17,832        21,563         2,080         —           5,000   

Total stockholders’ equity

     156,369        159,587         110,999         112,462         87,244   

 

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Item 7. Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations

The discussion in this item, as well as in other items in this Annual Report on Form 10-K, contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of and made under the safe harbor provisions of Section 27A of the Securities Act and Section 21E of the Exchange Act. Forward-looking statements are all statements other than statements of historical facts, including statements that refer to plans, intentions, objectives, goals, strategies, hopes, beliefs, projections and expectations or other characterizations of future events or performance, and assumptions underlying the foregoing. Forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future performance or events, but are subject to and qualified by known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed, anticipated or implied by such forward-looking statements, including those risks, uncertainties and other factors described in “Item 1A. Risk Factors” of this report, as well as other risks, uncertainties and factors discussed elsewhere in this report, in documents that we include as exhibits to or incorporate by reference in this report, and in other reports and documents that we from time to time file with or furnish to the SEC. See “Cautionary Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements” at the beginning of this report.

The following discussion and analysis of our consolidated results of operations for the years ended December 31, 2014, 2013 and 2012, and of our consolidated financial condition as of December 31, 2014 and 2013, should be read in conjunction with our consolidated financial statements and related notes included elsewhere in this Annual Report on Form 10-K.

Overview

PowerSecure International, Inc., headquartered in Wake Forest, North Carolina, is a leading provider of products and services to electric utilities, and their large commercial, institutional and industrial customers.

We provide products and services through three operating segments: our Distributed Generation segment, our Utility Infrastructure segment, and our Energy Efficiency segment. These three operating segments constitute our major product and services offerings, each of which are focused on serving the needs of utilities and their commercial, institutional and industrial customers to help them generate, deliver, and utilize electricity more reliably and efficiently. Each of our three operating segments also represents a reporting segment.

Our strategy is focused on growing these three segments because they require unique knowledge and skills that utilize our core competencies, and because they address large market opportunities due to their strong customer value propositions. They share common or complementary utility relationships and customer types, common sales and overhead resources, and facilities. However, we discuss and distinguish our operations among these segments due to their unique products and services, market needs they are addressing, and the distinct technical disciplines and specific capabilities required for us to deliver them, including personnel, technology, engineering, and intellectual capital.

We currently operate primarily out of our Wake Forest, North Carolina headquarters office, and our operations also include several satellite offices and manufacturing facilities, the largest of which are in the Raleigh and Greensboro, North Carolina, Atlanta, Georgia, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, and Stamford, Connecticut areas. The locations of our sales organization and field employees for our operations are generally in close proximity to the utilities and commercial, industrial, and institutional customers they serve. Our three operating segments are operated through our principal operating wholly-owned subsidiary, PowerSecure, Inc.

In 2011, we divested the non-core business operations of our previous Oil and Gas Services segment, which has ceased operations.

Distributed Generation

Our Distributed Generation segment manufactures, installs and operates electric generation equipment “on site” at a facility where the power is used, including commercial, institutional and industrial operations. Our systems provide a highly dependable backup power supply during power outages, and provide a more efficient and environmentally friendly source of power during high cost periods of peak power demand. These two sources of value benefit both utilities and their large customers. In addition, our solar energy systems provide utilities and their commercial and industrial customers with environmentally friendly power to augment their core power requirements.

 

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Our Distributed Generation systems are sold to customers utilizing two basic economic models, each of which can vary depending on the specific customer and application. In our traditional business model, which is our predominant model, we sell the Distributed Generation system to the customer. We refer to this as a “project-based” or a “customer-owned” model. For Distributed Generation systems sold under the project-based model, the customer acquires ownership of the Distributed Generation assets upon our completion of the project. Our revenues and profits from the sale of systems under this model are recognized over the period during which the system is installed. In the project-based model, after the system is installed we will also usually receive a modest amount of on-going monthly revenues to monitor the system for backup power and peak shaving purposes, as well as to maintain the system.

Our second business model is structured to generate long-term recurring revenues for us, which we refer to as our “recurring revenue model” or “PowerSecure-owned” or “company-owned” model. For Distributed Generation systems deployed under this model, we retain ownership of the Distributed Generation system after it is installed at the customer’s site. Because of this, we invest the capital required to design and build the system, and our revenues are derived from regular fees paid over the life of the recurring revenue contract by the utility or the customer, or both, for access to the system for standby power and peak shaving. The life of these recurring revenue contracts is typically from five to fifteen years. The fees that generate our revenues in the recurring revenue model are generally paid to us on a monthly basis and are established at amounts intended to provide us with attractive returns on the capital we invest in installing and maintaining the Distributed Generation system. Our fees for recurring revenue contracts are generally structured as shared savings arrangements, although they can also be structured with fixed monthly payments. For our shared savings contracts, a portion or all of our fees are earned out of the pool of peak shaving savings the system creates for the customer.

In both economic models, we believe that the customer value proposition is strong. In the customer-owned model, where the customer pays for and obtains ownership of the system, the customer’s typical targeted returns on investment range from 15% to 25%, with a payback targeted at three to five years. These paybacks to the customer result from a combination of the benefits of peak shaving, which creates lower total electricity costs, and the value that the backup power provides in avoiding losses from business interruptions due to power outages. Additionally, utilities gain the benefits of smoother electricity demand curves and lower peaks, as the result of having highly reliable standby power supporting customers in their utility systems, power distribution and transmission efficiencies, and of avoiding major capital outlays that would have been required to build centralized power plants and related infrastructure for peaking needs. In our PowerSecure-owned model, where we pay for, install and maintain ownership of the system in exchange for the customer paying us fees over a period of years, and utilities and their customers receive access to our system without making a large up-front investment of capital. Under the PowerSecure-owned model, contracts can be structured between us and the utility, us and the customer, or all three parties.

In 2014, 83.5% of our Distributed Generation systems revenues consisted of customer-owned system sales, and 16.5% of our Distributed Generation systems revenues were derived from recurring revenue sales. Sales of customer-owned systems deliver revenues and profits that are recorded on our financial statements over the course of the project, which is generally over a three to 18 month timeframe depending on the size of the project, and sales of PowerSecure-owned projects are recorded over a longer time frame of five to 15 years depending on the life of the underlying contract. Therefore, shifts in the sales of customer-owned versus PowerSecure-owned systems have significant impacts on our near-term revenues and profits and cause them to fluctuate from period-to-period. An additional contrast of the two models is that sales under the PowerSecure-owned system model generate revenues and profits that are more consistent from period-to-period and have higher gross margins, and generate revenues and profits over a longer time period, although smaller in dollar amount in any particular period because they are recognized over the life of the contract. Our PowerSecure-owned recurring revenue model requires us to invest our own capital in the project without any return on capital until after the project is completed, installed, commissioned and successfully operating.

Our PowerSecure Solar team provides us with the ability to deliver solar energy systems through our Distributed Generation solutions platform. These solar energy systems are sold under the project-based, customer-owned model. In 2014, our solar Distributed Generation business significantly expanded under a major award from one of the largest investor-owned utilities in the U.S. to provide two utility-scale solar installations that will generate approximately $120 million in revenues fairly evenly split over 2015 and 2016, subject to project and operational changes.

 

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Utility Infrastructure

Our Utility Infrastructure operating segment is focused on helping electric utilities design, build, upgrade and maintain infrastructure that enhances the efficiency of their grid systems.

Our largest source of revenue within our Utility Infrastructure segment is our UtilityServices products and services. We have significantly expanded our UtilityServices’ scope of utility relationships, customers and geography over the last few years. Our UtilityServices team provides utilities with transmission and distribution construction and maintenance, including substation construction and maintenance, advanced metering and lighting installations, and storm restoration. In addition to providing these services directly to utilities, we also perform this work on behalf of utilities for their large industrial and institutional customers, and directly to large oil and gas companies. Similar to the products and services we provide for utilities, our work for large utility customers includes turn-key design, procurement and construction services for large transmission and distribution projects, including substations. Our resources include a fleet of owned and leased utility vehicles along with experienced field personnel and engineers, and we also utilize third party resources from time to time, as needed, to supplement our internal resources on particular projects.

Through our Encari, UtilityEngineering and PowerServices teams, we serve the engineering and consulting needs of our utility clients, broadening our offerings to our utility partners. The scope of services that we offer through UtilityEngineering includes technical engineering services for our utility partners and their customers, including design and engineering relating to virtually every element of their transmission and distribution systems, substations and renewable energy facilities. Through PowerServices, we provide management consulting services to utilities and commercial and industrial customers, including planning and quality improvement, technical studies involving reliability analysis and rate analysis, acquisition studies, accident investigations and power supply contracts and negotiations. Our Encari business provides cybersecurity consulting and compliance services to the utility industry, helping large IOUs, municipalities and cooperative utilities assess, improve and maintain their compliance with the NERC’s CIP Reliability Standards.

Revenues for our UtilityServices products and services are generally earned, billed, and recognized using two primary models. Under the first model, we have regular, on-going assignments with utilities to provide maintenance and upgrade services. These services are earned, billed, and recognized either on a fixed unit fee basis, based on the number of work units we perform, such as the number of transmission poles we upgrade, or on a time and materials basis, based on the number of hours we invest in a particular project, plus amounts for the materials we utilize and install. Under the second model, we are engaged to design, build and install large infrastructure projects, including substations, transmission and distribution lines and similar infrastructure, for utilities and their customers. In these types of projects we are generally paid a fixed contractual price for the project, plus any modifications or scope adjustments. We recognize revenues from these projects on a percentage-of-completion basis as they are completed. In addition to these two primary models, in the future we could be engaged by utilities and their customers to build or upgrade transmission and distribution infrastructure that we own and maintain. In those cases, we would receive fees over a long-term contract in exchange for providing the customer with access to the infrastructure to transmit or receive power.

Revenues for our Encari, UtilityEngineering and PowerServices consulting services are earned, billed, and recognized based on the number of hours invested in the particular projects and engagements they are serving. Similar to most traditional consulting businesses, these hours are billed at rates that reflect the general technical skill or experience level of the consultant or supervisor providing the services. In some cases, our engineers and consultants are engaged on an on-going basis with utilities, providing resources to supplement utilities’ internal engineering teams over long-term time horizons. In other cases, our engineers and consultants are engaged to provide services for very specific projects and assignments.

Energy Efficiency

We deliver Energy Efficiency solutions to assist our customers in the achievement of their energy efficiency goals. We have two primary Energy Efficiency product and service offerings: light emitting diode, or LED, lighting fixtures and lamps, and energy efficiency upgrades for ESCO customers, and large retailers. Our LED lighting solutions are primarily focused on the utility, commercial and industrial markets, while our energy efficiency solutions are primarily focused on serving the ESCO and retail channels. We have begun including our Distributed Generation products and services in our Energy Efficiency Services solutions. In the future, we also plan to bring our LED lighting solutions to our ESCO and retail customer base. In both of our Energy Efficiency product and service lines we deliver highly engineered product solutions and upgrades with strong value propositions that are designed to reduce energy costs, improve operations and benefit the environment.

 

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Our LED lighting products include our PowerSecure Lighting, Solais, EfficientLights, IES and EnergyLite operations and brands, all of which are focused on bringing LED lighting solutions to the marketplace. As a result of our acquisition of Solais in 2013, we recently realigned and consolidated these operations into PowerSecure Lighting, which is now leading all of our LED operations, although we may continue to have legacy brands in the marketplace for a period of time. In 2013, we acquired our Energy Efficiency Services business, which gives us the capability to provide general lighting, building envelope, HVAC and water efficiency solutions to ESCOs, which deliver these energy efficiency solutions to commercial, industrial and institutional facilities. On September 2, 2014, we acquired the electrical contracting business of Apex Controls, Inc. The acquired business provides retrofit and electrical contracting services to major retailers, in most cases through general contractors, and provides us with the capacity to provide our Energy Efficiency Services solutions to large retailers.

Our LED lighting products, led by our PowerSecure Lighting team and operations, include the following:

 

    Our Solais brand, which includes LED-based lamps and fixtures for department stores and other commercial applications. The 2013 acquisition of Solais strengthened and complemented our existing LED lighting business through the addition of these new product lines and customer channels. This acquisition also enhanced our skill sets around product design, product commercialization, and manufacturing and sourcing capabilities. Solais oversees all of our LED lighting operations.

 

    Our EfficientLights brand, which includes LED-based lighting fixtures for grocery, drug and convenience stores. EfficientLights products include our EfficientLights fixture for reach-in refrigerated cases, shelf and canopy lighting for open refrigerated cases, overhead lighting for walk-in storage coolers.

 

    Our IES brand, which includes LED-based lighting fixtures for utilities, commercial and industrial, and OEM applications. IES products include street lights, area lights, indoor overhead lighting, and other specialty lighting applications.

 

    Our EnergyLite brand, which is used to market our IES and EfficientLights brands primarily, but we may also use it from time to time for other LED lighting products. EnergyLite’s products are marketed to customers and utilities directly, and through third party distribution arrangements.

The primary client base for our Energy Efficiency Services business consists of large, publicly-traded ESCOs. Through our relationships with these ESCOs, we provide facility upgrades for public sector customers, including federal, state and local government agencies and educational institutions. As ESCOs are awarded project contracts with public sector clients, we assist them by providing energy efficiency expertise to develop and implement tailored solutions under their contracts. From time to time, we also serve larger retail, commercial and industrial clients for which we provide our products and services directly, when an ESCO is not involved in the customer relationship.

We focus on deploying solutions to improve the energy efficiency of large facilities, including reducing energy-related expenditures, and the impact of energy use on operations and the environment. This helps the ESCO’s customers save money, improve facilities and meet energy efficiency goals and mandates. Our solutions include energy efficient lighting upgrades, energy efficient mechanical and electrical retrofit and upgrade services, water conservation, building weatherization, and renewable energy project development and implementation. We provide energy solutions across a range of facilities, including high-rise office buildings, distribution facilities, manufacturing plants, retail sites, multi-tenant residential buildings, mixed use complexes, hospitals, universities and large government sites. We plan to continue to offer our Distributed Generation and LED lighting products as part of these solutions.

Our LED lighting revenues are generated through the sale of LED-based light fixtures and lamps. Our portfolio of products consists exclusively of our proprietary designs, which are generally focused on very specific applications. These applications require our lights to be highly engineered to maximize the quality, and amount of light produced, at the lowest cost. This formula, in turn, enables us to provide our customers with lighting that maximizes the return on investment for their lighting spend. We design and manufacture our LED-based lights for

 

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utilities, commercial and industrial customers. Our lighting generally reduces energy consumption by 60-70%, improves the quality of light, reduces maintenance expense, extends light life, lowers a facilities’ carbon footprint, and eliminates the use of traditional lighting which can contain environmental hazards.

Our LED lighting product line includes:

 

    LED-based lamps and fixtures for department stores and other commercial applications, including display and down-lighting;

 

    LED-based lighting fixtures for grocery, drug and convenience stores, including lights for reach-in refrigerated cases, shelf and canopy lighting for open refrigerated cases, and overhead lighting for walk-in storage coolers; and

 

    LED-based lighting fixtures for utilities, commercial and industrial, and OEM applications, including street lights, area lights, indoor overhead lighting, and other specialty lighting applications.

The majority of our LED lights are sold as retrofits for existing traditional lighting, and to a lesser extent for new construction lighting installations. Additionally, historically the majority of our lights have been sold by us directly to our customers, although we also have distributor relationships that serve certain product lines and are becoming an increasing part of our sales channels. Occasionally we provide installation services, although that is not a significant portion of our business. We also assist our customers in receiving utility incentives for LED lighting. Our customers are primarily large retail chains, utilities, department stores, and large commercial and industrial customers. These customers typically install LED lighting across numerous locations over a diverse geographic scope. We expect our customer base and sales channels to continue to grow and develop as LED technology continues to be more widely adopted. As we bring additional products to market, we expect to employ a similar business model with our LED lighting products with a greater portion of our sales driven through distributorship channels.

Our Energy Efficiency Services business revenues are generated through a full range of turn-key services we provide to ESCOs and retailers. We apply our engineering expertise to analyze each facility’s energy consumption and operational needs, and develop customized energy efficiency and renewable energy solutions to optimize that facility’s return on investment. We provide complete turn-key implementation services for a range of energy efficiency and renewable energy projects, including energy efficient lighting upgrades, energy efficiency mechanical and electrical retrofit and upgrade services, water conservation, weatherization, combined heat and power or cogeneration and renewable project development and implementation. We consider factors such as current facility infrastructure, best available technologies, building environmental conditions, hours of operation, energy costs, available utility rebates, tax incentives, and installation, operation and maintenance costs of various efficiency alternatives. Our extensive knowledge of energy solutions and their results in numerous environments enables us to apply some of the most appropriate, effective and proven technologies available in the marketplace.

How We Evaluate our Business Performance and Opportunities

The major qualitative and quantitative factors we consider in the evaluation of our current and future operating results, include the following:

 

    A significant amount of our Distributed Generation, Utility Infrastructure, and Energy Efficiency segment revenue involves large product and service orders. Our revenue and profit in any particular period is significantly influenced by the sales commitments for projects that we receive in periods which precede the reporting period and then are completed and recognized in the reporting period. Accordingly, as we plan our business and evaluate our results, particularly in the short-term, we are focused on the revenue we expect to recognize from projects we have in our near-term revenue backlog, which includes project awards and orders we have received but have not yet completed and recognized. Additionally, with regard to our medium and longer term results, we focus on revenue opportunities in our sales pipeline, which includes revenue from projects that we are in discussion with customers about but have not been awarded.

 

   

Our net income in any particular period is significantly influenced by the gross margins on the particular projects we complete, and on the mix of products and services which are delivered in that period. Because a large portion of our projects are fixed price projects, we are particularly focused on the cost of sales we incur to deliver them. This cost of sales includes the cost of labor, materials, and

 

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other inputs that are directly associated with that particular project. Our projects are priced with gross margin expectations that provide us with our targeted financial returns, and variances from these gross margin expectations are an area we regularly assess. The larger the project or product or service order, the more rigorously it is assessed, because larger projects influence our profit to a greater degree than smaller projects. Our cost of sales and gross margin on particular projects can affect our future pricing and operational decisions on similar projects, and can also influence our strategic decisions about the products and services we will provide in the future, and the business model we will use to provide them. However, because our projects and orders are generally custom priced, the current market cost of commodity materials is incorporated into the price of our projects and orders, which means that fluctuations in these commodity costs is generally not a major focus of management.

 

    We generally evaluate our Distributed Generation revenues on a project-by-project basis to determine if we are pricing and delivering our products and services profitably, as well as from an overall perspective to determine the levels of revenue, expense, and profit required to deliver sustained profitable growth. We generally evaluate our Energy Efficiency revenues on a product-by-product basis and a customer-by-customer basis to determine if our products are profitable and customer pricing and service delivery is effective, as well as from an overall perspective to determine the levels of revenue, expense, and profit required to deliver sustained profitable growth. Finally, we generally evaluate our Utility Infrastructure revenues on a customer-by-customer basis and a project-by-project basis to determine if our services are being priced and executed profitably, as well as from an overall perspective to determine the levels of revenue, expense, and profit required to deliver sustained profitable growth.

 

    We believe that increasing the amount of Distributed Generation solutions we deliver under a recurring revenue model will increase our margins and increase the predictability of our results over time, although not necessarily in the near-term. We believe that achieving increasingly predictable results, in turn, will increase shareholder value over the long-term. Since our business strategy includes increasing the amount of revenue we generate from recurring revenue contracts, we actively evaluate the progress we are making in this area. In addition, recurring revenue projects generally require us to invest capital at the beginning of the contract term to manufacture and install equipment. These capital expenditures can be significant, and we actively evaluate expectations as to the timing and amount of capital expenditure investments we will make for these recurring revenue projects in the context of our overall revenue and profit expectations, cash and debt position, lender covenants, and other financing constraints. This evaluation includes expectations for capital investments in our revenue backlog as well as our revenue pipeline.

 

    The growth of our business is dependent on the continued expansion and development of our customer base, our utility relationships, and our new products and services. For this reason, we actively evaluate our sales activity and productivity, revenue pipeline, and new business awards for progress in the growth and development of our customer base. We also actively evaluate the new products and services we are developing for new and existing customers to determine their market opportunity, rate of acceptance, and financial potential.

 

    We actively evaluate our costs, including staffing, machinery and equipment, facilities, productivity, and other overhead, and trends in these costs, in conjunction with our revenue expectations and business opportunities to ensure that we have the right infrastructure in place to maximize our long-term revenue and profit opportunities, while balancing the need to deliver near-term profits.

 

    We actively evaluate and plan our working capital needs, and the impact of these needs on our cash and debt position. The primary areas that require significant working capital are inventory and labor, which tends to be high at the beginning of a project, and at the start of a large order, and receivables, which tend to increase at the end of a project, and at the end of a large order.

 

    We actively evaluate and plan for our expected revenue and profit results, including the revenue and profit results from our Distributed Generation, Utility Infrastructure and Energy Efficiency solutions.

 

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Uncertainties, Trends and Risks that can cause Fluctuations in our Operating Results

Our revenues, expenses, margins, net income, cash flow, cash, working capital, capital expenditures, debt, balance sheet positions, and other operating results have fluctuated significantly from quarter-to-quarter, period-to-period and year-to-year in the past and are expected to continue to fluctuate significantly in the future due to a variety of factors, many of which are outside of our control. Factors that affect our operating results include the following:

 

    the effects of general economic, business and financial conditions, including the negative impact that continuing weak and uncertain economic and financial market conditions and inconsistent capital and credit markets, or their deterioration, could have on our business operations, our revenues and our ability to operate and grow profitably, including the negative impact these conditions could have on the timing of and amounts of orders from our customers, and the potential these factors have to negatively impact our access to capital to finance our business;

 

    the size, timing and terms of sales and orders, especially large customer orders, as well as the effects of the timing of phases of completion of projects for customers, and customers delaying, deferring or canceling purchase orders or making smaller purchases than expected;

 

    our ability to execute on our customer orders efficiently and profitably, to generate customer satisfaction, enhanced operating income and future additional business, especially with respect to significant awards such as the recent large solar projects;

 

    our ability to make strategic acquisitions of key businesses, technologies and other assets and resources, to realize the expected benefits from such acquisitions, to effectively integrate the acquired businesses, assets and personnel in our organization, to grow acquired businesses and to manage the costs related to such acquisitions, including our recent acquisitions of our Energy Efficiency Services business, Encari and the Mission Critical Energy Services business;

 

    our ability to sell, complete and recognize satisfactory levels of near-term quarterly revenues and net income related to our project-based sales and product and service revenues, which are recognized and billed as they are completed, in order to maintain our current profits and cash flow and to satisfy our financial covenants in our credit facility and to successfully finance the recurring revenue portion of our business model;

 

    our ability to maintain and grow our Utility Infrastructure revenues on a profitable basis, including maintaining and improving our pricing, utilization rates and productivity rates, given the significant levels of vehicles, tools and labor in which we have invested and which are required to serve utilities, and the risk that our utility customers will change work volumes or pricing, or will displace us from providing services;

 

    our ability to maintain our safety performance and safety record at levels that meet or exceed the standards of our utility customers, the inability of which could cause us to be abruptly and immediately released from our work assignments with those utilities, and to lose the opportunity to obtain additional or new work from those utilities;

 

    our ability to obtain adequate supplies of key components and materials of suitable quality for our products on a timely and cost-effective basis, including the impact of potential supply line constraints, substandard parts, changes in environmental requirements, and fluctuations in the cost of raw materials and commodity prices, including without limitation with respect to our LED lighting products and third party manufacturing arrangements we have, and arrangements we have established to source these products and components from vendors in Asia;

 

    our strategy to increase our revenues from long-term recurring revenue projects, recognizing that increasing our revenues from recurring revenue projects will require up-front capital expenditures and will protract our revenue and profit recognition from those projects over a longer period compared to turn-key sales, while at the same time increasing our gross margins over the long-term;

 

    the performance of our products, services and technologies, and the ability of our systems to meet the performance standards they are designed and built to deliver to our customers, including but not limited to our recurring revenue projects for which we retain the on-going risks associated with the performance and ownership of the systems;

 

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    our ability to access significant capital resources on a timely basis in order to fund working capital requirements, fulfill large customer orders, finance capital required for recurring revenue projects, and finance working capital and equipment for our Utility Infrastructure products and services;

 

    our ability to develop new products, services and technologies with competitive advantages and positive customer value propositions;

 

    permitting and regulatory or customer-caused delays on projects;

 

    our ability to implement our business plans and strategies and the timing of such implementation;

 

    the pace of revenue and profit realization from our new businesses and the development and growth of their markets, including the timing, pricing and market acceptance of our new products and services;

 

    the amount of costs and expenses we incur to support our growth internally and through acquisitions, and our success in controlling and reducing our costs and expenses;

 

    changes in our pricing policies and those of our competitors, including the introduction of lower cost competing technologies and the potential for them to impact our pricing and our profit margins;

 

    variations in the length of our sales cycle and in the product and service delivery and construction process;

 

    changes in the mix of our products and services having differing margins;

 

    changes in our expenses, including prices for materials such as copper, aluminum and other raw materials, labor costs and other components of our products and services, fuel prices including diesel, natural gas, oil and gasoline, and our ability to hedge or otherwise manage these prices to protect our costs and revenues, minimize the impact of volatile exchange rates and mitigate unforeseen or unanticipated expenses;

 

    changes in our valuation allowance for our net deferred tax asset, and the resulting impact on our current tax expenses, future tax expenses and balance sheet account balances;

 

    the effects of severe weather conditions, such as hurricanes and major wind and ice storms, on the business operations of our customers, and the potential effect of such conditions on our results of operations;

 

    the life cycles of our products and services, and competitive alternatives in the marketplace;

 

    budgeting cycles of utilities and other industrial, commercial and institutional customers, including impacts of the slow economic recovery and inconsistent capital markets conditions on capital projects and other spending items;

 

    the development and maintenance of business relationships with strategic partners such as utilities and large customers;

 

    economic conditions and regulations in the energy industry, especially in the electric utility industry, including the effects of changes in energy prices, electricity pricing and utility tariffs as well as the impact of future reductions in solar tax credits and incentives;

 

    changes in the prices charged by our suppliers;

 

    the effects of governmental regulations and regulatory changes in our markets, including emissions regulations; and

 

    the effects of litigation, warranty claims and other claims and proceedings, including the recent securities class action.

Because we have little or no control over most of these factors, our operating results are difficult to predict. Any adverse change in any of these factors could negatively affect our business and results of operations.

 

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Our revenues and other operating results are heavily dependent upon the size and timing of customer orders and payments, and the timing of the completion of those projects. The timing of large individual orders, and of project completion, is difficult for us to predict. Because our operating expenses are based on anticipated revenues over the long-term and because a high percentage of these are relatively fixed, a shortfall or delay in recognizing revenues can cause our operating results to vary significantly from year-to-year and can result in significant operating losses or declines in profit margins in any particular year. If our revenues fall below our expectations in any particular period, we may not be able to or it may not be prudent to reduce our expenses rapidly in response to the shortfall, which can result in us suffering significant operating losses or declines in profit margins in that period.

As we develop new lines of business, our revenues and costs will fluctuate because generally new businesses require start-up expenses and it takes time for revenues to develop, which can result in losses in early periods. Another factor that could cause material fluctuations in our annual results is an increase in recurring, as opposed to project-based, sources of revenue we generate for our Distributed Generation and Utility Infrastructure projects. To date, the majority of our revenues have consisted of project-based Distributed Generation revenues, project-based Utility Infrastructure revenues and sales of LED lighting fixtures, which are recognized as the sales occur or the projects are completed. Recurring revenue projects, compared to project-based sales, are generally more profitable over time, and growth in this business model can result in delayed recognition of revenue and net income, especially in the short-term, as we implement an increased number of these recurring revenue projects.

Due to all of these factors and the other risks discussed in “Item 1A. Risk Factors” of this report, quarter-to-quarter, period-to-period or year-to-year comparisons of our results of operations should not be relied on as an indication of our future performance. Quarterly, period or annual comparisons of our operating results are not necessarily meaningful or indicative of future performance.

Recent Developments

In October 2014, we acquired the Mission Critical Energy Services business and certain related assets of Power Design, Inc., a Florida corporation, referred to as PDI, pursuant to an Asset Purchase and Sale Agreement, between PDI, as seller, and PowerSecure, Inc., as purchaser. The purchase price paid for the acquired business and assets was $13.0 million in cash plus an additional earn-out cash payment of up to $2.0 million depending on the amount of firm backlog we obtain after the closing. The acquired business provides full turn-key electrical infrastructure design, implementation and commissioning service to data center owners. We had previously provided our data center solutions as a supplier to PDI. We anticipate that the acquisition will provide us with a direct customer channel and capabilities to accelerate our access to key data center decision makers who are designing and evaluating backup power and control systems for their facilities. We owe $1.0 million of that earn-out as of the date of this report, based on the new backlog we have obtained from the Mission Critical Energy Services business since the closing, and we believe that we will pay the remainder of the earn-out in the future as the result of additional backlog that business is expected to generate.

In September 2014, we acquired the electrical contracting business of Apex Controls, Inc., a Georgia corporation, referred to as Apex. The acquired business provides retrofit and electrical contracting services to major retailers, in most cases through general contractors. This acquisition is part of our strategy to expand our Energy Efficiency services directly to retailers. Apex is a company primarily owned and managed by Jonathan Hinton, the son of Sidney Hinton, our President and Chief Executive Officer. The transaction was evaluated and approved by the Audit Committee of our Board of Directors. The purchase price for the acquisition was $0.75 million in cash, plus potential additional earn-out consideration of up to $0.5 million in cash if the gross profits generated from the acquired business in 2015 and 2016 exceed certain targeted thresholds.

In July 2014, we received approximately $120 million of new Distributed Generation utility-scale solar project business awards, including a major award from one of the largest investor-owned utilities in the U.S., to provide two utility-scale solar installations. We expect to recognize approximately one-half of the revenue from the two major solar projects in 2015, and the remainder in 2016. We also expect that these projects, which are large in scale and carry significantly lower gross profit margins as a percentage of revenues compared to traditional projects of this type, will carry single digit gross margins as a percentage of revenues. This is driven by the fact that the cost of the panels is a significant portion of our overall cost of the project, and an element for which we receive very little gross margin. As a result, we expect that these projects will be dilutive to our consolidated gross margins, while being accretive to our net income and earnings per share.

In June 2014, we successfully modified the service arrangement with one of our major utility customers to improve the terms of our ongoing service. The modifications included adjustments to pricing, work assignments, and expected improvements in the ongoing scope of work. Based on these improvements, and the new mix of work

 

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allocated to us, these changes are expected to restore the profitability of the work provided by us for this utility and provide a solid platform for us to continue serving, and potentially expanding, our work for the customer in the future. The favorable effects of the modified terms, however, were not fully realized in 2014 due to transitional matters, and we expect continued improvements from this customer relationship over upcoming periods.

In the first quarter 2014, we substantially completed our 2013 restructuring and realignment program that was designed to integrate and streamline our operations and product offerings primarily within our Energy Efficiency product area. These activities, which occurred during the fourth quarter of 2013 and the first quarter 2014, included eliminating certain duplicative facilities, re-sourcing from certain of our energy efficiency suppliers, reducing the number of our Energy Efficiency product offerings, and streamlining our overall organization. These restructuring and realignment actions resulted in a charge of $0.7 million in the first quarter 2014, of which $0.3 million was included in our cost of sales and a charge of $4.9 million in 2013, of which $3.7 million was included in our cost of sales.

Financial Results Highlights

Our consolidated revenues in 2014 were $256.7 million, a decrease of $13.6 million, or 5.0%, compared to our consolidated revenues during 2013. The drivers of this year-over-year revenue decrease included an $11.5 million, or 10.3%, reduction in Distributed Generation segment revenues, and an $8.5 million, or 7.6%, reduction in Utility Infrastructure segment revenues. These revenue decreases were partially offset by a $7.0 million, or 14.9%, increase in Energy Efficiency segment revenues.

The reduction in our Distributed Generation segment revenues in 2014 was primarily a result of a reduction in traditional turn-key Distributed Generation project sales due to a slower conversion rate of larger sales pipeline opportunities to contract awards, partially offset by an increase in solar Distributed Generation project sales.

The decrease in our UtilityServices revenue in 2014 was primarily due to us being more selective in our new business development activity in early 2014, which negatively impacted year-over-year revenues, as we focused our efforts on improving efficiencies and productivity in our UtilityServices operations. In addition, our UtilityServices revenues were negatively impacted by the effects of unfavorable service arrangements and work assignments from a large utility customer during 2014.

The increase in our Energy Efficiency revenues during 2014 included a $8.7 million increase in revenues from our LED lighting products due to the enhanced and broader marketing efforts under our reorganized LED lighting operations, partially offset by a $1.7 million decrease in revenues from energy efficiency services that mostly reflects transitional acquisition issues and new business lead times resulting from the 2013 acquisition of our Energy Efficiency Services business affecting the year-over-year comparison. We provide our energy efficiency services as a subcontractor to ESCOs through the Energy Efficiency Services business we acquired in early 2013, and throughout 2013 we realized substantial revenue from project completions from acquired backlog, while new Energy Efficiency Services work in 2014 and beyond is based on newly created orders with normal sales lead times.

Our 2014 gross margin as a percentage of revenue decreased to 25.2%, compared to 26.5% in 2013, on a consolidated basis. This year-over-year gross profit margin decrease was driven primarily by the continuing effect of inefficiencies in our Utility Infrastructure segment, in particular our UtilityServices group, due to unfavorable pricing and service assignments with one of our major utility customers, as well as lower revenues and less efficient utilization of personnel and equipment. The unfavorable terms in our contract with the major utility customer caused us to incur higher levels of personnel and equipment costs in our cost of goods sold as a percentage of our revenues, driving the gross profit margin on our UtilityServices revenue to 10.8% for 2014, and our overall Utility Infrastructure segment gross profit margin to 14.5%. This compares to 19.5% Utility Infrastructure segment gross profit margin in 2013. In June 2014, we successfully modified the service arrangement with the utility customer to improve the terms of our ongoing service. The modifications include positive adjustments to future pricing, work assignments, and expected improvements in the ongoing scope of work. Based on these improvements both to the arrangements and our efficiencies, and the new mix of work allocated to us, we believe these changes will enhance the profitability of the work provided by us to this utility and provide a solid platform for us to continue serving, and potentially expanding, our work for the customer.

Distributed Generation segment gross profit margins were 31.4% in 2014 compared to 36.9% in 2013, due to differences in the mix of projects period-to-period. During 2014, our solar Distributed Generation revenues represented a higher percentage of the total Distributed Generation segment revenue compared to 2013 and our solar Distributed Generation revenues yield a significantly lower gross profit margin compared to our traditional Distributed Generation revenues.

 

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Energy Efficiency segment gross profit margins were 33.7% in 2014 compared to 18.4% in 2013, driven by an increase in the gross profit margin of our LED products, due to our restructuring efforts in this area and the elimination of inefficient or unnecessary operations and resources, as well as an increase in the gross profit margin of our Energy Efficiency Services business due to the mix of projects in 2014 compared to 2013. As is always the case, variability in our quarterly and year-to-date gross profit margins is also caused by regular on-going differences in the mix of specific projects performed in each period.

Our operating expenses during 2014 increased by $11.7 million, or 18.6%, compared to our operating expenses during 2013. The year-over-year increase in operating expenses was largely due to increases in general and administrative, selling and depreciation and amortization expenses, including increases in personnel, employee benefits and insurance, stock compensation expense, professional fees, and depreciation and amortization from capital expenditures driven by our investments in company-owned Distributed Generation systems and Utility Infrastructure equipment, as well as acquisition related intangibles.

Our consolidated operating loss for 2014 was ($10.1) million compared to operating income of $8.6 million for 2013. The following table summarizes our operating income (loss) by reporting segment for the periods indicated (dollars in thousands):

 

     Year Ended
December 31,
     Period-over-Period
Difference
 
     2014      2013      $      %  

Segment operating income (loss):

           

Distributed Generation

   $ 8,258       $ 20,396       $ (12,138      (59.5 )% 

Utility Infrastructure

     (1,141      6,602         (7,743      (117.3 )% 

Energy Efficiency

     3,671         (4,930      8,601         174.5

Corporate and other unallocated costs

     (20,857      (13,429      (7,428      55.3
  

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

    

Total

$ (10,069 $ 8,639    $ (18,708   (216.6 )% 
  

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

    

Our consolidated net loss attributable to PowerSecure International, Inc. shareholders for 2014 was ($7.0) million, or ($0.31) per diluted share, which includes $0.7 million of restructuring charges, compared to net income attributable to PowerSecure International, Inc. shareholders of $4.4 million, or $0.22 per diluted share, for 2013, which includes $4.9 million of restructuring charges, of which $3.7 million was included in cost of sales. This net loss is the combined result of the year-over-year reduction in revenues, the reduction in gross margins and the increase in operating expenses, discussed above.

As discussed above under “—Uncertainties, Trends and Risks that can cause Fluctuations in our Operating Results”, our financial results will fluctuate from quarter to quarter and year to year. Thus, there is no assurance that our past results, including the results of our year ended December 31, 2014, will be indicative of our future results.

 

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Backlog 

As of the date of this report, our revenue backlog expected to be recognized after December 31, 2014 is $368 million. This backlog number includes revenue related to the new business awards in our press releases issued December 2, 2014, December 16, 2014, January 5, 2015, January 27, 2015 and February 23, 2015. This backlog figure compares to the revenue backlog of $360 million announced in our Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q for the quarter ended September 30, 2014 filed on November 5, 2014, which represented revenue expected to be recognized after September 30, 2014.

Our revenue backlog and the estimated timing of revenue recognition is outlined below, including “project-based revenues” expected to be recognized as projects are completed and “recurring revenues” expected to be recognized over the life of the contracts:

Revenue Backlog expected to be recognized after

December 31, 2014

 

Description

   Anticipated
Revenue
     Estimated Primary
Recognition Period

Project-based Revenue — Near term

   $ 183 million       1Q15 through 3Q15

Project-based Revenue — Long term

   $ 119 million       4Q15 through 2016

Recurring Revenue

   $ 66 million       1Q15 through 2020
  

 

 

    

Revenue Backlog expected to be recognized after December 31, 2014

$ 368 million   

 

Note: Anticipated revenue and estimated primary recognition periods are subject to risks and uncertainties as indicated in “Cautionary Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements” above. Consistent with past practice, these amounts are not intended to constitute our total revenue over the indicated time periods, as we have additional, regular on-going revenues. Examples of additional, regular recurring revenues include revenues from engineering fees, and service revenue, among others. Numbers may not add due to rounding.

Orders in our backlog are subject to delay, deferral, acceleration, resizing, or cancellation from time to time, and estimates are utilized in the determination of the backlog amounts. Given the irregular sales cycle of customer orders, and especially of large orders, our revenue backlog at any given time is not necessarily an accurate indication of our future revenues.

Operating Segments

Our operating and reportable segments are currently organized around the following products and services that we offer as part of our core business strategy:

 

    Distributed Generation solutions;

 

    Utility Infrastructure solutions; and

 

    Energy Efficiency solutions.

These three reportable segments, described in greater detail below, had previously been reported on a combined basis under our Utility and Energy Technologies segment as they had been operated and evaluated as one operating segment. We experienced significant growth over the last several years in most of our product and service areas. As we have grown organically, and as we have added to our capabilities through acquisitions, our product and service areas have increased in scale and become more distinctly organized and managed under these three groupings. In addition, our chief operating decision maker, who is our Chief Executive Officer, has begun reviewing results and managing and allocating resources among these three strategic business groupings, and we have begun budgeting using these business segments. Our segment information for the years ended December 31, 2013 and 2012 have been reclassified to conform to our current presentation.

 

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Distributed Generation

Our Distributed Generation segment manufactures, installs and operates electric generation equipment “on site” at facilities where the power is used, including commercial, institutional and industrial operations. Our systems provide a highly dependable backup power supply during power outages, and provide a more efficient and environmentally friendly source of power during high cost periods of peak power demand. These two sources of value benefit both utilities and their large customers. In addition, our solar energy systems are included in this segment and provide utilities and their customers with environmentally friendly power to augment their core power requirements.

Utility Infrastructure

Our Utility Infrastructure segment is focused on helping electric utilities design, build, upgrade and maintain infrastructure that enhances the efficiency of their grid systems. Our largest source of revenue within our Utility Infrastructure area is our UtilityServices products and services. We have significantly expanded our UtilityServices’ scope of utility relationships, customers and geography over the last few years. Our UtilityServices team provides utilities with transmission and distribution construction and maintenance, including substation construction and maintenance, advanced metering and lighting installations, and storm restoration. In addition to providing these services directly to utilities, we also perform this work on behalf of utilities for their large industrial and institutional customers, and directly to large oil and gas companies.

Through our Encari, UtilityEngineering and PowerServices teams, we serve the engineering and consulting needs of our utility clients, broadening our offerings to our utility partners. The scope of services that we offer through UtilityEngineering includes technical engineering services for our utility partners and their customers, including design and engineering relating to virtually every element of their transmission and distribution systems, substations and renewable energy facilities. Through PowerServices, we provide management consulting services to utilities and commercial and industrial customers, including planning and quality improvement, technical studies involving reliability analysis and rate analysis, acquisition studies, accident investigations and power supply contracts and negotiations. Our Encari business, which we acquired in October 2013, provides cybersecurity consulting and compliance services to the utility industry.

Energy Efficiency

We deliver Energy Efficiency products and services to assist our customers in the achievement of their energy efficiency goals. We have two primary product and service offerings in our Energy Efficiency segment: LED lighting fixtures and lamps, and energy efficiency upgrades for our ESCO customers. Our LED lighting products are primarily focused on the utility, commercial and industrial, and retail markets, while our Energy Efficiency Services solutions are focused on serving the ESCO and retail customer base. In the future, we plan to bring our LED lighting products to our Energy Efficiency Services customer base. In both of our Energy Efficiency segment product and service lines we deliver highly engineered product solutions and upgrades with strong value propositions that are designed to reduce energy costs, improve operations and benefit the environment.

Results of Operations 

The following discussion regarding segment revenues, gross profit, costs and expenses, and other income and expenses for 2014 compared to 2013 and for 2013 compared to 2012 are entirely attributable to our Distributed Generation, Utility Infrastructure and Energy Efficiency reporting segments, unless otherwise indicated. Amounts shown as “Corporate and other” in the tables that follow represent costs and other income and expense amounts that are not allocated to our segments for financial reporting purposes. In addition, certain revenues and cost of sales are included in multiple segments for purposes of evaluation of the stand-alone results of the reporting segments. These revenues and cost of sales are eliminated in “Intersegment Eliminations”, where applicable, in the tables below. Finally, segment revenues, gross profit, and costs and expenses for 2013 and 2012 have been reclassified to conform to our current presentation of reportable segment activity in the tables below.

 

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2014 Compared to 2013

Revenues

Our consolidated revenues are generated entirely by sales and services provided by our reporting segments, including Distributed Generation, Utility Infrastructure, and Energy Efficiency. Intersegment revenues, if any, are eliminated from total segment revenues as reflected in the tables below. The following table summarizes our revenues, including intersegment revenues, by these segments for the periods indicated (dollars in thousands):

 

     Year Ended
December 31,
     Period-over-Period
Difference
 
     2014      2013      $      %  

Segment Revenues:

           

Distributed Generation

   $ 100,017       $ 111,536       $ (11,519      (10.3 )% 

Utility Infrastructure

     103,204         111,654         (8,450      (7.6 )% 

Energy Efficiency

     54,038         47,044         6,994         14.9

Intersegment Eliminations

     (602      —           (602      n/m   
  

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

    

Total

$ 256,657    $ 270,234    $ (13,577   (5.0 )% 
  

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

    

Our consolidated revenues in 2014 of $256.7 million decreased $13.6 million, or 5.0%, compared to 2013, due to a reduction in revenues from our Distributed Generation and Utility Infrastructure reporting segments, partially offset by an increase in our Energy Efficiency reporting segment.

Our revenues are significantly affected by the number, size and timing of our Distributed Generation, Utility Infrastructure and Energy Efficiency projects as well as the percentage of completion of in-process projects, and the percentage of customer-owned as opposed to PowerSecure-owned Distributed Generation recurring revenue projects. Our sales have fluctuated significantly in the past and are expected to continue to fluctuate significantly in the future. The decrease in our revenues in 2014 over 2013 consisted of an $11.5 million, or 10.3%, reduction in revenues from our Distributed Generation segment and an $8.5 million, or 7.6%, decrease from our Utility Infrastructure segments. These revenue decreases were partially offset by a $7.0 million, or 14.9%, increase in revenues from our Energy Efficiency segment. The year-over-year decrease in our Distributed Generation segment revenues was primarily driven by a reduction in our traditional customer-owned turn-key project sales due to a slower conversion rate of sales pipeline opportunities to contract awards, partially offset by an increase in solar Distributed Generation project sales.

The decrease in our Utility Infrastructure revenue was primarily due to us being more selective in our new business development activity in early 2014, which negatively impacted year-over-year revenues, as we focused on improving efficiencies and productivity in our UtilityServices operations. In addition, our UtilityServices revenues were impacted by the ongoing effects of unfavorable service arrangements and work assignments from a large utility customer early during 2014. In June 2014, we successfully modified the service arrangement with the utility customer to improve the terms of our ongoing service, including positive adjustments to future pricing, work assignments and expected improvements in the ongoing scope of work. The favorable effects of the modified terms, however, were not fully realized in 2014 due to transitional matters, and we expect continued improvements from this customer relationship in 2015.

The year-over-year increase in our Energy Efficiency segment revenues in 2014 compared 2013 included an $8.7 million increase in revenues from our LED lighting products and services due to the enhanced and broader marketing efforts under our reorganized LED lighting operation. This LED lighting revenue increase was partially offset by a $1.7 million decrease in revenues from energy efficiency services that mostly reflects transitional acquisition issues and new business lead times affecting the year-over-year comparison. We provide our energy efficiency solutions as a subcontractor to ESCOs through the Energy Efficiency Services business we acquired in early 2013, and throughout 2013 we realized substantial revenue from project completions from acquired backlog, while new Energy Efficiency Services work in 2014 and beyond is based on newly created orders after normal sales lead times.

 

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Our future revenues will also depend on the vitality of the domestic economy, the health of the credit markets and the continuing levels of customer spending for capital improvements and energy efficiency projects, as well as our ability to secure new significant purchase orders, to expand our markets and product and service lines, and to convert our sales pipeline into contract awards, and to realize the growth opportunities provided by our recent acquisitions and any future acquisitions. The amount and timing of our future revenues will also be affected by the amount and proportion of revenues generated by future PowerSecure-owned Distributed Generation recurring revenue projects, which result in revenue being recognized over a longer period. We are particularly susceptible to changes in economic conditions because our product offerings are generally considered discretionary investment items by our customers, who may delay or defer large sales orders, depending on their business requirements and capital budgets.

Gross Profit and Gross Profit Margin

Our gross profit represents our revenues less our cost of sales. Our gross profit margin represents our gross profit divided by our revenues. The following table summarizes our cost of sales by reporting segment, along with our segment gross profit and gross profit margins for the periods indicated (dollars in thousands):

 

     Year Ended
December 31,
    Period-over-Period
Difference
 
     2014     2013     $      %  

Segment Cost of Sales (excluding depreciation and amortization):

         

Distributed Generation

   $ 68,648      $ 70,354      $ (1,706      (2.4 )% 

Utility Infrastructure

     88,199        89,908        (1,709      (1.9 )% 

Energy Efficiency

     35,843        38,389        (2,546      (6.6 )% 

Intersegment Eliminations

     (602     —          (602      n/m   
  

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

    

Total

$ 192,088    $ 198,651    $ (6,563   (3.3 )% 
  

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

    

Segment Gross Profit:

Distributed Generation

$ 31,369    $ 41,182    $ (9,813   (23.8 )% 

Utility Infrastructure

  15,005      21,746      (6,741   (31.0 )% 

Energy Efficiency

  18,195      8,655      9,540      110.2
  

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

    

Total

$ 64,569    $ 71,583    $ (7,014   (9.8 )% 
  

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

    

Segment Gross Profit Margins:

Distributed Generation

  31.4   36.9

Utility Infrastructure

  14.5   19.5

Energy Efficiency

  33.7   18.4

Total

  25.2   26.5

Cost of sales includes materials, vehicles, personnel and related overhead costs incurred to manufacture products and provide services, but excludes depreciation and amortization. Cost of sales also includes inventory write-downs occurring in the normal course of business, as well as those occurring in connection with our 2013 restructuring and realignment actions which carried over into 2014. Intersegment cost of sales from intersegment revenues are eliminated from total cost of sales. The 3.3% decrease in our consolidated cost of sales and services for 2014 compared to 2013 was driven by the decrease in costs associated with the 5.0% decrease in sales, as well as the effects of the $3.7 million write-down of Energy Efficiency segment inventory in 2013 in connection with our 2013 restructuring and realignment actions that is included in our 2013 cost of sales compared to the $0.3 million inventory write-down in 2014, and other factors discussed below leading to the reduction in our gross profit margin.

Our consolidated gross profit decreased $7.0 million, or 9.8%, in 2014 compared to 2013. As a percentage of revenue, our consolidated gross margin in 2014 was 25.2%, a decrease of 1.3 percentage point compared to 2013. This year-over-year gross profit margin decrease was driven primarily by the effect of inefficiencies in our Utility Infrastructure segment, in particular our UtilityServices group, driven by lower-than-expected revenues, and unfavorable pricing and service assignments with one of our major utility customers, especially during the first six months of 2014. These unfavorable terms caused us to incur higher levels of personnel and equipment costs in our

 

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cost of goods sold as a percentage of our revenues, driving the gross profit margin on our UtilityServices revenue to 10.8% for 2014, and our overall Utility Infrastructure segment gross profit margin to 14.5%. This compares to 19.5% Utility Infrastructure segment gross profit margin in 2013. In June 2014, we successfully modified the service arrangement with the utility customer to improve the terms of our ongoing service. The modifications include positive adjustments to future pricing, work assignments, and expected improvements in the ongoing scope of work. Based on these improvements, and the new mix of work expected to be allocated to us, we believe these changes will restore the profitability of the work provided by us to this utility and provide a solid platform for us to continue serving, and potentially expanding, our work for the customer.

Our Distributed Generation segment gross profit margins were 31.4% in 2014 compared to 36.9% in 2013, due to differences in the mix of projects period-to-period. During 2014, our solar Distributed Generation revenues represented a higher percentage of the total Distributed Generation segment revenue compared to 2013 and our solar Distributed Generation revenues yield a lower gross profit margin compared to our traditional Distributed Generation revenues.

Our Energy Efficiency segment gross profit margin was 33.7% in 2014 compared to 18.4% in 2013. The year-over-year gross profit margin increase in our Energy Efficiency segment gross profit margins was due to increases in our Energy Efficiency Services margins and our LED product margins due to the favorable effects of our acquisition of Solais in the second quarter 2013 and our 2013 restructuring and realignment program which utilized this acquisition to improve our manufacturing and sourcing processes and lower our cost of sales.

An important driver in the period-over-period change in our consolidated gross profit margin is the relative gross profit margins we generally earn in each of our Distributed Generation, Utility Infrastructure and Energy Efficiency reporting segments. The gross profit margin we realize in each of our reporting segments largely correlates to the amount of value-added products and services we deliver, with highly engineered, turn-key projects realizing higher gross profit margins due to the benefits they deliver our customers and the value we deliver because we are vertically integrated. Because of these gross profit margin differences, changes in the mix of our segment revenues, and individual product lines within those segments, affect our consolidated gross profit margin results.

Our gross profit and gross profit margin have been, and we expect will continue to be, affected by many factors, including the following:

 

    the absolute level of revenue achieved in any particular period, given that portions of our cost of sales are relatively fixed over the near-term, the most significant of which is personnel and equipment costs;

 

    our ability to continue to improve and realize the financial benefits of operational efficiencies in our Utility Infrastructure segment, in particular our UtilityServices area, including increasing our revenue and improving the productivity of our personnel and equipment as well as managing our labor and asset costs during periods when work assignments, and therefore revenue, is lower or when our crews are in-between work assignments;

 

    the mix of higher and lower margin projects, products and services, and the impact of new products and technologies on our pricing and volumes;

 

    the allocation of revenue among each of our Distributed Generation, Utility Infrastructure and Energy Efficiency segments, and products and services within these segments, which have different gross profit margins, and certain types of projects within each segment, such as lower margin utility-scale solar projects in our Distributed Generation segment;

 

    the impact of our recently announced utility-scale solar projects that we expect will deliver $120 million of revenues at significantly lower gross margins primarily during 2015 and 2016;

 

    our ability to execute on our customer orders efficiently and with operational excellence, to generate customer satisfaction, profitability and future additional business, especially with respect to significant awards such as the recent utility-scale solar projects;

 

    our ability to benefit from economies of scale, including the realignment of our Energy Efficiency segment and our efforts to re-source from low-cost manufacturers;

 

    our level of investments in our businesses, particularly for anticipated or new business awards;

 

    improvements in technology and manufacturing methods and processes;

 

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    the impact of competition on our volumes or pricing;

 

    our ability to manage our materials and labor costs, including any future inflationary pressures;

 

    the costs to maintain and operate Distributed Generation systems we own in conjunction with recurring revenue contracts, including the price of fuel, run hours, weather, and the amount of fuel utilized in their operation, as well as their operating performance;

 

    the geographic density of our projects;

 

    the selling price of products and services sold to customers, and the revenues we expect to generate from recurring revenue projects;

 

    the rate of growth of our new businesses, which tend to incur costs in excess of revenues in their earlier phases and then become profitable and more efficient over time if they are successful;

 

    the impact of acquisitions of businesses, assets and technologies, including differing margins of new products and services acquired and our ability to strategically benefit from cost efficiencies these acquisitions provide and to manage the costs of our related growth from acquisitions;

 

    the ability to realize gross profit margin increases from our operations that have lower gross profit margin profiles, such as PowerSecure Solar;

 

    costs and expenses of business shutdowns, when they occur; and

 

    other factors described above under “—Uncertainties, Trends and Risks that can cause Fluctuations in our Operating Results”.

Some of these factors are not within our control, and we cannot provide any assurance that we can continue to improve upon those factors that are within our control, especially given the current economic climate as well as our movement to an expected higher percentage of recurring revenue projects. Moreover, our gross revenues are likely to fluctuate from quarter to quarter and from year to year, as discussed in “—Uncertainties, Trends and Risks that can cause Fluctuations in our Operating Results”. Accordingly, there is no assurance that our future gross profit and gross profit margins will improve or even remain at historic levels in the future, and will likely decrease if revenues decrease.

Operating Expenses

Our operating expenses include general and administrative expense, selling, marketing and service expense, depreciation and amortization, and, from time to time, restructuring charges. The following table sets forth our consolidated operating expenses for the periods indicated (dollars in thousands):

 

     Year Ended
December 31,
     Period-over-Period
Difference
 
     
     2014      2013      $      %  

Consolidated Operating Expenses:

           

General and administrative

   $ 56,419       $ 47,071       $ 9,348         19.9

Selling, marketing and service

     8,890         7,381         1,509         20.4

Depreciation and amortization

     8,902         7,287         1,615         22.2

Restructuring charges

     427         1,205         (778      (64.6 )% 
  

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

    

Total

$ 74,638    $ 62,944    $ 11,694      18.6
  

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

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The following table sets forth our operating expenses by reportable segment for the periods indicated (dollars in thousands):

 

     Year Ended
December 31,
     Period-over-Period
Difference
 
     2014      2013      $      %  

Distributed Generation:

           

General and administrative

   $ 15,434       $ 13,733       $ 1,701         12.4

Selling, marketing and service

     4,240         4,293         (53      (1.2 )% 

Depreciation and amortization

     3,437         2,760         677         24.5

Restructuring charges

     —           —           —           n/m   
  

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

    

Total Distributed Generation operating expenses

$ 23,111    $ 20,786    $ 2,325      11.2
  

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

    

Utility Infrastructure:

General and administrative

$ 11,255    $ 10,901    $ 354      3.2

Selling, marketing and service

  1,445      1,585      (140   (8.8 )% 

Depreciation and amortization

  3,446      2,658      788      29.6

Restructuring charges

  —        —        —        n/m   
  

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

    

Total Utility Infrastructure operating expenses

$ 16,146    $ 15,144    $ 1,002      6.6
  

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

    

Energy Efficiency:

General and administrative

$ 10,543    $ 9,674    $ 869      9.0

Selling, marketing and service

  2,197      1,369      828      60.5

Depreciation and amortization

  1,357      1,337      20      1.5

Restructuring charges

  427      1,205      (778   (64.6 )% 
  

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

    

Total Energy Efficiency operating expenses

$ 14,524    $ 13,585    $ 939      6.9
  

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

    

Corporate and other:

General and administrative

$ 19,187    $ 12,763    $ 6,424      50.3

Selling, marketing and service

  1,008      134      874      652.2

Depreciation and amortization

  662      532      130      24.4
  

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

    

Total corporate and other unallocated costs

$ 20,857    $ 13,429    $ 7,428      55.3
  

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

    

Total consolidated operating expenses

$ 74,638    $ 62,944    $ 11,694      18.6
  

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

    

Costs related to personnel, including wages, benefits, stock compensation, bonuses and commissions, are the most significant component of our operating expenses. The year-over-year increase in operating expenses was driven by an increase in general and administrative expense due to increases in personnel, employee benefits and insurance, stock compensation expense, and legal fees to support our investments in new business opportunities and expected future growth, and increase in selling expenses due to additional sales executives and commission expense, and depreciation and amortization from our investments in Utility Infrastructure equipment, company-owned Distributed Generation systems, and acquisition-related intangibles. The increase in personnel also includes expenses to continue to strengthen our safety resources and programs.

Our operating expenses, excluding the 2014 and 2013 restructuring charges, as a percentage of our revenues increased by 6.1 percentage points in 2014 compared to 2013. This increase reflects operating inefficiencies we experienced in 2014 due to declining revenue during the period. We expect over the long term that our operating expenses will decrease as a percentage of revenue due to our expected revenue growth as we leverage our cost structure. Of course, these expectations are dependent on the future success of our product and service lines, future economic and market conditions, and any future acquisitions. Accordingly, the timing and the amount of future increases in operating expenses will depend on the timing and level of future increases in our revenues and revenue backlog, as well as the impacts of economic and business conditions and capital markets conditions, and may fluctuate as a percentage of revenues in 2015 and future periods.

 

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General and Administrative Expenses. General and administrative expenses include personnel wages, benefits, stock compensation, and bonuses and related overhead costs for the support and administrative functions, together with unallocated corporate and other administrative costs. The overall $9.3 million, or 19.9%, increase in our consolidated general and administrative expenses in 2014, as compared to 2013, was due primarily to an increase in personnel, employee benefits and insurance, stock compensation, travel, professional fees and consulting, rent and other expenses to support our investments in new business opportunities and expected future growth. The following table provides further details of our general and administrative expenses by expense category for the periods indicated (dollars in thousands):

 

     Year Ended
December 31,
     Period-over-Period
Difference
 
     
     2014      2013      $      %  

Consolidated General and Administrative Expense:

           

Personnel costs

   $ 32,150       $ 27,594       $ 4,556         16.5

Vehicle lease and rental

     3,085         3,026         59         1.9

Insurance

     2,770         1,402         1,368         97.6

Rent-office and equipment

     1,685         1,448         237         16.4

Professional fees and consulting

     2,158         857         1,301         151.8

Travel

     2,408         2,314         94         4.1

Telephone

     908         940         (32      (3.4 )% 

Meals and entertainment

     874         855         19         2.2

Utilities

     343         346         (3      (0.9 )% 

Other

     3,167         2,434         733         30.1

Corporate costs

     6,871         5,855         1,016         17.4
  

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

    

Total

$ 56,419    $ 47,071    $ 9,348      19.9
  

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

    

The following table provides detail of our general and administrative expenses by segment along with unallocated corporate and other administrative costs for the periods indicated (dollars in thousands):

 

     Year Ended
December 31,
     Period-over-Period
Difference
 
     
     2014      2013      $      %  

Segment General and Administrative Expense:

           

Distributed Generation

   $ 15,434       $ 13,733       $ 1,701         12.4

Utility Infrastructure

     11,255         10,901         354         3.2

Energy Efficiency

     10,543         9,674         869         9.0

Corporate and other unallocated costs

     19,187         12,763         6,424         50.3
  

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

    

Total

$ 56,419    $ 47,071    $ 9,348      19.9
  

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

    

The 12.4% increase in our 2014 Distributed Generation segment general and administrative expense compared to 2013 was due to increases in personnel costs. The 3.2% increase in our 2014 Utility Infrastructure segment general and administrative expense compared to 2013 was due to increases in personnel, insurance, rent, and vehicle lease and rental costs. The 9.0% increase in our 2014 Energy Efficiency segment general and administrative expense compared to 2013was due to the incremental costs related to our Solais and Energy Efficiency Services business acquisitions, which occurred in April and February 2013, respectively, partially offset by reductions in personnel and overhead savings from our recent restructuring of our LED operations. The increase in our unallocated corporate and other general and administrative expenses during 2014 as compared to 2013 was due primarily to an increase in unallocated personnel costs, insurance, stock compensation expense and legal costs. We expect general and administrative expenses will increase in dollar amount and may fluctuate as a percentage of revenues in 2015 and in future periods.

 

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Selling, Marketing and Service Expenses. Selling, marketing and service expenses consist of personnel and related overhead costs, including commissions for sales and marketing activities, together with travel, advertising and promotion costs. The 20.4% increase in consolidated selling, marketing and service expenses in 2014, as compared to 2013, was due to increases in salaries, commissions, travel, and advertising and promotion, driven by the recent increase in our backlog and sales activities to drive future revenues. In addition, increases in the breadth and diversity of our customers resulted in an increase in bad debt expenses. The following table provides further detail of our selling, marketing and service expenses by expense category for the periods indicated (dollars in thousands):

 

     Year Ended
December 31,
     Period-over-Period
Difference
 
     2014      2013      $      %  

Consolidated Selling, Marketing and Service:

           

Salaries

   $ 3,926       $ 2,846       $ 1,080         37.9

Commission

     1,846         1,795         51         2.8

Travel

     1,409         1,265         144         11.4

Advertising and promotion

     1,247         1,134         113         10.0

Bad debt expense

     435         341         94         27.6

Vehicle lease and rental

     27         —           27         n/m   
  

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

    

Total

$ 8,890    $ 7,381    $ 1,509      20.4
  

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

    

The following table provides further detail of our selling, marketing and service expenses by reporting segment for the periods indicated (dollars in thousands):

 

     Year Ended
December 31,
     Period-over-Period
Difference
 
     2014      2013      $      %  

Segment Selling, Marketing and Service Expense:

           

Distributed Generation

   $ 4,240       $ 4,293       $ (53      (1.2 )% 

Utility Infrastructure

     1,445         1,585         (140      (8.8 )% 

Energy Efficiency

     2,197         1,369         828         60.5

Unallocated costs

     1,008         134         874         652.2
  

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

    

Total

$ 8,890    $ 7,381    $ 1,509      20.4
  

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

    

In 2015 and future periods, we expect our selling, marketing and services expenses to grow in total dollars, and may grow as a percentage of revenues, in order to reflect, drive and support anticipated future revenue growth.

 

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Depreciation and Amortization Expenses. Depreciation and amortization expenses include the depreciation of property, plant and equipment and the amortization of certain intangible assets including capitalized software development costs and other intangible assets acquired as part of our 2014 and 2013 acquisitions. The following table provides detail of our depreciation and amortization expense by reporting segment for the periods indicated (dollars in thousands):

 

     Year Ended
December 31,
     Period-over-Period
Difference
 
     2014      2013      $      %  

Segment Depreciation and Amortization:

           

Distributed Generation

   $ 3,437       $ 2,760       $ 677         24.5

Utility Infrastructure

     3,446         2,658         788         29.6

Energy Efficiency

     1,357         1,337         20         1.5

Unallocated costs

     662         532         130         24.4
  

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

    

Total

$ 8,902    $ 7,287    $ 1,615      22.2
  

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

    

The 22.2% increase in consolidated depreciation and amortization expenses in 2014, as compared to 2013, primarily reflects increased depreciation resulting from recent capital investments, as well as amortization expense associated with acquisition related intangible assets. These capital investments are investments in PowerSecure-owned Distributed Generation segment systems for projects deployed under our recurring revenue model as well as investments in Utility Infrastructure segment equipment to support its anticipated growth. As our capital investments continue to grow, we expect our depreciation and amortization expenses to increase.

Restructuring Charges. Restructuring charges consist of costs associated with realigning operations, reducing employee counts, eliminating products, exiting certain activities, changing manufacturing sourcing, and other actions designed to reduce our cost structure and improve productivity.

Our 2013 acquisitions provided us with a new, distinct set of opportunities to restructure and realign our operations to increase operating margins. During the fourth quarter 2013, we initiated business realignment actions and incurred a charge in the amount of $4.9 million to realign our operations to gain cost and performance efficiencies which continued into the first quarter 2014. These actions, which primarily involved our Energy Efficiency segment, consisted of the sale of manufacturing equipment and parts inventory, eliminating certain LED products, reorganization of the leadership roles, re-sourcing the manufacturing of our LED lighting products directly from low-cost manufacturers, and the reduction of our overhead cost structure by eliminating duplicative facilities and personnel involved in production, sourcing, warehousing and distribution activities. The inventory write-offs in the amount of $3.7 million in 2013 are included in cost of sales. The expenses associated with the remaining 2013 business realignment charges totaled $1.2 million.

As we completed these 2013 business realignment initiatives in the first quarter 2014, we incurred additional pre-tax restructuring charges totaling $0.7 million in the first quarter 2014. The inventory write-off component of the charge in the amount of $0.3 million in the first quarter 2014 is included in cost of sales. The expenses associated with the remaining business realignment charges totaled $0.4 million in 2014. We do not expect to incur any additional charges in future periods in connection with the 2013 business realignment program.

 

80


Other Income and Expenses

Our other income and expenses include interest income, interest expense, miscellaneous settlements with third parties, and income taxes. None of these income or expense amounts are allocated to our operating segments for purposes of evaluating segment performance or allocating resources. The following table sets forth our other income and expenses for the periods indicated (dollars in thousands):

 

     Year Ended
December 31,
     Period-over-Period
Difference
 
     2014      2013      $      %  

Other Income (Expense):

           

Interest and other income

   $ 215       $ 81       $ 134         165.4

Interest expense

     (1,236      (817      (419      51.3

Income tax benefit (expense)

     4,098         (3,672      7,770         211.6
  

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

    

Total

$ 3,077    $ (4,408 $ 7,485      169.8
  

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

    

Interest and Other Income. The amount of interest income and other income increased during 2014 compared to 2013 due to proceeds from a $0.2 million breach of contract settlement. This income was partially offset by a reduction in interest earned on the balance of our restricted annuity contract. Our future interest income will depend on our cash and cash equivalent balances, which will increase and decrease depending upon our profit, capital expenditures, acquisitions, working capital needs, and future interest rates.

Interest Expense. Interest expense increased $0.4 million during 2014 compared to 2013. The increase in our interest expense reflects interest on our $25.0 million term loan, which we completed in June 2013 and financing charges incurred on a letter of credit issued during the third quarter 2014 in connection with recently awarded utility scale solar Distributed Generation projects, partially offset by a reduction in balances outstanding on our capital lease obligation and our term loans due to regular payments made on those obligations over the year.

Income Taxes. The income tax expense or benefit we record is the result of applying our annual effective tax rate by our pre-tax income or loss. Our effective tax rate and our income tax expense or benefit includes the effects of permanent differences between our book and taxable income, changes in our deferred tax assets and liabilities, changes in the valuation allowance for our net deferred tax assets, federal and state income taxes in various state jurisdictions in which we have taxable activities, and expenses associated with uncertain tax positions that we have taken or expense reductions from uncertain tax positions as a result of a lapse of the applicable statute of limitations. Our overall effective tax rate of in 2014 was 37.0%, a decrease from our effective tax rate in 2013 of 46.5%, due to the reduction in deferred tax assets associated with stock compensation in 2013 for which there was no similar deferred tax asset reduction in 2014. We recorded an income tax benefit during 2014 because we incurred a pre-tax loss during the period, while we recorded a tax expense in 2013 resulting from our pre-tax income for 2013.

Non-controlling Interest. The non-controlling interest we recorded during 2013 represents the minority shareholders’ equity in the income or loss of PowerSecure Solar and IES and is reflected as a reduction or addition to net income or losses to derive income or loss attributable to PowerSecure International stockholders. In May 2013, we acquired the minority shareholder interests in each of these entities. As a result of these non-controlling interest acquisitions, both PowerSecure Solar and IES are now wholly-owned subsidiaries and there are no more non-controlling interests. The decrease in the addition for the non-controlling interest in the loss of our majority-owned subsidiaries in 2014, as compared to 2013, is a result of our acquisition of the non-controlling interests in May 2013.

 

81


2013 Compared to 2012

Revenues

The following table summarizes our revenues, including intersegment revenues, by reporting segment for the periods indicated (dollars in thousands):

 

     Year Ended
December 31,
     Period-over-Period
Difference
 
     2013      2012      $      %  

Segment Revenues:

           

Distributed Generation

   $ 111,536       $ 76,352       $ 35,184         46.1

Utility Infrastructure

     111,654         60,735         50,919         83.8

Energy Efficiency

     47,044         24,952         22,092         88.5

Intersegment Eliminations

     —           —           —           n/m   
  

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

    

Total

$ 270,234    $ 162,039    $ 108,195      66.8
  

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

    

Our consolidated revenues in 2013 of $270.2 million increased $108.2 million, or 66.8%, compared to 2012, due to an increase in sales in each of our reporting segments: Distributed Generation, Utility Infrastructure and Energy Efficiency. This revenue growth, which is a continuation of our growth in recent years, includes $73.3 million of incremental revenue growth in our existing operations and $34.9 million of incremental revenues from our recently acquired Solais, Encari and Energy Efficiency Services businesses. This revenue growth is the result of our focused strategy of growing our revenues by expanding our product and services lines, our customer and market base, our geographic footprint and our utility partners.

The increase in our revenues in 2013 over 2012 consisted of a $50.9 million, or 83.8%, increase in revenues from our Utility Infrastructure segment, a $35.2 million, or 46.1%, increase in revenues from our Distributed Generation segment, and a $22.1 million, or 88.5%, increase in revenues from our Energy Efficiency segment. The year-over-year increase in our Utility Infrastructure segment sales and services was due to an increase in the number of utilities that we service, and an increase in those utilities’ spending levels on transmission and distribution system maintenance and construction projects, as well as energy companies spending on electrical infrastructure to support oil and gas production. The year-over-year increase in our Distributed Generation segment sales and services was driven by increases in customer-owned turn-key project sales and, to a lesser extent, increases in solar Distributed Generation project sales. The year-over-year increase in our Energy Efficiency segment revenues in 2013 compared to 2012 was driven by an additional $34.2 million in Energy Efficiency segment revenues from our Energy Efficiency Services business we acquired in February 2013 and from Solais Lighting acquired in April 2013, partially offset by a decrease in revenues from EfficientLights lighting products from our existing grocery customers.

 

82


Gross Profit and Gross Profit Margin

The following table summarizes our cost of sales by reporting segment, along with our segment gross profit and gross profit margins for the periods indicated (dollars in thousands):

 

     Year Ended
December 31,
    Period-over-Period
Difference
 
     2013     2012     $      %  

Segment Cost of Sales (excluding depreciation and amortization):

         

Distributed Generation

   $ 70,354      $ 46,951      $ 23,403         49.8

Utility Infrastructure

     89,908        45,703        44,205         96.7

Energy Efficiency

     38,389        18,299        20,090         109.8

Intersegment Eliminations

     —          —          —           n/m   
  

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

    

Total

$ 198,651    $ 110,953    $ 87,698      79.0
  

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

    

Segment Gross Profit:

Distributed Generation

$ 41,182    $ 29,401    $ 11,781      40.1

Utility Infrastructure

  21,746      15,032      6,714      44.7

Energy Efficiency

  8,655      6,653      2,002      30.1
  

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

    

Total

$ 71,583    $ 51,086    $ 20,497      40.1
  

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

    

Segment Gross Profit Margins:

Distributed Generation

  36.9   38.5

Utility Infrastructure

  19.5   24.8

Energy Efficiency

  18.4   26.7

Total

  26.5   31.5

The 79.0% increase in our consolidated cost of sales and services for 2013 compared to 2012 was driven by the increase in costs associated with the 66.8% increase in sales, the $3.7 million write-down of Energy Efficiency segment inventory in connection with our 2013 restructuring and realignment actions that is included in cost of sales, and other factors discussed below leading to the reduction in our gross profit margin.

Our consolidated gross profit increased $20.5 million, or 40.1%, in 2013 compared to 2012. As a percentage of revenue, our consolidated gross profit margin in 2013 was 26.5%, a decrease of 5.0 percentage points compared to 2012. Our lower gross profit margin in 2013 compared to 2012 was due to the $3.7 million Energy Efficiency segment inventory write-down, in connection with our 2013 restructuring and realignment actions, which is included in Energy Efficiency reporting segment cost of sales, as well as an increase in the amount and percentage of Utility Infrastructure, solar Distributed Generation, and Energy Efficiency Services revenues, which are generally our lower gross margin product and services, in 2013.

In addition, we realized inefficiencies in our Utility Infrastructure unit in 2013 related to the advanced deployment of crews in anticipation of being selected for a significant long-term revenue opportunity with a major new utility partner. These inefficiencies caused us to incur higher levels of personnel and equipment costs in our cost of goods sold as a percentage of our revenues, driving the gross profit margin on our UtilityServices revenue to 17.1% for 2013, and our overall Utility Infrastructure segment gross profit margin to 19.5%. This compares to 24.8% Utility Infrastructure segment gross profit margin in 2012.

Our Distributed Generation segment gross profit margin was 36.9% in 2013 compared to 38.5% in 2012, due to differences in the mix of projects period-to-period. Our Energy Efficiency segment gross profit margin was 18.4% in 2013 compared to 26.7% in 2012 as a result of the $3.7 million inventory write-down in connection with our 2013 restructuring and realignment actions.

 

83


An important driver in the period-over-period change in our consolidated gross profit margin is the relative gross profit margins we generally earn in each of our Distributed Generation, Utility Infrastructure and Energy Efficiency reporting segments. The gross profit margin we realize in each of our reporting segments largely correlates to the amount of value-added products and services we deliver, with highly engineered, turn-key projects realizing higher gross profit margins due to the benefits they deliver our customers and the value we deliver because we are vertically integrated. Because of these gross profit margin differences, changes in the mix of our segment revenues, and individual product lines within those segments, affect our consolidated gross profit margin results.

Operating Expenses

The following table sets forth our consolidated operating expenses for the periods indicated (dollars in thousands):

 

     Year Ended
December 31,
     Period-over-Period
Difference
 
     2013      2012      $      %  

Consolidated Operating Expenses:

           

General and administrative

   $ 47,071       $ 36,201       $ 10,870         30.0

Selling, marketing and service

     7,381         5,560         1,821         32.8

Depreciation and amortization

     7,287         4,780         2,507         52.4

Restructuring charges

     1,205         2,675         (1,470      (55.0 )% 
  

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

    

Total

$ 62,944    $ 49,216    $ 13,728      27.9
  

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

84


The following table sets forth our operating expenses by reportable segment for the periods indicated (dollars in thousands):

 

     Year Ended
December 31,
     Period-over-Period
Difference
 
     2013      2012      $      %  

Distributed Generation:

           

General and administrative

   $ 13,733       $ 11,717       $ 2,016         17.2

Selling, marketing and service

     4,293         1,956         2,337         119.5

Depreciation and amortization

     2,760         2,476         284         11.5

Restructuring charges

     —           1,267         (1,267      (100.0 )% 
  

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

    

Total Distributed Generation operating expenses

$ 20,786    $ 17,416    $ 3,370      19.4
  

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

    

Utility Infrastructure:

General and administrative

$ 10,901    $ 7,855    $ 3,046      38.8

Selling, marketing and service

  1,585      372      1,213      326.1

Depreciation and amortization

  2,658      1,478      1,180      79.8

Restructuring charges

  —        152      (152   (100.0 )% 
  

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

    

Total Utility Infrastructure operating expenses

$ 15,144    $ 9,857    $ 5,287      53.6
  

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

    

Energy Efficiency:

General and administrative

$ 9,674    $ 3,585    $ 6,089      169.8

Selling, marketing and service

  1,369      1,026      343      33.4

Depreciation and amortization

  1,337      392      945      241.1

Restructuring charges

  1,205      436      769      (176.4 )% 
  

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

    

Total Energy Efficiency operating expenses

$ 13,585    $ 5,439    $ 8,146      149.8
  

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

    

Corporate and other:

General and administrative

$ 12,763    $ 13,044    $ (281   (2.2 )% 

Selling, marketing and service

  134      2,206      (2,072   (93.9 )% 

Depreciation and amortization

  532      434      98      22.6

Restructuring charges

  —        820      (820   (100.0 )% 
  

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

    

Total corporate and other unallocated costs

$ 13,429    $ 16,504    $ (3,075   (13.7 )% 
  

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

    

Total consolidated operating expenses

$ 62,944    $ 49,216    $ 13,728      29.6
  

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

    

During 2013, we incurred an aggregate of $8.4 million of incremental operating expenses from our Energy Efficiency Services, Solais and Encari operations, which we acquired at various dates in 2013. In addition, our increase in operating costs was driven by an increase in selling expenses related to our significantly higher revenue and backlog, additional depreciation and amortization from capital expenditures driven by capital expenditures for company-owned Distributed Generation systems, Utility Infrastructure equipment and acquisition related intangibles, and increases in personnel and equipment to drive and support our growth. The increase in personnel and equipment also includes expenses to continue to strengthen our safety resources and programs.

Our operating expenses, excluding the 2013 and 2012 restructuring charges, as a percentage of our revenues decreased by 5.9 percentage points in 2013 compared to 2012, driven by our revenue growth significantly outpacing our operating expense growth. This favorable reduction resulted in part from the actions we took in our 2012 cost reduction program. Our 2013 acquisitions provided additional opportunities to restructure and realign our operations to increase operating margins in our Energy Efficiency segment in particular, as well as other cost reduction opportunities.

 

85


During the fourth quarter 2013, we initiated a business realignment program, taking actions to realign our operations to gain cost and performance efficiencies. These actions, which primarily involved our Energy Efficiency operations, consisted of the sale of manufacturing equipment and parts inventory, reorganization of the leadership roles, re-sourcing the manufacturing of our LED lighting products directly from low-cost manufacturers, and the reduction of our overhead cost structure by eliminating duplicative facilities and personnel, sourcing, warehousing and distribution activities. As a result of these 2013 business realignment initiatives, we incurred pre-tax restructuring charges totaling $4.9 million during 2013. These charges consisted of loss on the disposal of manufacturing equipment and parts inventory, severance and related costs from the elimination of employee positions, inventory write offs, lease abandonments, and long-lived asset impairment charges. The inventory write-offs in the amount of $3.7 million during 2013 are included in cost of sales. The expenses associated with the remaining 2013 business realignment charges totaled $1.2 million during 2013.

During 2012, we initiated actions to restructure and reorganize the organization to streamline operations and set the framework for a more scalable and long-term cost structure. The goal of this 2012 cost reduction program was to reduce expenses as a percentage of revenues and drive improvements in operating margins as revenues grow. As a result of these cost reduction initiatives, we incurred pre-tax restructuring and cost reduction plan charges of $2.7 million during 2012.

General and Administrative Expenses. The 30.0% increase in our consolidated general and administrative expenses in 2013, as compared 2012, was due primarily to an increase in personnel, rent, travel and other expenses to support our increasing levels of revenue and our investments in new business opportunities. Our 2013 consolidated general and administrative expenses, as a percentage of our revenues, decreased by 4.9 percentage points compared to 2012, driven by our strong revenue growth and also positively impacted by our cost reduction initiative executed in 2012. The following table provides further detail of our general and administrative expenses (dollars in thousands):

 

     Year Ended
December 31,
     Period-over-Period
Difference
 
     2013      2012      $      %  

Consolidated General and Administrative Expense:

           

Utility and Energy Technologies:

           

Personnel costs

   $ 27,594       $ 20,449       $ 7,145         34.9

Vehicle lease and rental

     3,026         2,698         328         12.2

Insurance

     1,402         1,243         159         12.8

Rent-office and equipment

     1,448         1,042         406         39.0

Professional fees and consulting

     857         530         327         61.7

Travel

     2,314         1,285         1,029         80.1

Telephone

     940         602         338         56.1

Meals and entertainment

     855         545         310         56.9

Utilities

     346         256         90         35.2

Other

     2,434         2,567         (133      (5.2 )% 

Corporate costs

     5,855         4,984         871         17.5
  

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

    

Total

$ 47,071    $ 36,201    $ 10,870      30.0
  

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

    

The increase in each of the expense categories above during 2013 compared to 2012 was incurred primarily as a result of the incremental general and administrative expenses associated with our 2013 Energy Efficiency Services, Solais and Encari acquisitions.

 

86


The following table provides detail of our general and administrative expenses by reporting segment along with unallocated corporate and other unallocated costs for the periods indicated (dollars in thousands):

 

     Year Ended
December 31,
     Period-over-Period
Difference
 
     2013      2012      $      %  

Segment General and Administrative Expense:

           

Distributed Generation

   $ 13,733       $ 11,717       $ 2,016         17.2

Utility Infrastructure

     10,901         7,855         3,046         38.8

Energy Efficiency

     9,674         3,585         6,089         169.8

Corporate and other unallocated costs

     12,763         13,044         (281      (2.2 )% 
  

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

    

Total

$ 47,071    $ 36,201    $ 10,870      30.0
  

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

    

The 17.2% increase in our 2013 Distributed Generation segment general and administrative expense compared to 2012 was due to increases in personnel costs. The 38.8% increase in our 2013 Utility Infrastructure segment general and administrative expense compared to 2012 was due to increases in personnel and equipment costs in anticipation of higher revenue growth. The 169.8% increase in our 2013 Energy Efficiency segment general and administrative expense compared to 2012 was due to the incremental costs related to our 2013 acquisitions of Solais and the Energy Efficiency Services business.

Selling, Marketing and Service Expenses. The 32.8% increase in consolidated selling, marketing and service expenses in 2013, as compared to 2012, was due to increases in commission, travel, advertising and promotion, driven by our strong revenue growth and revenue backlog. In addition, our increases in revenue and customers resulted in an increase in bad debt expenses. The following table provides further detail of our selling, marketing and service expenses by expense category for the periods indicated (dollars in thousands):

 

     Year Ended
December 31,
     Period-over-Period
Difference
 
     2013      2012      $      %  

Consolidated Selling, Marketing and Service:

           

Utility and Energy Technologies:

           

Salaries

   $ 2,846       $ 2,987       $ (141      (4.7 )% 

Commission

     1,795         1,000         795         79.5

Travel

     1,265         759         506         66.7

Advertising and promotion

     1,134         626         508         81.2

Bad debt expense

     341         188         153         81.4
  

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

    

Total

$ 7,381    $ 5,560    $ 1,821      32.8
  

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

    

The following table provides further detail of our selling, marketing and service expenses by segment for the periods indicated (dollars in thousands):

 

     Year Ended
December 31,
     Period-over-Period
Difference
 
     2013      2012      $      %  

Segment Selling, Marketing and Service Expense:

           

Distributed Generation

   $ 4,293       $ 1,956       $ 2,337         119.5

Utility Infrastructure

     1,585         372         1,213         326.1

Energy Efficiency

     1,369         1,026         343         33.4

Unallocated costs

     134         2,206         (2,072      (93.9 )% 
  

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

    

Total

$ 7,381    $ 5,560    $ 1,821      32.8
  

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

87


Depreciation and Amortization Expenses. The 52.4% increase in consolidated depreciation and amortization expenses in 2013, as compared to 2012, primarily reflects increased depreciation resulting from capital investments during 2012 and 2013, as well as amortization expense associated with acquisition related intangible assets. These capital investments are investments in PowerSecure-owned Distributed Generation systems for projects deployed under our recurring revenue model as well as investments in Utility Infrastructure equipment to support its growth. The following table provides detail of our depreciation and amortization expense by reporting segment for the periods indicated (dollars in thousands):

 

     Year Ended
December 31,
     Period-over-Period
Difference
 
     2013      2012      $      %  

Segment Depreciation and Amortization:

           

Distributed Generation

   $ 2,760       $ 2,476       $ 284         11.5

Utility Infrastructure

     2,658         1,478         1,180         79.8

Energy Efficiency

     1,337         392         945         241.1

Unallocated costs

     532         434         98         22.6
  

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

    

Total

$ 7,287    $ 4,780    $ 2,507      52.4
  

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

    

Restructuring Charges. During 2012, we initiated actions to restructure and reorganize the organization to streamline operations and set the framework for a more scalable and long-term cost structure. The goal of this 2012 cost reduction program was to reduce expenses as a percentage of revenues and drive improvements in operating margins as revenues grow. As a result of these cost reduction initiatives, we incurred pre-tax restructuring and cost reduction plan charges of $2.7 million during 2012.

During 2013, our acquisitions provided us with a new, distinct set of opportunities to restructure and realign our operations to increase operating margins. During the fourth quarter 2013, we initiated business realignment actions to realign our operations to gain cost and performance efficiencies. These actions, which primarily involved our Energy Efficiency operations, consisted of the sale of manufacturing equipment and parts inventory, eliminating certain LED products, reorganization of the leadership roles, re-sourcing the manufacturing of our LED lighting products directly from low-cost manufacturers, and the reduction of our overhead cost structure by eliminating duplicative facilities and personnel involved in production, sourcing, warehousing and distribution activities. As a result of these 2013 business realignment initiatives, we incurred pre-tax restructuring charges totaling $4.9 million in 2013. These charges consisted of loss on the disposal of IES manufacturing equipment and parts inventory, severance and related costs from the elimination of employee positions, inventory write offs, lease abandonments, and long-lived asset impairment charges. The inventory write-offs in the amount of $3.7 million in 2013 are included in cost of sales. The expenses associated with the remaining 2013 business realignment charges totaled $1.2 million in 2013.

Other Income and Expenses

The following table sets forth our other income and expenses for the periods indicated (dollars in thousands):

 

     Year Ended
December 31,
     Period-over-Period
Difference
 
     2013      2012      $      %  

Other Income (Expense):

           

Gain on sale of unconsolidated affiliate

     —           1,439         (1,439      (100.0 )% 

Interest and other income

   $ 81       $ 88       $ (7      (8.0 )% 

Interest expense

     (817      (449      (368      82.0

Income tax benefit (expense)

     (3,672      (850      (2,822      332.0
  

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

    

Total

$ (4,408 $ 228    $ (4,636
  

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

88


Interest and Other Income. The amount of interest and other income during 2013 was consistent compared to 2012.

Interest Expense. Interest expense increased $0.4 million during 2013, as compared to 2012. The increase in our interest expense reflects interest on a $25.0 million term loan that was closed in June 2013, partially offset by a reduction in balances outstanding on our capital lease obligation and our prior existing term loan due to regular payments made on those obligations over the year.

Gain on Sale of Unconsolidated Affiliate. Gain on sale of unconsolidated affiliate consists of our minority ownership share of the gain recognized by us related to the sale of substantially all of the assets and business of Marcum Midstream 1995-2 Business Trust, which we refer to as MM 1995-2, in June 2011. At the time of the sale, MM 1995-2 deferred $4.0 million of the gain until such time as certain contingencies associated with the sale were eliminated and the associated escrowed sales proceeds were received. These contingencies expired and were resolved in the second quarter 2012 and $3.9 million of the funds that were placed into escrow were released. In June 2012, we received our share of the escrowed sales proceeds and recorded a corresponding gain in the amount of $1.4 million during 2012. There was no similar gain in 2013.

Income Taxes. Our overall effective tax rate of 46.5% in 2013 increased compared to the 28.8% effective tax rate in 2012. The increase in the effective tax rate reflects the reduction in deferred tax assets associated with stock compensation and net operating loss carryforwards due to our consistent profitability. Our overall income tax expense in 2013 increased, as compared to 2012, due to the increase in our pre-tax income and an increase in our effective tax rate.

Non-controlling Interest. The non-controlling interest we recorded during 2013 and 2012 represents the minority shareholders’ equity in the income or loss of PowerSecure Solar and IES and is reflected as a reduction or addition to net income or losses to derive income or loss attributable to PowerSecure International stockholders. In May 2013, we acquired the minority shareholder interests in each of these entities. As a result of these non-controlling interest acquisitions, both PowerSecure Solar and IES are now wholly-owned subsidiaries and there are no more non-controlling interests. The decrease in the addition for the non-controlling interest in the loss of our majority-owned subsidiaries in 2013, as compared to 2012, is a result of our acquisition of the non-controlling interests in May 2013.

Liquidity and Capital Resources

Overview

We have historically financed our operations and growth primarily through a combination of cash on hand, cash generated from operations, borrowings under credit facilities, leasing, and proceeds from sales of equity. On a going forward basis, we expect to require capital primarily to finance our:

 

    operations;

 

    inventory;

 

    accounts receivable;

 

    property and equipment expenditures, including capital expenditures related to Distributed Generation PowerSecure-owned recurring revenue projects;

 

    software purchases or development;

 

    debt service requirements;

 

    lease obligations;

 

    deferred compensation obligations;

 

    restructuring and cost reduction obligations;

 

    acquisitions and other business transactions; and

 

    stock repurchases.

 

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Working Capital

At December 31, 2014, we had working capital of $70.8 million, including $33.8 million in cash and cash equivalents, compared to working capital of $105.1 million, including $50.9 million in cash and cash equivalents at December 31, 2013. During 2014, our working capital balances, including our cash and cash equivalents, have been affected by our progress towards completion of two utility-scale solar Distributed Generation projects that we were awarded in July 2014. Because the solar panels (which we acquire from a third-party supplier) are a material component of the project costs, there are periods when our purchase obligations are due in advance of progress payments from our customer. The timing of cash payments to our panel supplier and cash receipts from our customer have affected the balances of our cash and cash equivalents, accounts receivable, inventory, accounts payable and accrued expenses. We expect similar effects in 2015 and beyond as we move further towards completion of these utility-scale solar Distributed Generation projects, and the effects on our working capital, including our cash and cash equivalents, may be material.

Changes in the components of our working capital during 2014, 2013 and 2012 are explained in greater detail below. At both December 31, 2014 and December 31, 2013, we had $20.0 million of available and unused borrowing capacity from our revolving credit facility. The availability of this capacity under our credit facility includes restrictions on the use of proceeds, and is dependent upon our ability to satisfy certain financial and operating covenants including financial ratios, as discussed below.

Cash Flows

The following table summarizes our cash flows for the periods indicated (dollars in thousands):

 

     Year Ended December 31,  
     2014      2013      2012  

Net cash provided by (used in) operating activities

   $ 12,056       $ (2,164    $ 10,852   

Net cash used in investing activities

     (26,182      (23,750      (12,779

Net cash provided by (used in) financing activities

     (3,014      57,707         (3,557
  

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

 

Net increase (decrease) in cash and cash equivalents

$ (17,140 $ 31,793    $ (5,484
  

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

 

Cash Provided by (Used in) Operating Activities

Cash provided by (used in) operating activities consists primarily of net income (loss) adjusted for certain non-cash items including depreciation and amortization and stock-based compensation expenses. Cash provided by (used in) operating activities also include the effect of changes in working capital and other activities.

Cash provided by operating activities during 2014 was approximately $12.1 million and consisted of $8.0 million provided by changes in working capital balances and $11.1 million of non-cash operating expenses partially offset by our net loss of $7.0 million. The non-cash items consisted primarily of $8.9 million of depreciation and amortization expense and $2.1 million of stock compensation expense. Cash provided by working capital and other activities consisted primarily of a $8.6 million reduction in accounts receivable and increases in accounts payable and accrued and other liabilities in the amount of $15.3 million and $8.0 million, respectively. The cash provided by these working capital account changes were partially offset by increases in inventory of $17.7 million, a $4.4 million reduction in net deferred tax liabilities, and a net $1.8 million change in other current and noncurrent assets and liabilities. The increase in inventory was primarily due to a $7.5 million increase related to the recently awarded utility-scale solar Distributed Generation projects, a $7.4 million increase in equipment inventory related to our more traditional Distributed Generation operations, and a $2.8 million increase in our LED inventory. The fluctuations in our accounts receivable, accounts payable and our accrued and other liabilities is a function of the timing of customer remittances, payments to our vendors, and our inventory, advance billings and accrued project costs on projects in process, respectively. These working capital accounts can and do fluctuate significantly from period to period, depending on the timing and size of individual projects.

Cash used in operating activities during 2013 was approximately $2.2 million and consisted of net cash of $14.5 million used by working capital and other activities, partially offset by our net income from continuing operations of $4.2 million and non-cash items of $8.1 million. The non-cash items consisted of depreciation and amortization, stock compensation expense and a loss from the sale of miscellaneous assets. Cash used by working

 

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capital and other activities consisted primarily of increases in our accounts receivable of $26.0 million, a decrease of accrued and other liabilities of $2.5 million, and a net $1.7 million increase in other current and noncurrent assets and liabilities, partially offset by a $4.2 million reduction in inventories, a $8.2 million increase in accounts payable and a $3.3 million increase in net deferred tax liabilities. The increases in our accounts receivable and accounts payable and the reduction of our inventories reflects the growth in our revenues and business activity in 2013 as compared to 2012, as our revenues and cost of sales increased $108.2 million, or 66.8%, and $87.7 million, or 79.0%, respectively, in 2013 compared to 2012. The increase in our accrued and other liabilities is a function of the timing of our advance billings and accrued project costs on projects in process, which can fluctuate significantly from period to period, depending on the timing and size of individual projects.

Cash provided by operating activities during 2012 was approximately $10.9 million and consisted of our net income from continuing operations of $2.2 million, non-cash items of $4.2 million, net cash of $4.1 million provided by working capital and other activities, and $0.3 million of cash provided by our discontinued operations. The non-cash items consisted primarily of depreciation and amortization and stock compensation expense, partially offset by the $1.4 million gain from the sale of our unconsolidated affiliate. The cash provided by working capital and other activities was driven primarily by a $13.2 million increase in our accounts payable and accrued and other liabilities and a net $0.6 million reduction in other current and noncurrent assets and liabilities, partially offset by a $9.7 million increase in our accounts receivable, primarily driven by our growth.

Cash Used in Investing Activities

Cash used in investing activities was $26.2 million in 2014, $23.7 million in 2013, and $12.8 million in 2012. Historically, our principal cash investments have related to the acquisition and installation of equipment related to our recurring revenue sales, the acquisition of businesses or technologies, the purchase of equipment used in our production facilities, and the acquisitions of certain contract rights. During 2014, we used $7.0 million to purchase and install equipment at our recurring revenue Distributed Generation sites, we used $5.8 million principally to acquire operational assets, we used $13.8 million to acquire the Mission Critical Energy Services business from PDI and the electrical contracting business from Apex, and we received $0.5 million cash proceeds from the sale of property plant and equipment. During 2013, we used $14.3 million as partial consideration to acquire the Energy Efficiency Services, Solais Lighting, PowerLine and Encari businesses, we used $5.1 million to purchase and install equipment at our recurring revenue Distributed Generation sites, and we used $4.5 million principally to acquire operational assets. During 2012, we used $3.5 to million to acquire a 90% ownership interest in PowerSecure Solar, we used $3.9 million to purchase and install equipment at our recurring revenue Distributed Generation sites, we used $6.8 million principally to acquire operational assets, and we received $1.4 million from the sale of our WaterSecure operations.

Cash Provided by (Used in) Financing Activities

Cash used in financing activities was $3.0 million in 2014 and $3.6 million in 2012, while cash provided by financing activities was $57.7 million in 2013. During 2014, we used $4.7 million to make scheduled payments on our capital lease and term loan obligations, we used $0.4 million to repurchase shares of our common stock and we received $2.1 million from the exercise of stock options. During 2013, we received $34.4 million from the net proceeds of the public offering of 2.3 million shares of our common stock in August 2013, we received $25.0 million from the proceeds of a term loan under our credit facility in June 2013, we received $1.2 million from the exercise of stock options and we used $2.8 million to make scheduled payments on our capital lease and term loan obligations. During 2012, we received $2.4 million proceeds from a term loan, we used $5.3 million to repurchase shares of our common stock, we used $1.0 million to repay our capital lease and term loan obligations and we received $0.3 million from the exercise of stock options.

Capital Spending

Our capital expenditures during 2014 were approximately $12.8 million, of which we used $7.0 million to purchase and install equipment for our PowerSecure-owned recurring revenue Distributed Generation systems, and we used $5.8 million to purchase equipment and other capital items, primarily to support the growth of our Utility Infrastructure products and services. Our capital expenditures during 2013 were approximately $9.6 million, of which we used $5.1 million to purchase and install equipment for our PowerSecure-owned recurring revenue Distributed Generation systems, and we used $4.5 million to purchase equipment and other capital items, primarily to support the growth of our Utility Infrastructure product and services. Our capital expenditures during 2012 were approximately $10.7 million, of which we used $3.9 million to purchase and install equipment for our PowerSecure-owned recurring revenue Distributed Generation systems, and we used $6.8 million to purchase equipment and other capital items, primarily to support the growth of our Utility Infrastructure products and services.

 

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We anticipate making total capital expenditures of approximately $12 million in 2015, including capital expenditures for our company-owned Distributed Generation systems deployed under long-term recurring revenue contracts, and operational assets, particularly for equipment used in our Utility Infrastructure business. Customer demand for our Distributed Generation systems under recurring revenue contract arrangements, and economic and financial conditions could cause us to reduce or increase those capital expenditures. The majority of our capital spending has to date been and will continue to be used for investments in assets related to our recurring revenue projects as well as equipment to support the growth of our Utility Infrastructure product and services.

Indebtedness

Long-term credit facility. We have a long-term credit facility with Citibank, N.A., as administrative agent and lender, and other lenders under a credit agreement that we first entered into with our lenders in August 2007 and have amended and restated from time-to-time. At December 31, 2014 and 2013, our credit agreement with Citibank along with Branch Banking and Trust Company, referred to as BB&T, as additional lender, consisted of a $20.0 million senior, first-priority secured revolving line of credit maturing on November 12, 2016, a $2.6 million term loan maturing on November 12, 2016, and a $25.0 million, 7 year amortizing term loan maturing on September 30, 2020. The credit agreement is guaranteed by all our active subsidiaries and is secured by the assets of us and those subsidiaries.

In July 2014, our credit agreement was amended to increase the letter of credit sublimit from $5.0 million to $12.0 million. The letter of credit sublimit, pursuant to which the lenders may issue letters of credit on our behalf to provide security arrangements to third parties on our behalf, is part of, but not an addition to, our $20.0 million revolver under the credit agreement. In conjunction with this amendment, our lenders issued a $12.0 million letter of credit to our bonding surety to support our bonding arrangements under two contracts to construct two utility-scale solar energy projects for a major utility. Our bonding surety released the $12.0 million letter of credit in August 2014 upon receipt of acceptable supply bonding from the solar panel manufacturer that is supplying panels for these projects.

The credit facility contains three basic financial covenants, two of which were amended in October 2014. Under the amended credit agreement, if cash on hand does not exceed funded indebtedness by at least $5.0 million, then our minimum fixed charge coverage ratio must be in excess of 1.25, where the fixed charge coverage ratio is defined as the ratio of the aggregate of our consolidated EBITDA plus our lease expense minus our taxes based on income and payable in cash, divided by the sum of our consolidated interest charges plus our lease expenses plus our scheduled principal payments and dividends, computed over the previous period. For the fiscal quarters ending December 31, 2014 and March 31, 2015, the fixed charge coverage ratio will be based on our financial results for the third quarter 2014 and subsequent fiscal quarters. For the fiscal quarter ending June 30, 2015 and thereafter, the fixed charge coverage ratio will be based on our financial results for the previous four fiscal quarters on a rolling basis. In addition, we are required to maintain a minimum consolidated net worth, computed on a quarterly basis, of not less than the sum of $142.1 million, plus an amount equal to 50% of our net income each fiscal year commencing with the year ending December 31, 2014, with no reduction for any net loss in any fiscal year, plus 90% of any equity we raise through the sale of equity interests, less the amount of any non-cash charges or losses. Under our third financial covenant, which was not amended, the ratio of our funded indebtedness to our capitalization, computed as funded indebtedness divided by the sum of funded indebtedness plus stockholders equity, cannot exceed 25%. As of December 31, 2014, we were in compliance with these financial covenants.

 

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The following table summarizes the balances outstanding on our long-term debt, including our revolving line of credit, with Citibank and BB&T at December 31, 2014 and 2013:

 

     December 31,  
     2014      2013  

Revolving line of credit, maturing November 12, 2016

   $ —         $ —     

Term loan, principal of $0.04 million plus interest payable quarterly at variable rates, maturing November 12, 2016

     1,920         2,080   

Term loan, principal of $0.9 million plus interest payable quarterly at variable rates, maturing June 30, 2020

     19,643         23,214   
  

 

 

    

 

 

 

Total debt

  21,563      25,294   

Less: Current portion

  (3,731   (3,731
  

 

 

    

 

 

 

Long-term debt, net of current portion

$ 17,832    $ 21,563   
  

 

 

    

 

 

 

We have used, and intend to continue to use, the proceeds available under the credit facility to support our growth and future investments in Company-owned Distributed Generation projects, additional UtilityServices equipment, working capital, other capital expenditures, acquisitions and general corporate purposes.

Outstanding balances under the credit facility bear interest, at our discretion, at either the London Interbank Offered Rate, or LIBOR, for the corresponding deposits of U. S. Dollars plus an applicable margin, which is on a sliding scale ranging from 2.00% to 3.25% based upon our leverage ratio, or at Citibank’s alternate base rate plus an applicable margin, on a sliding scale ranging from 0.25% to 1.50% based upon our leverage ratio. Letters of credit issued on our behalf bear interest at LIBOR plus the applicable margin. Our leverage ratio is the ratio of our funded indebtedness as of a given date, net of our cash on hand in excess of $5.0 million, to our consolidated EBITDA, as defined in the credit agreement, as amended. Citibank’s alternate base rate is equal to the higher of the Federal Funds Rate as published by the Federal Reserve of New York plus 0.50%, Citibank’s prime commercial lending rate and 30 day LIBOR plus 1.00%.

Scheduled remaining principal payments on our outstanding debt obligations at December 31, 2014, are as follows:

 

Scheduled Principal Payments for

the Year Ending December 31:

   Revolving
Line of
Credit
     $25.0 Million
Term Loan
     $2.6 Million
Term Loan
     Total
Principal
Payments
 

2015

   $ —         $ 3,571       $ 160       $ 3,731   

2016

     —           3,571         1,760         5,331   

2017

     —           3,572         —           3,572   

2018

     —           3,572         —           3,572   

2019 and thereafter

     —           5,357         —           5,357   
  

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

 

Total scheduled principal payments

$ —      $ 19,643    $ 1,920    $ 21,563   
  

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

 

In July 2013, we entered into two forward-starting interest rate swap contracts based on three-month LIBOR that effectively converted 80% of the outstanding balance of our $25 million Term Loan to fixed rate debt. We have designated the interest rate swaps as a cash flow hedge of the interest payments due on our floating rate debt. Accordingly, at December 31, 2014, $15.7 million of our outstanding debt bears interest at a fixed rate of 3.73% and $5.9 million of our outstanding debt bears interest at floating rates as described above. The termination dates of the swap contracts and the maturity date of the $25 million Term Loan are both June 30, 2020.

The credit facility contains customary terms and conditions for credit facilities of this type, including restrictions or limits on our ability to incur additional indebtedness, create liens, enter into transactions with affiliates, pay dividends on our capital stock, repurchase stock, and consolidate or merge with other entities. In addition, the credit agreement contains customary events of default, including payment defaults, breach of representations and warranties, covenant defaults, cross-defaults, certain bankruptcy or insolvency events, judgment defaults and certain ERISA-related events.

 

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Our obligations under the credit facility are secured by guarantees and security agreements by each of our active subsidiaries, including PowerSecure, Inc. These guarantees guaranty all of our obligations under the credit facility, and the security agreements grant to the lenders a first priority security interest in virtually all of the assets of each guarantor.

There was an aggregate balance of $21.6 million outstanding under the two term loans under our credit facility as of December 31, 2014. There were no balances outstanding on the revolving portion of the credit facility at, or during the year ended, December 31, 2014 or at March 4, 2015. In addition, there were no outstanding letters of credit reducing the amount available to borrow under the revolving portion of the credit facility at December 31, 2014 or at March 4, 2015. Accordingly, we currently have $20.0 million available to borrow under the revolving portion of the credit facility. The availability of capital under our credit facility includes restrictions on the use of proceeds, and is dependent upon our ability to satisfy certain financial and operating covenants, as described above.

Capital Lease Obligation. We have a capital lease with SunTrust Equipment Finance and Leasing (as lessor) from the sale and leaseback of Distributed Generation equipment placed in service at customer locations. We received $5.9 million from the sale of the equipment in December 2008 which we are repaying under the terms of the lease with monthly principal and interest payments of $0.1 million over a period of 84 months. At the expiration of the term of the lease in December 2015, we have the option to purchase the equipment for $1 dollar, assuming no default under the lease by us has occurred and is then continuing. The lease is guaranteed by us under an equipment lease guaranty. The lease and the lease guaranty constitute permitted indebtedness under our current credit agreement. 

Proceeds of the lease financing were used to finance capital investments in equipment for our recurring revenue Distributed Generation projects. We account for the lease financing as a capital lease in our consolidated financial statements.

The lease provides us with limited rights, subject to the lessor’s approval which will not be unreasonably withheld, to relocate and substitute equipment during its term. The lease contains representations and warranties and covenants relating to the use and maintenance of the equipment, indemnification and events of default customary for leases of this nature. The lease also grants to the lessor certain remedies upon a default, including the right to cancel the lease, to accelerate all rent payments for the remainder of the term of the lease, to recover liquidated damages, or to repossess and re-lease, sell or otherwise dispose of the equipment.

Under the lease guaranty, we have unconditionally guaranteed the obligation of our PowerSecure subsidiary under the lease for the benefit of the lessor. Our capital lease obligation at December 31, 2014 was $1.0 million.

Preferred Stock Redemption. The terms of our Series B preferred stock required us to redeem all shares of our Series B preferred stock that remained outstanding on December 9, 2004 at a redemption price equal to the liquidation preference of $1 thousand per share plus accumulated and unpaid dividends. Our remaining redemption obligation at December 31, 2014, to holders of outstanding shares of Series B preferred stock that have not been redeemed, is $0.1 million.

Contractual Obligations and Commercial Commitments

We incur various contractual obligations and commercial commitments in our normal course of business, reflected in the table below including:

 

    we lease certain office space, operating facilities and equipment under long-term lease agreements;

 

    in June 2013, we completed a $25.0 million term loan under our credit facility;

 

    to the extent we borrow under the revolving portion of our credit facility, we are obligated to make future payments under that facility;

 

    we have an obligation to make installment payments on the PowerLine acquisition;

 

    we have contingent earn-out payments potentially due on our recent acquisition of the Mission Critical Energy Services business of PDI and the electrical contracting business of Apex;

 

    we have restructuring and cost reduction obligations; and

 

    we have a deferred compensation obligation.

 

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In addition, at December 31, 2014, we had a liability for unrecognized tax benefits and related interest and penalties totaling $0.5 million. We do not expect a significant payment related to these obligations within the next year and we are unable to make a reasonably reliable estimate if and when cash settlement with a taxing authority would occur. Accordingly, the information in the table below, which is as of December 31, 2014, does not include the liability for unrecognized tax benefits (dollars in thousands):

 

     Payments Due by Period  

Contractual Obligations

   Total      Less than
1 Year
     1 - 3 Years      4 - 5 Years      More than
5 Years
 

Revolving portion of credit facility (1)

   $ —         $ —         $ —         $ —         $ —     

Term loans (2)

     22,979         4,215         9,555         7,408         1,801   

Capital lease obligations (2)

     1,015         1,015         —           —           —     

Operating leases

     22,868         6,181         10,024         5,260         1,403   

Deferred compensation (3)

     3,137         3,137         —           —           —     

Installment payments due on acquisition

     440         110         220         110         —     

Earn-out payments due on acquisition (4)

     2,450         2,000         450         —           —     

Series B preferred stock

     104         104         —           —           —     

Restructuring and cost reduction obligations

     114         114         —           —           —     
  

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

 

Total

$ 53,107    $ 16,876    $ 20,249    $ 12,778    $ 3,204   
  

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

 

 

(1) Total repayments are based upon borrowings outstanding as of December 31, 2014, not actual or projected borrowings after such date. Repayments do not included interest that may become due and payable in any future period.
(2) Repayments amounts include interest on the term loans at the interest rate in effect as of December 31, 2014 and on the capital lease obligation at the interest rate per the agreement.
(3) Total amount represents our potential obligation on the deferred compensation arrangement, based on the first date it could commence (which is earlier than the expected date of commencement), and does not include the value of the restricted annuity contract, or interest earnings thereon, that we purchased to fund our obligation.
(4) Total amount represents the undiscounted probability-weighted estimate of the earn-out payments due. Actual total payment amount ranges from $0 to $2.5 million, dependent on achievement of certain backlog or gross profit targets of the acquired businesses.

Performance Bonds and Letters of Credit

In the ordinary course of business, we are required by certain customers to post surety or performance bonds or letters of credit in connection with services that we provide to them. These bonds and letters of credit provide a guarantee to the customer that we will perform under the terms of a contract and that we will pay subcontractors and vendors. If we fail to perform under a contract or to pay subcontractors and vendors, the customer may demand that the surety, in the case of a performance bond, or our lenders, in the case of a letter of credit, make payments or provide services under the bond. We must reimburse the surety or our lenders for any expenses or outlays they incur. We have not been required to make any reimbursements to our sureties for bond-related costs, and we do not currently expect that we will have to fund significant claims under our surety arrangements in the foreseeable future. As of December 31, 2014, we had approximately $265.0 million in surety bonds outstanding and no letters of credit outstanding. Based upon the current status of our contracts and projects, we estimate our exposure on our outstanding surety bonds was approximately $120.3 million at December 31, 2014.

Off-Balance Sheet Arrangements

During 2014, we did not engage in any material off-balance sheet activities or have any relationships or arrangements with unconsolidated entities established for the purpose of facilitating off-balance sheet arrangements or other contractually narrow or limited purposes and we did not guaranty any obligations of unconsolidated entities or have any commitment or intent to provide additional funding to any such entities.

 

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Liquidity

At December 31, 2014, we had $33.8 million in cash and cash equivalents, total working capital of $70.8 million, and another $20 million available for borrowing under our credit facility. Based upon our plans and assumptions as of the date of this report, we believe that our capital resources, including our cash and cash equivalents, amounts available under our credit facility, along with funds expected to be generated from our operations, will be sufficient to meet our anticipated cash needs, including for working capital, capital spending and debt service commitments, for at least the next 12 months. However, any projections of future cash needs and cash flows are subject to substantial risks and uncertainties. See “Cautionary Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements” above in this report and “Item 1A. Risk Factors”.

Although we believe that we have sufficient capital to fund our activities and commitments for at least the next 12 months, our future cash resources and capital requirements may vary materially from those now planned. Our ability to meet our capital needs in the future will depend on many factors, including a reduction in revenues if the demand for our products and services decreases, the timing of sales, the mix of products and services and other factors affecting our gross margins, the amount of recurring revenue projects in which we invest, our ability to meet our financial covenants under our credit facility, unanticipated events over which we have no control increasing our operating costs or reducing our revenues beyond our current expectations, and other factors listed above under “—Uncertainties, Trends and Risks that can cause Fluctuations in our Operating Results” above. For these reasons, we cannot provide any assurance that our actual cash requirements will not be greater than we currently expect or that these sources of liquidity will be available when needed.

During 2014, our working capital balances, including our cash and cash equivalents, have been affected by our progress towards completion of two utility-scale solar Distributed Generation projects that we were awarded in July 2014. Because the solar panels (which we acquire from a third-party supplier) are a material component of the project costs, there are periods when our purchase obligations are due in advance of progress payments from our customer. The timing of cash payments to our panel supplier and cash receipts from our customer have affected the balances of our cash and cash equivalents, accounts receivable, inventory, accounts payable and accrued expenses. We expect similar effects in 2015 and beyond as we move further towards completion of these utility-scale solar Distributed Generation projects, and the effects on our cash resources may be material.

We also continually evaluate opportunities to expand our current or to develop new products, services, technology and businesses that could increase our capital needs. In addition, from time to time we consider the acquisition of, or the investment in, complementary businesses, products, services and technology that might affect our liquidity requirements. We may seek to raise any needed or desired additional capital from the proceeds of public or private equity or debt offerings at the parent level or at the subsidiary level or both, from asset or business sales, from traditional credit financings or from other financing sources. Furthermore, we continually evaluate opportunities to improve our credit facilities, through increased credit availability, lower debt costs or other more favorable terms. However, our ability to obtain additional capital or replace or improve our credit facilities when needed or desired will depend on many factors, including general economic and market conditions, our operating performance and investor and lender sentiment, and thus cannot be assured. In addition, depending on how it is structured, a financing could require the consent of our current lending group. Even if we are able to raise additional capital, the terms of any financings could be adverse to the interests of our stockholders. For example, the terms of a debt financing could restrict our ability to operate our business or to expand our operations, while the terms of an equity financing, involving the issuance of capital stock or of securities convertible into capital stock, could dilute the percentage ownership interests of our stockholders, and the new capital stock or other new securities could have rights, preferences or privileges senior to those of our current stockholders.

Accordingly, we cannot provide any assurance that sufficient additional funds will be available to us if needed or desired or that, if available, such funds can be obtained on terms favorable to us and our stockholders and acceptable to those parties who must consent to the financing. Our inability to obtain sufficient additional capital on a timely basis on favorable terms when needed or desired could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

 

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Critical Accounting Policies

Management’s discussion and analysis of our financial condition and results of operations are based on our consolidated financial statements, which have been prepared in accordance with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States of America. The preparation of these financial statements requires management to make estimates, judgments and assumptions that affect the reported amounts of assets and liabilities and disclosure of contingent assets and liabilities at the date of the financial statements and the reported amounts of revenues and expenses during the reporting period. On an on-going basis, we evaluate our estimates, including those related to revenue recognition and percentage of completion, fixed price contracts, product returns, warranty obligations, bad debt, inventories, cancellations costs associated with long term commitments, incentive compensation, investments, intangible assets, assets subject to disposal, income taxes, restructuring, service contracts, contingencies and litigation. We base our estimates and judgments on historical experience and on various other assumptions that we believe are reasonable under the circumstances, the results of which form the basis for making estimates and judgments about the carrying value of assets and liabilities that are not readily apparent from other sources. Estimates, by their nature, are based on judgment and available information and, in some cases, could change from period to period. Therefore, actual results could differ from those estimates, and those differences could have a material impact on our financial condition and results of operations.

We have identified the accounting principles which we believe are most critical to understanding our reported financial results by considering accounting policies that involve the most complex or subjective decisions or assessments. These accounting policies described below include:

 

    revenue recognition;

 

    allowance for doubtful accounts;

 

    inventory valuation reserve;

 

    warranty reserve;

 

    impairment of goodwill and long-lived assets;

 

    deferred tax valuation allowance;

 

    uncertain tax positions;

 

    costs of exit or disposal activities and similar nonrecurring charges;

 

    stock-based compensation; and

 

    derivative financial instruments.

Further information about our significant accounting polices is included in note 2 of the notes to our consolidated financial statements beginning on page F-1 of this report.

Revenue Recognition. For our turn-key Distributed Generation projects, our Mission Critical Energy Services projects, our Utility Infrastructure projects, and our Energy Efficiency Services projects, we recognize revenue and profit as work progresses using the percentage-of-completion method, which relies on various estimates. These turn-key Distributed Generation, Mission Critical Energy Services, Utility Infrastructure, and Energy Efficiency Services projects are nearly always fixed-price contracts.

In applying the percentage-of-completion method to our Distributed Generation turn-key projects, including our traditional Distributed Generation projects and our solar projects, we have identified the key output project phases that are standard components of these projects. We have further identified, based on past experience, an estimate of the value of each of these output phases based on a combination of the costs incurred and the value added to the overall project. While the order of these phases varies depending on the project, each of these output phases is necessary to complete each project and each phase is an integral part of the turn-key product solution we deliver to our customers. We use these output phases and percentages to measure our progress toward completion of our construction projects. For each reporting period, the status of each project, by phase, is determined by employees who are managers of or are otherwise directly involved with the project, and this determination is reviewed by our accounting personnel. Utilizing this information, we recognize project revenues and associated project costs and gross profit based on the percentage associated with output phases that are complete or in process on each of our projects.

In applying the percentage-of-completion method to our Mission Critical Energy Services, Utility Infrastructure turn-key projects and our Energy Efficiency Services projects, revenues and gross profit are recognized as work is performed based on the relationship between actual costs incurred and total estimated costs at completion.

 

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In all cases where we utilize the percentage-of-completion method, revenues and gross profit are adjusted prospectively for revisions in estimated total contract costs and contract values. Estimated losses, if any, are recorded when identified. While a project is in process, amounts billed to customers in excess of revenues recognized to date are classified as current liabilities. Likewise, amounts recognized as revenue in excess of actual billings to date are recorded as unbilled accounts receivable. In the event adjustments are made to the contract price, including, for example, adjustments for additional scope, we adjust the purchase price and related costs for these items when they are identified.

Because the percentage-of-completion method of accounting relies upon estimates described above, recognized revenues and profits are subject to revision as a project progresses to completion. Revisions in profit estimates are recorded to income in the period in which the facts that give rise to the revision become known. In the event we are required to adjust any particular project’s estimated revenues or costs, the effect on the current period earnings may or may not be significant. If, however, conditions arise that require us to adjust our estimated revenues or costs for a series of similar construction projects, the effect on current period earnings would more likely be significant. In addition, certain contracts contain cancellation provisions permitting the customer to cancel the contract prior to completion of a project. Such cancellation provisions generally require the customer to pay/reimburse us for costs we incurred on the project, but may result in an adjustment to profit already recognized in a prior period.

We recognize equipment and product revenue when persuasive evidence of a commercial arrangement exists, delivery has occurred and/or services have been rendered, the price is fixed or determinable, and collectability is reasonably assured. Equipment and product sales are generally made directly to end users of the product, who are responsible for payment for the product, although in some instances we can be a subcontractor, which occurs most frequently on larger jobs that involve more scope than our products and services.

Service revenue includes regulatory consulting and rate design services, power system engineering services, energy conservation services, and monitoring and maintenance services. Revenues from these services are recognized when the service is performed and the customer has accepted the work.

Additionally, our Utility Infrastructure business provides services to utilities involving construction, maintenance, and upgrades to their electrical transmission and distribution systems which is not fixed price turn-key project-based work. These services are delivered by us under contracts which are generally of two types. In the first type, we are paid a fee based on the number of units of work we complete, an example of which could be the number of utility transmission poles we replace. In the second type, we are paid for the time and materials utilized to complete the work, plus a profit margin. In both cases, we recognize revenue as these services are delivered.

Revenues for our recurring revenue Distributed Generation projects are recognized over the term of the contract or when energy savings are realized by the customer at its site. Under these arrangements, we provide utilities and their customers with access to PowerSecure-owned and operated Distributed Generation systems, for standby power and to deliver peak shaving benefits. These contracts can involve multiple parties, with one party paying us for the value of backup power (usually, but not always, a commercial, industrial, or institutional customer), and one party paying us a fee or credit for the value of the electrical capacity provided by the system during peak power demand (either the customer or a utility).

Sales of certain goods and services sometimes involve the provision of multiple deliverables. Revenues from contracts with multiple deliverables are recognized as each element is earned based on the selling price for each deliverable. The selling price for each deliverable is generally based on our selling price for that deliverable on a stand-alone basis, third-party evidence if we do not sell that deliverable on a stand-alone basis, or an estimated selling price if neither specific selling prices nor third-party evidence exists.

Allowance for Doubtful Accounts. We maintain allowances for doubtful accounts for estimated losses resulting from the inability of our customers to make required payments. We assess the customer’s ability to pay based on a number of factors, including our past transaction history with the customer and the credit worthiness of the customer. Management regularly analyzes accounts receivable and historical bad debts, customer credit-worthiness, customer concentrations, current economic trends, and changes in our customer payment patterns when we evaluate the adequacy of our allowances for doubtful accounts. We estimate the collectability of our accounts receivable and establish necessary reserves on an account-by-account basis. In addition, we also provide for a general reserve for all accounts receivable. If the financial condition of our customers were to deteriorate in the

 

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future, resulting in an impairment of their ability to make payments, additional allowances may be required. In addition, since a large portion of our receivables are due from major customers or from customers for whom the project represents a major capital expenditure, significant adverse changes to the financial condition of these customers may result in significant adjustments to our allowance.

Inventory Valuation Reserve. We maintain an inventory valuation reserve primarily for raw materials, equipment and supplies and certain work in process inventory items that may be in excess of our needs, obsolete or damaged and requiring repair or re-work. We perform periodic assessments of inventory that includes a review of quantities on hand, component demand requirements, product lifecycle and product development plans, and quality issues. As a result of this assessment, we write-down inventory for estimated losses due to obsolescence, scrap, theft and unmarketability equal to the difference between the cost of the inventory and the estimated market value based on assumptions and estimates concerning future demand, market conditions and similar factors. If actual demand and market conditions are less favorable than those estimated by management, additional inventory write-downs may be required.

Warranty Reserve. We provide a standard one year warranty for our Distributed Generation, switchgear, Utility Infrastructure, and Energy Efficiency Services equipment and a 5 to 10 year warranty for our LED lighting-based products. In certain cases, we offer extended warranty terms for those product lines. In addition, we provide longer warranties for our PowerSecure Solar products and services including a warranty period of generally 1 to 5 years for defects in material and workmanship, a warranty period that can extend to 10 to 20 years for declines in power performance, and a warranty period which can extend to 15 to 25 years on the functionality of solar panels which is generally backed by the panel manufacturer. We reserve for the estimated cost of product warranties when revenue is recognized, and we evaluate our reserve periodically by comparing our warranty repair experience by product. The purchase price for extended warranties or for extended warranties included in the contract terms are deferred as a component of our warranty reserve. We reserve for the estimated cost of product warranties when revenue is recognized, and we evaluate our reserve periodically by comparing our warranty repair experience by product. The purchase price for extended warranties or extended warranties included in the contract terms are deferred as a component of our warranty reserve. While we engage in product quality programs and processes, including monitoring and evaluating the quality of our components suppliers, our warranty obligation is affected by actual product failure rates, parts and equipment costs and service labor costs incurred in correcting a product failure. In addition, our operating history in the Distributed Generation, switchgear, and LED-lighting markets are limited. Should actual product failure rates, parts and equipment costs, or service labor costs differ from our estimates, revisions to the estimated warranty liability would be required.

Impairment of Goodwill and Long-Lived Assets. We review our goodwill for impairment annually. We review long-lived assets, such as property and equipment for impairment whenever events or changes in circumstances indicate that the carrying amount of an asset may not be recoverable. In assessing the recoverability of goodwill and long-lived assets, we use estimates of future cash flows and other factors to determine the fair value of these assets. For goodwill, our impairment evaluation includes a comparison of the carrying value of the reporting unit which carries the goodwill to that reporting unit’s fair value. The fair value of each reporting unit is based upon an estimate of the net present value of future cash flows, as well as other valuation techniques. If the reporting unit’s estimated fair value exceeds the reporting unit’s carrying value, no impairment of goodwill exists. If the fair value of the reporting unit does not exceed its carrying value, then further analysis is required to determine the amount of goodwill impairment, if any. We completed our most recent annual testing of the impairment of goodwill as of October 1, 2014. As a result of the test, we concluded that no impairment of goodwill existed as of October 1, 2014. For long-lived assets, our evaluation includes an analysis of estimated future undiscounted net cash flows expected to be generated by the assets over their estimated useful lives. If the estimated future undiscounted net cash flows are insufficient to recover the carrying value of the assets over their estimated useful lives, we will record an impairment charge in the amount by which the carrying value of the assets exceeds their fair value.

In the event future cash flows are adversely affected by events or circumstances, such as by significant changes in current technologies or significant changes in market conditions in the Distributed Generation, utility or energy efficiency industries, then future valuations of our goodwill and other intangible assets may result in future impairment charges, and those charges may be significant.

Deferred Tax Valuation Allowance. In assessing the need for a valuation allowance, we consider all positive and negative evidence, including scheduled reversals of deferred tax liabilities, projected future taxable income, tax planning strategies, and recent financial performance. We previously recorded a valuation allowance for a significant portion of our deferred tax assets, primarily related to our deferred tax asset for federal and state net

 

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operating loss carry-forwards. As a result of the sale of our WaterSecure operations in 2011, we utilized a significant portion of our net operating loss carry-forwards and we eliminated the remaining valuation allowance associated with our remaining net operating loss carry-forwards. We expect our provision for income tax expense in future periods to reflect an effective tax rate that will approximate statutory rates.

Uncertain Tax Positions. The process of filing federal and state income tax returns requires us, in consultation with our tax advisors, to make judgments regarding how we will apply intricate and often ambiguous laws, regulations, administrative rulings and court precedents. From time to time we undergo audits by federal, state, and local taxing authorities, and these judgments may be questioned or disallowed in total or in part. As a result, when determining the accounting entries necessary to accurately reflect income taxes currently payable and/or refundable, we must make assumptions regarding the likelihood of success in defending our judgments in the event of audits.

We have recorded a liability for our estimate of taxes, penalties and interest associated with uncertain tax positions. Our estimate is based on assumptions regarding the likelihood of successfully defending this tax position in an audit. We utilize a two-step approach to recognizing and measuring uncertain tax positions. The first step is to evaluate the tax position for recognition by determining if the weight of available evidence indicates that it is more likely than not that the position will be sustained on audit, including resolution of related appeals or litigation processes, if any. The second step is to measure the tax benefit as the largest amount that is more than 50% likely of being realized upon settlement.

Although we believe we have adequately reserved for our uncertain tax positions, no assurance can be given that the final tax outcome of these matters will not be different. We adjust these reserves in light of changing facts and circumstances, such as the closing of a tax audit or the refinement of an estimate. To the extent that the final tax outcome of these matters is different than the amounts recorded, such differences will impact the provision for income taxes in the period in which such determination is made. The provision for income taxes includes the impact of reserve provisions and changes to reserves that are considered appropriate, as well as the related net interest.

The application of tax laws and regulations is subject to legal and factual interpretation, judgment and uncertainty. Tax laws and regulations themselves are subject to change as a result of changes in fiscal policy, changes in legislation, the evolution of regulations and court rulings. Therefore, the actual liability for U.S. or foreign taxes may be materially different from our estimates, which could result in the need to record additional tax liabilities or potentially reverse previously recorded tax liabilities.

Costs of Exit or Disposal Activities and Similar Nonrecurring Charges. We record a liability for costs associated with exit or disposal activities equal to the fair value of the liability when the liability is incurred. Such costs associated with a discontinued operation are reported in results of discontinued operations. Costs of an exit or disposal activity that do not involve a discontinued operation are included in income from continuing operations before income taxes in our consolidated statements of income.

Share-Based Compensation. We measure compensation cost for all stock-based awards at their fair value on date of grant and recognize the compensation expense over the service period for awards expected to vest. We measure the fair value of restricted stock awards based on the number of shares granted and the last sale price of our common stock on the date of the grant, and we measure the fair value of stock options using the Black-Scholes valuation model. These fair values are recognized as compensation expense over the service period, net of estimated forfeitures.

Derivative Financial Instruments. Our derivative financial instruments consist solely of two interest rate swap contracts that are used to hedge our interest rate risk on a portion of our variable rate debt. It is our policy to execute such interest rate swaps with creditworthy banks and we do not enter into derivative financial instruments for speculative purposes. We measure our derivative instruments at fair value on a recurring basis using standard pricing models and market-based assumptions for all significant inputs.

Recent Accounting Pronouncements

Information about recent accounting pronouncements and their potential effects on our financial position and results of operations is included in Note 2, “Summary of Significant Accounting Policies and Recent Accounting Standards” of the notes to our consolidated financial statements beginning on page F-1 of this report.

 

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Item 7A. Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures About Market Risk

We are exposed to certain financial market risks arising from transactions we enter into in the ordinary course of business. These market risks include, but are not limited to, fluctuations in interest rates and commodity prices, and, to a lesser extent, fluctuations in currency exchange rates. Any of these market risks may adversely affect our financial condition, results of operations and cash flow.

We employ interest rate swap agreements for the purpose of hedging certain specifically identified interest rates. The use of these financial instruments is intended to mitigate some of the risks associated with fluctuations in interest rates, but does not eliminate such risks. We do not use derivative financial instruments for trading or speculative purposes, and except as indicated in this item we do not use derivative financial instruments to manage or hedge our exposure to interest rate changes, commodity price risks, foreign currency exchange risks or other market risks.

Interest Rate and Market Risk. We are exposed to market risk resulting from changes in interest rates. Changes in the interest rates affect the income we receive from our investments of excess cash in short-term interest-bearing marketable securities, because that income is dependent upon the intere