In our efforts to introduce Silicon Ranch’s team members from a more personal standpoint, we point our spotlight to David Vickerman, Silicon Ranch’s Vice Chairman and Chief Corporate Development Officer. David brings many years of global leadership, executive management, and entrepreneurial experience, having built four successful businesses in Europe and North America. David is responsible for corporate and strategic development at SRC, and, under his leadership, the company successfully completed a $140+ million institutional equity investment into the company by Partners Group, as well as closing multiple solar project finance transactions with leading capital providers. Before joining our team, David worked for an institutional investment manager with over $30 billion of assets under management, where he served as Executive Director and Co-Head of its global infrastructure fund. David graduated from Western University in Canada and earned a MBA with academic distinction from Wake Forest University.
Read what David shared about his background and the work of Silicon Ranch in the following interview.
Tell us about your background and how you got involved in the solar energy industry.
For the past 25 years, my background has been in investment management and the financial markets, both in Canada and London. I spent more than 12 years in London, where renewable energy deployment was rapidly expanding, due in large part to the European Union directing its members to put a target in place by 2020 to have 20 percent of their generation from renewable energy. My belief in renewable energy and solar resonated with me and led me to get involved in the solar industry at that time.
How does the U.S. compare with other countries that have previously invested in solar energy?
I would say it started off behind but is quickly catching up. For example, in Germany, there is over 40 gigawatts of solar installed, and they have been installing solar since the early 2000s. Likewise, in the U.K., there are now 12 gigawatts. In the U.S., we’re approaching 30 gigawatts, and the current forecast estimates over 70GW installed by 2021.
Why did you choose to work in the solar industry’s financial arena?
It’s a very capital-intensive business, and I’m leveraging my skill sets from other roles throughout my career. For example, in London, I spent a decade building an investment management business. At Silicon Ranch, I am able to marry my relationships on the investor side with my passion for solar energy into one business.
Your shareholders include a pair of sophisticated, global investment managers with deep experience in the industry worldwide. How do you work with them to capitalize on strategic opportunities?
We have a very dynamic environment at Silicon Ranch, and one that’s quite responsive. Our investors are active in the business of Silicon Ranch. As we are their Solar investment platform for North America, one of my main focuses is on scaling our business, both organically and opportunistically, to reach our objectives. Our shareholders are an integral part of ensuring that our capital needs are met to fulfill this growth.
What do you see in the future for Silicon Ranch?
I see us continuing to significantly grow. As we own our projects for the long term, we have established important relationships with the communities we serve. We have big objectives to reach one gigawatt in the next few years. We have visibility through our contracted pipeline to exceed that goal ahead of schedule. Solar energy continues to change the world, and by 2040 or 2050, solar will be significantly prominent in the energy mix.
Is everyone now on the same page with solar energy?
No, but there’s a lot of momentum building. Germany is a good example of that. While not everyone has bought into it, both wind and solar are free resources, so why can’t we leverage that? We are nearing the tipping point in which we’ll see more exponential growth.
Can you expand upon your role here at Silicon Ranch?
I came to Silicon Ranch differently from most of the others here. I came in from the eyes of an investor. I managed a fund in Toronto and led the first institutional investment in Silicon Ranch, so I saw the company from both the investor and board perspective. I compared that perspective with over 50 solar developers across that world which I had evaluated. It gave me a unique perspective on Silicon Ranch’s business model of developing to own projects for the long term. Silicon Ranch was growing rapidly and needed someone with my skill set, so I had the opportunity to make the move and be a part of the senior management team to add immediate value to help the company execute its strategic business plan.
Tell us about the team here at Silicon Ranch.
We have a great team. In the past two years, we’ve grown our team with a group of individuals who not only fit well culturally, but also bring unique skills and experience. We’re excited to see our team grow even more in the days ahead.
How do you spend your spare time outside work?
With a large young family, we have a busy life together with sports, music and outdoor activities, so my focus continues to be on spending time with them as well as cycling, skiing and charitable giving.