News and analysis about energy in California with an eye toward renewables.

California Solar Company Goes Public This Week

Residential rooftop solar in Pacific Palisades, CA | Photo: SolarCity

Though solar manufacturing firms are hurting these days due to competition from cheap imported solar panels, the same bargain basement panel prices make things a bit rosier for those firms who install solar panels. As evidence for this split in the solar sector, Bay Area solar leasing company SolarCity has scheduled an Initial Public Offering of its stock for this week.

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Founded in 2006, the San Mateo-based company now has operations in 14 states, and is likely best known for its installations on dozens of Walmart stores across the state of California. According to the language in the firm's filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission,, SolarCity now has photovoltaic installations on more than 45,000 rooftops.

The company will be offering 10 million shares of stock in its IPO, and expects to raise between $130 million and $150 million in capital.

At least one analyst thinks that may be somewhat optimistic. As Eric Wesoff writes on Greentech Media,

Debra Fiakas, the Managing Director of Crystal Equity Research, writes that this is "a deal worth considering, but only after the shares get some seasoning. A $13.00 per share price puts a $932 million market value on SolarCity and implies a multiple of 8.4 times revenue. This seems a bit pricey given that the company has not been consistently profitable."

Venture investors in SolarCity are led by Draper Fisher Jurveston, which owns just over a quarter of the company's pre-IPO stock, and Space X founder Elon Musk, who owns about a third of the existing shares.

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About the Author

Chris Clarke is a natural history writer and environmental journalist currently at work on a book about the Joshua tree. He lives in Joshua Tree.
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