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  • Monday, December 17, 2012


    SolarCity's Stock Debut: Wall Street Success In A Struggling Market?

    Jessica Lillian, 13 December 2012 (Solar Industry)

    "Shares in…PV integrator SolarCity (NASDAC:SCTY) began trading on the NASDAQ Global Market this Thursday, following months of anticipation…[Marketer and installer] SolarCity has been heralded by some industry analysts and executives as the next great hope in a solar stock market dominated by acutely suffering module manufacturers…SolarCity priced its initial public offering (IPO) of 11.5 million shares of common stock at $8.00 per share…After opening at approximately $8.00 to $9.00, shares quickly began trading above $12 [and thin film PV manufacturer First Solar - whose stock price is carefully watched as a key indicator for the entire solar sector - saw its price rise]…

    “…[But] an ongoing investigation [of SolarCity] by the U.S. Department of Treasury also still looms…In October, SolarCity admitted in its SEC documents that the company - along with other unnamed installers - is being probed by the Treasury's Inspector General for supplying possibly inaccurate fair-market values for its PV systems when applying for money under the Treasury's Section 1603 program.”

    “Although no one at SolarCity has been formally charged with any misconduct, income tax audits earlier this year revealed system valuation discrepancies. The probe - and similar questions within the industry regarding installers' system pricing practices - brings an additional element of uncertainty in an already skittish stock market.

    “…[T]he downstream solar market is both attractive and active right now…Whether other integrators and system financiers follow in testing the IPO waters or take another option, such as a merger, the dominant players will likely begin to separate themselves from the pack as this segment matures…One key to differentiation…in SolarCity's model…[is] integrating the finance and operational sides of the business…[to] avoid some of the competitive risks…[of] a construction-only firm…”


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