Business, Economics and Jobs

SolarCity, solar panel installer, is planning an IPO


A giant solar panel on the outside of Chinese company Suntech Power Holdings Co.


Peter Parks

At a time when many alternative-energy companies are struggling with growth, solar panel developer and installer SolarCity Corp. announced today that it is planning to go public, the Los Angeles Times reported.

The San Mateo company, founded by billionaire Elon Musk’s cousins Lyndon and Peter Rive, has submitted a draft registration statement to the Securities and Exchange Commission, according to the LA Times.

With the global supply of solar panels exceeding demand, prices in the industry have fallen, according to Dow Jones Newswires. That’s made it difficult for companies to make money and attract investors.

First Solar Inc. announced in April that it’s shuttering some factories and laying off 2,000 workers, the LA Times reported, and BrightSource Energy Inc. cancelled its IPO plans a few weeks ago due to lack of interest.

Last August, solar panel manufacturer Solyndra, which filed for bankruptcy after blowing through more than $500 million in federal clean-energy loans, got some politicians questioning whether the US government should subsidize the industry, Dow Jones Newswires reported.

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SolarCity, launched in 2006, has raised hundreds of millions of dollars in investment financing for its projects from US Bancorp, Rabobank, Google Inc., Citigroup Inc. and others, according to Dow Jones Newswires. Its equity investors include Draper Fisher Jurvetson, DBL Investors, Generation Investment Management LLP, Silver Lake Kraftwerk and Valor Equity Partners.

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