The Story of SolarCity

Manhattan NY Solar Panels SolarCity

SolarCity was founded in July 2006 by brothers Lyndon Rive and Peter Rive. The suggestion for a solar company came from their cousin, Elon Musk. SolarCity is America’s largest solar power provider and serves more than 275,000 customers across 19 states. With New York being so large this product could revolutionize the way we live. SolarCity services homeowners, businesses, schools, non-profits and government organizations to expand clean energy. Energy costs are lower than what customers would pay for energy generated by burning fossil fuels like coal, oil and natural gas. Imagine paying less in Manhattan by leveraging the sun? The company approach is to install systems to the highest engineering standards while making the switch simple for customers. SolarCity has revolutionized the way energy is delivered by giving customers a cleaner, more affordable alternative to their monthly utility bill.

SolarCity oversees the solar panel installation process and provides a point of contact should anything go wrong, ensuring that you are taken care of from beginning to end. SolarCity has been the leading provider of residential solar power in California since 2007, its first full year of operation. SolarCity’s engineers complete a structural analysis for customer’s homes and provide design and electrical blueprints. Supervisors are North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP)- certified, the highest certificate available. After solar panel installation, an inspection is scheduled to make sure the installation conforms to local regulations. Solar project management is looked after by an in-house customer account management team who plan the installation process and coordinate all team members, including the engineering design team, installation crew and external city and utility inspectors. They also keep the customer informed of project status, and in addition to this, every customer is given an online account where they can check the project status at any time.

SolarCity has a five-step process to buying solar energy: a solar consultation where SolarCity discusses if solar energy is the right step for that customer, depending on energy usage and the roof of the house. The customer will then sign an agreement to secure the solar energy cost for the next 20 years and discuss guarantees and warranties. The solar panels are then designed to fit the needs of the customer and their home. SolarCity didn’t invent the solar panel, but it is credited with making wider adoption of solar panels possible. A few years ago, solar panels were extremely expensive, approximately $30,000 to $50,000 upfront, which was financial unattainable for many people. Solar City developed a lease model that allows people to install solar panels with no money down and pay for over a period.

In August 2016, Tesla announced in a joint statement with Solar City it would be acquiring the company in an all-stock $2.6 billion merger. The merger was met with criticism, by analysts questioning the reason for the merger, assuming Tesla was bailing SolarCity out of a bad financial situation. Elon Musk, SolarCity’s Chairman and CEO of SpaceX and Tesla Inc, has repeatedly said that SolarCity is the missing part of Tesla’s business. Tesla already manufactures Powerwall and chargers for its cars. If a customer wants to use solar energy to power their home and Tesla, they currently must lease solar panels from a third-party company that installs them. Musk argues that merging with SolarCity would transform Tesla into a one-stop-shop for drivers who want to go green, making it efficient and more consumer-friendly. Musk had been planning on getting into the solar business for a long time. Musk wrote in his original “Master Plan” in 2006, “the overarching purpose of Tesla Motors (and the reason I am funding the company) is to help expedite the move from a mine-and-burn hydrocarbon economy towards a solar electric economy, which I believe to be the primary, but not exclusive, sustainable solution.”

SolarCity was awarded $305 million to finance new projects. Some of the company’s latest projects include a huge solar field in Kauai, Hawaii that will charge up batteries during the day, as well as a new battery factory in Buffalo, New York. What are the benefits of solar energy? The average SolarCity solar power system will offset 178 tons of CO2 over 30 years.That’s like avoiding 390,300 miles driven, planting ten football fields full of trees or eliminating 174,907 pounds of burned coal.

SolarCity is also using its technology to change lives in developing countries. GivePower is a nonprofit organization founded by SolarCity. It uses clean energy technologies to deliver essential community services to the developing world. The mission is to leverage solar applications to improve people’s lives in impoverished communities by impacting these seven sectors: education, water, health, food security, economic development, telecommunications, and conservation.

Lyndon Rive is the co-founder and CEO of SolarCity. In nine years, he has helped SolarCity become one of the most recognizable brands in clean energy. In the process, the company has grown to more than 13,000 employees. Lyndon has led fundraising efforts for the finance of more than $8 billion in solar projects from investors including Bank of America, Merrill Lynch, Google, PG&E Corporation and U.S. Bancorp. He also helped the company enter new markets including 400 schools and universities, more than 100 regional and national homebuilders, and Fortune 500 companies such as eBay, Intel, and Walmart, as well as the U.S. military.

Peter Rive is SolarCity’s co-founder and CTO, overseeing technology strategy and implementation. Peter has helped grow SolarCity into the largest full-service solar provider in the nation, installing one in every three-new residential solar systems in the U.S. In his role as CTO; Peter develops the strategy and direction of SolarCity’s next-generation software and hardware technologies including battery systems, solar mounting hardware, and solar module technology.

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