SolarCity seeks its day in IPO sun

Summary:The solar installer has benefited by arranging financing for thousands of installations and energy-efficiency projects.

I wasn't all that surprised to hear last night that SolarCity, the innovative solar technology installer that has exploded all sorts of stereotypes in its quest to become a national presence, has filed the first set of papers toward its initial public offering.

The move comes barely a month after the company disclosed that it had raised $81 million in venture capital to fund marketing and potential acquisitions.

The development offers a bright spot for the much maligned solar sector, which is still reeling from the Solyndra bankruptcy and the cancellation of a planned IPO by solar thermal power developer BrightSource.

What makes SolarCity different, perhaps, is the focus that the company has put on methodically identifying and arranging sources of funding that actually help homeowners and businesses put solar technology into action.

The company faced down a major potential threat to its future last fall, when it saw the funding for the SolarStrong military housing project disappear. Undaunted, the company lined up a financial deal with Bank of America Merrill Lynch.

And guess who is beyond all those Walmart solar projects you keep hearing about. Yep, SolarCity. The company has said that it has more than 30,000 solar power projects either completed or under way across the United States.

Not interested in investing in renewable energy technology? SolarCity has managed to capitalize on shifting homeowner attitudes toward energy efficiency, as well.

SolarCity also has a hand in electric vehicle charging infrastructure; it is the preferred installer for charging stations for Tesla Motors and reports suggest that the relationship between the two companies may extend into solar-powered, rooftop energy storage systems.

This is definitely one of the IPOs to watch, if it comes to pass.

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Topics: Banking, Legal


Heather Clancy is an award-winning business journalist specializing in transformative technology and innovation. Her articles have appeared in Entrepreneur, Fortune Small Business, The International Herald Tribune and The New York Times. In a past corporate life, Heather was editor of Computer Reseller News. She started her journalism lif... Full Bio

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