SolarCity Corp (NASDAQ:SCTY) is one hot company. The company counts super-entrepreneur Elon Musk as its chairman and Lyndon Rive, an Elon Musk cousin, as CEO. SolarCity Corp (NASDAQ:SCTY) shares have rallied over 300% since the IPO. Given the recent pullback, though, is SolarCity a good investment?
A great business model
SolarCity Corp (NASDAQ:SCTY) installs solar panels on rooftops and finances them. The company often owns the installed solar panels and sells electricity generated back to the customer. This is a superior business model because as time goes on, solar energy will become cheaper as technology improves and utility electricity prices will head higher.
Since SolarCity Corp (NASDAQ:SCTY) makes money from the difference between solar energy and utility prices; it will see increasing margins and a larger total addressable market over time.
A compelling value proposition
SolarCity offers customers a compelling value proposition.
Many customers who buy SolarCity Corp (NASDAQ:SCTY) panels see cheaper utility bills. The average cost for SolarCity electricity is 15 cents per kWh versus the 18 cents per kWh in California .
Customers pay no upfront cost for installations and can easily transfer the solar panels when they move.
The company also makes it easy for customers to sign up. If customers purchase new homes from Toll Brothers or Pulte, they could elect to have SolarCity Corp (NASDAQ:SCTY) panels installed while their homes are built. If they already have homes, they can order SolarCity panel installation from more than 450 Home Depots .
Since 2009, SolarCity’s nominal payments outstanding grew at compound annual rate of 117%.
For Q2 2013, SolarCity continued that impressive growth by growing its residential business 144% year over year. The company also had more than 64,000 cumulative customers, up over 97% from the prior twelve months .
SolarCity is just getting started. The company has a goal of reaching 1,000,000 solar rooftop customers in five years. CEO Lyndon Rive plans on fulfilling the target by marketing to new home buyers, working with large corporations, making acquisitions, and raising more capital .
As a sign of progress on that plan, SolarCity made deals with Toll Brothers and Pulte to market to their 120,000 annual new home buyers. The company also has deals with retail giant Wal-Mart to install solar panels on more than 160 stores and with Tesla to supply solar panels for Tesla’s supercharging stations. SolarCity recently acquired Paramount Solar for $120 million to market to customers better and may make further acquisitions to increase growth. Lastly the company secured $500 million in capital from Goldman Sachs for a 110 megawatt solar project. The Goldman stamp of approval and extra capital infusion should allow the company to grow faster.