SolarCity (SCTY) is hauling in its biggest investment fund yet, $500 million from Goldman Sachs.
It will be used to install solar PV systems this year – this is how homeowners and businesses get solar without having to pay the upfront costs. The financing will also allow SolarCity to extend credit to homeowners with lower credit scores.
SolarCity plans to install about 110 megawatts of solar this year.
"We hope it sends a signal that solar is a stable and reliable asset to invest in. These aren’t luxury yachts we’re talking
about, it’s your energy, and the default rates are lower than mortgages," SolarCity CEO Lyndon Rive told Bloomberg.
In the first quarter, SolarCity invested $138 million in solar
systems as demand for rooftop panels from homeowners and businesses surged, they say.
Goldman Sachs has a goal of financing $40 billion in renewable energy over the next 10 years as part of its commitment to reduce carbon emissions to zero.
SolarCity’s stock has quadrupled in price since its IPO in December 2012. It is the second biggest solar installer in the US after SunPower.
SolarCity has raised $1.57 billion for 15 funds that pay the upfront costs for solar systems. Banks like Bank of America Merrill Lynch (financing Project SolarStong) and Credit Suisse have loaned hundreds of millions of dollars, and Google’s $280 million investment is its biggest in renewable energy, creating the largest residential solar fund in the US. SolarCity also recently raised $80 million in venture capital.
As of October 2012, almost $2 billion had been invested in solar leasing funds for the year, mostly from Credit Suisse, Rabobank, Wells Fargo, Citi, and US Bancorp. The funds went to SolarCity and competitors OneRoof, Sungevity, Sunrun, and others.