SolarCity does everything —Will Arnold of SolarCity

Will Arnold spends a lot of time in Toronto for SolarCity but he came to Atlanta to talk to Southern Solar Summit. SolarCity does everything from financing to design, installation, monitoring, and maintenance.

SolarCity’s founders are all IT people. The most famous is perhaps Elon Musk, who also founded Paypal and SpaceX. Two other co-founders sold their previous company to Dell, and SolarCity just got a $280 million investment from Google. I’ve been comparing the solar market now to Silicon Valley 20 years ago, because of how fast it’s growing, how pragmatic and experimental it is, and the general attitude of the people. It turns out in SolarCity it is Silicon Valley.

Will Arnold talked a lot about state incentives that sometimes seemed perpetually going to be solidified soon or other regulatory whims.

He remarked that SolarCity’s leases were predicated on people wanting solar but not wanting to pay for it up front. For that to work, there needs to be regular income right along to pay back SolarCity. That and optimize cost relative to the price of panels. He showed a chart showing solar industry growth had produced steadily falling prices.

SolarCity eliminates more costs via carefully designed financing packages.

SolarCity is already operating in half a dozen U.S. states plus Ontario. Maybe it will start in Georgia soon. Or maybe somebody else will pick up the piece everyone else is avoiding: finance.