SolarCity sees the traditional utilities as their biggest
competition. “We compete with them on price, predictability of
price and the ease by which customers can switch to electricity
generated by solar systems,” it says.
“We have disrupted the industry status quo by providing
renewable energy directly to customers for less than they are
currently paying for utility-generated energy. Unlike utilities, we
sell energy with a predictable cost structure that does not rely on
limited fossil fuels and is insulated from rising retail electricity
prices. As retail prices for electricity increase and distributed
solar energy costs decline, our market opportunity will grow
Bloomberg New Energy Finance analyst Anthony Kim said the SolarCity
filing could be a “game-changing moment for the solar
industry” because it shows “how plummeting component
costs benefit a company operating on the downstream side of the
That article was posted before SolarCity’s stock went public, and
Goldman Sachs invested half a billion dollars in SolarCity.
Six months later, we know Southern Company and Georgia Power
are paying attention, because both SO CEO Tom Fanning and
Georgia Power CEO Paul Bowers said so at the
Southern Company stockholder meeting.
SAN MATEO, Calif., and NEW YORK, May 16, 2013—SolarCity
(Nasdaq: SCTY), a leading provider of clean energy, today announced
a lease financing agreement with Goldman Sachs (NYSE: GS) to fund
more than $500 million in solar power projects; an estimated 110
megawatts in generation capacity for homeowners and businesses.
The financing makes it possible for homeowners, businesses,
government and other non-profit organizations to install solar
panels with no upfront cost and pay less for clean electricity than
they currently pay for utility bills. The agreement was initiated in
2012 and expanded per
Tired of Southern Company CEO Fanning’s
maybe “next decade” for solar power?
Tired of Georgia Power’s Bowers
trying to push solar off for fifty years?
Let’s hear from somebody who takes on big tasks and gets them done:
Elon Musk, who’s already built a rocket that is resupplying the International
Space Station, and who is also building all-electric cars.
When he’s not launching rockets, Musk is disrupting the notoriously
obdurate automobile industry (see National Treasure, p. 42). While
industry giants like Chevrolet and Nissan and Toyota were dithering
with electric-gasoline hybrids, this upstart kid said he would
design and manufacture an all-electric car that would travel
hundreds of miles on a single charge. The Tesla Roadster hit the
streets in 2008 with a range of 200 miles, and the far more
functional Model S, starting at $57,000, was introduced in June.
It’s the world’s first all-electric car that does everything my old
gasoline version does, only better. The high-end model travels 300
miles on a single charge, leaps from zero to 60 in 5.5 seconds,
slows from 60 to a dead stop in 105 feet, can seat up to five, has
room for mulch bags and golf clubs, handles like a race car and its
battery comes with an eight-year, 100,000-mile warranty. If you
charged it via solar panels, it would run off the sun. One hundred a
week are being produced in a former Toyota factory in Fremont,
California, and nearly 13,000 people have put deposits on them….
Remember the Southern Company brags about “Our competitive generation business”. The important word there is “our”, as in the Southern Company and its subsidiary Georgia Power gets to compete, and you don’t. Unless you’re big enough.
Some retail competition has been present in Georgia since 1973 with the passage of the Georgia Territorial Electric Service Act. This Act enables customers with manufacturing or commercial loads of 900 kW or greater a one time choice in their electric supplier. It also provides eligible customers the opportunity to transfer from one electric supplier to another provided all parties agree.
Because of that law, you can’t you put up solar panels on your own land and sell your power to somebody somewhere else. And you can’t get a company like SolarCity or Lower Rates for Customers to put up solar panels on your property and sell you the power ( or can you?). Unless you’re generating at least 900 KW; then maybe you can get selected businesses to switch to your power once. Except you probably still won’t qualify, because
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Will Arnold spends a lot of time in Toronto for
but he came to Atlanta to talk to
Southern Solar Summit.
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.
Google and rooftop solar power company SolarCity announced a $280
million investment deal Tuesday, the largest such deal for home-based
solar power systems in the United States.
The investment will give San Mateo, Calif-based SolarCity the funding
to build and lease solar power systems to a 7,000 to 9,000 homeowners
in the 10 states where it operates.
Founded five years ago, SolarCity has 15,000 solar projects around the
nation completed or under way. Customers who wish to have the company’s
solar system installed at their home can pay for it outright, but most
choose instead to let SolarCity retain ownership of the equipment and
rent back the use of it through monthly solar lease payments.
Another financing method is
where people pool their money to buy shares in a solar installation.
Oregonians put off by the high price of renewable energy can now go solar
on the cheap, installing panels for no money down.
in a handful of states are starting to offer solar to the masses
with lease deals that eliminate upfront costs. Oregon is joining the
trend, thanks to regulations that took effect Jan. 1.
Portland branch of a national solar company unveiled a lease
program Tuesday enabling homeowners to put up panels
for low monthly payments, cutting their electricity bills
and carbon footprints. At least one other contractor, a local
company, is developing similar products.
Managers of SolarCity, a California-based
company, say Oregon homeowners can go solar for as little as $20
a month with no up-front costs. The new financing option, which
incorporates state and federal tax credits….
They’re talking $25/month with no money down.
That’s a thousand miles north of here, in rainy Oregon.
Maybe we should just invite SolarCity to operate here.