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Summary:

Following one of the only successful cleantech IPOs of the year, solar installer and financier SolarCity says it will grow its solar rooftops next year to 250 MW, up from 156 MW in 2012. Can it achieve profitability at the same time?

PG&E Puts Up $60M for SolarCity Installations

Following an IPO that saw solar installer and financier SolarCity’s shares rise almost 50 percent on its first day of trading, the Elon Musk-backed company now says it has a robust growth plan in place for its solar roofs in 2013. This year, SolarCity says it plans to install 250 MW of solar roof capacity, up from 156 MW of solar roofs capacity installed in 2012.

To put that in perspective, the entire solar panel industry in the U.S. is estimated to have installed 3,200 MW (3.2 GW) of solar roof capacity in 2012, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association. There were a record number of solar roof installations in the U.S. last year (see 5 charts that show the massive growth of solar in 2012).

SolarCity’s stock was up 13.44 percent in morning trading to $14.77. The stock was priced at $8, and started trading at $9.25, on its public debut, and rose above $12 per share that day. Originally SolarCity was looking to price its stock at $13 to $15 per share (then lowered it to $8) and has just solidly hit that original price range on Friday.

Residential rooftops will remain the biggest opportunity for SolarCity and the company is expecting to install 190 MW for residential homes, and 60 MW for commercial buildings. Last year SolarCity installed 85 MW of residential solar roofs, and 71 MW for commercial rooftops.

The company has seen rapid growth for a few years. It’s solar roof installations grew 117 percent between 2011 and 2012 — it installed about 72 MW in 2011.

However, SolarCity isn’t yet profitable according to its latest S-1. The company generated $103.39 million in revenues for the nine months ended September 30, and had a net loss of $77.95 million for the same period.

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  1. Wondering how does this compare to other energy sources growth (esp conventional ones) ?

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