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Many small and medium-sized businesses will be able to pay less for solar power than they pay for utility power for the first time
Jul 28, 2015

San Mateo, Calif.—SolarCity (NASDAQ: SCTY) introduced a new solar energy service today that will make it possible for many small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) to pay less for solar electricity than they pay for power from their local utility for the first time. SolarCity will initially offer its SMB service to owner-occupied business locations in California, but expects to expand it to the east coast and other territories in early 2016. Based on an analysis of SMBs in California, SolarCity expects to make it possible for many to pay between 5 – 25 percent less for solar electricity than they pay for utility power with no upfront cost, depending on their own utility costs and usage. The service will also include fixed, flat solar payments for 20 years, so if the utility rates increase in the future, customers can save even more.

There are more than 28 million small and medium-sized businesses in the U.S. [1]—more than 99 percent of American businesses are SMBs—and very few have been able to use solar power affordably until now. SolarCity has achieved a solar cost breakthrough for SMBs by combining three innovations that leverage its unique experience in high-volume installation, technology development and structured finance:

  • Installation. While most commercial solar developers subcontract installation, which lengthens installation time and significantly increases cost, SolarCity leverages its vast network of local installation crews to install projects for SMBs at a lower cost than any other provider in the category. SolarCity expects to reduce the cost to install small commercial solar projects by more than 30 percent by using its own crews and technology.


  • Technology. SolarCity’s proprietary, lightweight solar panel mounting system—ZS Peak—allows SMBs to fit 20 to 50 percent more solar panels on each roof surface. ZS Peak also allows workers to install panels significantly faster than would otherwise be possible to reduce installation costs even further, and simultaneously increases solar energy production from each project.


  • Financing. Solar projects for small and medium sized businesses have traditionally been very difficult to finance because SMBs do not have the formal investment grade credit ratings of large corporations, and also have no commercial equivalent to the FICO scores that are often the basis of consumer financing. SolarCity has teamed with Renew Financial to create a unique financing option for SMBs that combines low cost SolarCity structured financing with Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE). The first rollout will be under the CaliforniaFIRST program. Under this offering, an SMB signs a standard commercial solar lease with SolarCity, SolarCity finances the upfront cost much as it would under a traditional solar lease or power purchase agreement, and in turn the PACE program allows the business to pay the solar payment on its property tax bill.  Just as it does for other commercial customers under a lease or PPA, SolarCity coordinates solar financing and also handles installation, monitoring and maintenance for SMBs.  

For the SMB market, SolarCity will initially design solar energy system sizes between 30 – 500 kilowatts of generation capacity to businesses that own buildings with approximately 5,000 – 50,000 square feet of available flat roof space.

SolarCity has built a new business unit dedicated to the SMB market, and is currently hiring. Interested candidates should visit to learn more.

Businesses interested in more information, including an estimate, should visit or call 1-888-SOL-CITY and select option three.

This release contains forward-looking statements including, but not limited to, statements regarding cost savings, financing, future expansion and hiring. Forward-looking statements should not be read as a guarantee of future performance or results, and will not necessarily be accurate indications of the times at, or by, which such performance or results will be achieved, if at all. Forward-looking statements are subject to risks and uncertainties that could cause actual performance or results to differ materially from those expressed in or suggested by the forward looking statements. You should read the section entitled "Risk Factors" in SolarCity's quarterly report on Form 10-Q, which has been filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission and identifies certain of these and additional risks and uncertainties. We do not undertake any obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statement, whether as a result of new information, future developments or otherwise.

[1] Small Business Authority Office of Advocacy, Frequently Asked Questions (

About SolarCity
SolarCity® (NASDAQ: SCTY) provides clean energy. The company has disrupted the century-old energy industry by providing renewable electricity directly to homeowners, businesses and government organizations for less than they spend on utility bills. SolarCity gives customers control of their energy costs to protect them from rising rates. The company makes solar energy easy by taking care of everything from design and permitting to monitoring and maintenance. Visit the company online at and follow the company on Facebook & Twitter.