SolarCity posts third-quarter profit, 52% revenue increase

California-based solar installer SolarCity on Wednesday posted a 52% increase in revenue to $48.6 million in the third quarter of the year while net profit reached $3.4 million, up from a loss of more than $38 million a year ago.

Third-quarter revenue from its leasing operations reached $24.8 million, up 78% from $13.9 million in the same period last year, while solar system sales increased from $18 million to $23.8 million.

The company reported total operating expenses of $46.2 million, rising from $30.7 million in the third quarter of 2012, largely owing to higher employee compensation expenses and professional services fees.

"With new energy contracts, MW booked, MW deployed, and operating lease revenue all reaching new highs in Q3 2013, SolarCity continues to demonstrate that demand, execution, and financing remain strong tailwinds supporting growth toward our one million customer goal by mid-2018," said SolarCity CEO Lyndon Rive.

"Moreover, with estimated nominal contracted payments remaining rising to $1.7 billion and cumulative retained value per Watt up to $1.37/W, we are not only creating more value every day but also retaining more value for shareholders with each new customer signed."

SolarCity, headquartered in the city of San Mateo, said it continued to make progress in building out its platform for delivering cleaner and cheaper distributed energy in the period. The company reached a new quarterly record of 78 MW as residential MWs deployed grew 151% year-over-year to 60 MW. Cumulative total MWs deployed stood at 464 MW as of September 30. In addition, MWs booked totaled 91 MW.

Cumulative energy contracts increased 155% since the end of the third quarter of 2012 (and 21% since the end of the second quarter of 2013) to 72,506, while cumulative customers grew to 82,235, up 133% since the end of the third quarter of 2012 (and 18% since the end of the second quarter of 2013).

Investing and financing activities

SolarCity said its investing activities were primarily comprised of the capital investment in distributed generation solar energy systems under long-term energy contracts with customers, while its financing activities represent the funding of its solar energy systems investments through investor partners and lenders. Investments in solar energy systems, leased and to be leased, reached $211.4 million, bringing the cumulative total through the first nine months of 2013 to $507.7 million. The company also reported an undeployed tax equity financing capacity of 149 MW as of November 1.

Looking forward

The company expects to deploy 101 MW in the fourth quarter of 2013, reaffirming its guidance for 2013 of 278 MW deployed. In addition, SolarCity also forecasts fourth-quarter operating lease revenue of between $22 million and $24 million and solar energy systems sale revenue of between $18 million and $22 million.

For 2014, the company reiterated its guidance for MW deployed in a range of 475 MW to 525 MW.