SolarCity narrows annual loss, posts fourth-quarter profit

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An increase in demand for rooftop PV systems helped propel SolarCity into profitability in the fourth quarter of 2013.

The biggest U.S. solar power provider posted a net profit of $26.7 million in the period, up from a net loss of $8 million a year ago.

Fourth-quarter revenue doubled to $47.3 million while annual revenue rose 29 percent to $163.8 million. SolarCity managed to nearly halve its full-year net loss to $55.8 million.

The company said it generated significant growth in its core business last year with a 78 percent year-on-year increase in megawatt deployed to 280 MW and operating lease revenue growth of 80 percent for the full year.

In addition, the company said it managed to reduce both operating expenses per megawatt deployed and capital expenditures per megawatt deployed.

The group generated positive net cash flow in the fourth quarter, came close to achieving break-even net cash flow for the full year and said it expected positive net cash flow for 2014.

SolarCity signed its 100,000th customer earlier this month and said it expected residential megawatt booked to surpass 100 MW in the current quarter, putting the company on a clear path to achieve its target of 475 MW – 525 MW deployed in 2014.

The company’s total revenue includes revenue from its solar systems leasing program as well as its solar system sales. Its "operating lease and solar energy systems incentives" revenue reached $22.4 million in the fourth quarter, up 79 percent from $12.5 million year-on-year, owing largely to a higher base of operating lease megawatt deployed. Solar energy system sales reached $24.9 million, up 122 percent from $11.2 million a year ago.

For the full year, SolarCity’s revenue from operating lease and solar energy systems incentives nearly doubled to $82.85 million, while solar energy system sales remained almost unchanged at $81 million.