July 4th marks our country’s 240th trip around the sun. It also marks SolarCity’s 10th anniversary. Our company was founded on July 4th, 2006 by Lyndon and Peter Rive. It’s developed over the course of the last decade to become the country’s number one provider of rooftop solar.
From two employees in a spare bedroom in California, we’ve grown to a company of approximately 14,000. As of March 31, 2016, we serve over 260,000 customers, have installations in 27 states, and have deployed nearly 2.16 GW worth of solar panel systems.
Delivering Better Energy
We’ve grown partly because we deliver Better EnergyTM.
It’s clean energy. And it’s available to customers at a lower cost than what they pay for traditional, fossil fuel sourced energy. Simply put: We give customers a cleaner, more affordable alternative to their current electric bill.
Solar energy also helps address one of the world’s most pressing problems: climate change. Our customers have produced over 4.1 billion kilowatt-hours of clean energy in the past decade.
Finally, we’ve grown because you believe in us, and you’re rallying around our mission. To our customers, employees, investors, and supporters everywhere, we offer an honest and heartfelt “Thank You.”
Join us for a fast review of the decade, covering some of the highlights for the company, our employees, and our customers.
SolarCity officially begins operations on July 4th in California. Our founders are the only employees: CEO Lyndon Rive and CTO Peter Rive. Our first solar installation – an 18 panel system – goes up in San Jose, California.
With 900 customers by year’s end, we become the #1 solar installer in California. We open our first corporate office in Foster City, California, housing 204 employees. We also complete our first commercial project, installing solar panels at the Oakland Zoo.
We introduce our first solar lease, helping homeowners sidestep the significant upfront costs of going solar. By year’s end, we have just shy of 400 employees, a little more than 3,000 customers, and have expanded to our second state – Arizona.
We sign up our 5,000th customer and install solar panels to create the largest solar-powered community in the nation at the Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Arizona. Knowing such an idea when they see it, the editors of Scientific American declare us a “World Changing Idea.”
We sign up our 10,000th customer. Our future growth gets a boost through a partnership with PG&E, including $60 million in financing to install 1,000 systems. We’re now operating in five western and southwestern states. And, we complete the first of eventually more than 200 installations at Wal-Mart stores.
We welcome our 1,000th employee, and acquire Maryland-based Clean Currents Solar. The latter represents our first foray into the Eastern U.S., and a presence in both Maryland and the District of Columbia. Meanwhile, we enter into a partnership with Google, creating a $280 million fund for residential solar installations. And, the announcement of SolarStrong commits us to provide solar for military families across the U.S. as part of the largest residential solar project in American history. Fast Company puts SolarCity on its list of “Most Innovative Companies.”
We announce our IPO, helping us gain capital to accelerate growth, along with widespread public visibility (NASDAQ: SCTY). We’re now more than 2,500 employees strong, and have nearly 50,000 customers. Our largest project to date is announced: a 14 megawatt solar system on Kaua’i, that provides approximately 6% of the island’s daily energy needs on average. In November, we launch the “Solar Sandy Project,” providing mobile solar generators to assist residents and relief workers in the wake of Hurricane Sandy.
We expand, moving some of our corporate operations to Las Vegas. More than 1,800 employees will eventually work in that office. We announce a partnership with Honda to help finance $65 million in solar projects. We acquire Paramount Solar and Zep Solar, helping further charge up our growth and vertical capabilities. And, we launch GivePower, a non-profit foundation aimed at providing solar electricity to less fortunate communities globally.
We hit the half GW deployed solar milestone. We then make two big announcements related to vertical integration: the acquisition of solar module maker Silevo, and the announcement of a 1.2 million square foot solar panel manufacturing factory in Buffalo. In October, we begin offering our solar bonds, making solar investment a real possibility for both institutions and “regular folks” alike.
Our solar community is growing in leaps and bounds: we have over 230,000 customers by the end of the year. Looking for ways to reach more homeowners and provide even greater value, we partner with DirecTV and Nest, while launching a potentially game-changing energy storage service with the Tesla Powerwall. And, we make our first international expansion, acquiring ILIOSS, one of the leading solar developers in Mexico.
We blast through the gigawatt barrier, with 2.16 GW of deployed solar panel systems by mid-year. Our customers celebrate a huge milestone of their own, producing 10 gigawatt-hours of clean electricity in a single day. In June, we launch a new solar loan product—a simpler version of the popular MyPower loan. Lastly, we introduce new services for our GridX offering, including installation, financing and consulting for utility-scale solar developers.