During the past few months, rooftop solar installer SolarCity has been watching its stock price plummet, along with most of the solar industry. During the past week, Chairman Elon Musk bought 3 blocks of shares between $25.20 and $26.45 to add over 500,000 shares to his now total of 21.3 million shares or about 21% of the company.
Now just a few days after the disclosure of the stock purchase, we learn through a press release from Silver Lake Kraftwerk that Musk invested an additional $10 million in the company through convertible senior notes along with $100 million from Silver Lake and $3 million from SolarCity CEO and Musk’s cousin, Lyndon Rive. The bulk of the money is coming from Silver Lake, a private equity firm, but the investment from Musk and Rive, who both play important roles at the company, can be interpreted as a show of confidence for investors.
Silver Lake invested $25 million in SolarCity back in 2012 before the company went public, and the firm earned a 4x return when it sold its shares in 2013 after the IPO.
Josh Raffaelli, Managing Director at Silver Lake Kraftwerk, on the announcement:
“We believe that SolarCity is a highly attractive long-term investment opportunity. We think the Company’s unparalleled access to solar-specific tax equity, asset-backed security and debt clearly differentiates it from providers that are funding projects constantly via equity markets. Furthermore, we firmly believe that SolarCity’s near term focus on cost reduction and cash flow breakeven is absolutely the right strategy—the Company is already the leader in both commercial and residential solar. Its technology and brand advantage coupled with its cost structure and low cost of capital position it to continue to grow in 2017 even if the federal investment tax credit steps down. Distributed solar generation is an enormous opportunity and we believe there is no other company better positioned to take advantage of it.”
SolarCity CEO Lyndon Rive:
“Solar overtook natural gas and coal as the largest source of new energy in the U.S. in the first half of 2015, representing 40% of new capacity. Demand for SolarCity’s services has never been greater than it is today, and the global addressable market in front of us is massive. Silver Lake Kraftwerk knows the company and category well and we’re excited to work with them again.”
This is Musk’s second investment in SolarCity in just a few months. He bought $5 million worth of shares of the company earlier this summer.
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