SolarCity Loss Narrows as Rooftop Leasing Demand Grows

SolarCity Corp., the second-largest U.S. solar company by market value, reported a narrower second-quarter loss as demand for rooftop power systems surged 71 percent.

The company installed 53 megawatts of panels in the quarter, up from 31 megawatts a year earlier. The net loss shrank to $23.9 million, or 31 cents a share, from $25.8 million, or $2.37, a year earlier, San Mateo, California-based SolarCity said today in a statement. Excluding one-time items, the loss was 4 cents more than the 39-cent average of five analysts’ estimates compiled by Bloomberg.

The company hasn’t reported a profit since its December initial public offering and Chief Executive Officer Lyndon Rive is boosting investment in new projects that he expects will deliver long-term revenue.

“We remain confident we’ll deploy 270 megawatts in 2013 and be cash flow positive in Q4,” Rive said today on a conference call with analysts.

SolarCity invested $158 million to install solar systems in the quarter, compared with $138.2 million in the prior quarter. The company installs power systems typically at little to no upfront cost for customers, who sign decades-long contracts to purchase the power.

Revenue slipped to $37.9 million from $46.6 million a year earlier as the company focused on solar leases and shifted away from selling rooftop systems to customers who paid upfront for the projects.

The company expects to install 70 megawatts to 77 megawatts of panels in the current quarter and a total of 270 megawatts of panels this year.

First Solar Inc. is the largest U.S. solar company.

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