SolarCity Reports Fourth-Quarter Loss as Rooftop Leases Surge

SolarCity Corp., the solar-power provider led by billionaire Elon Musk, posted a fourth-quarter loss as a surge in demand for solar leases increased its investment in rooftop power systems.

The loss was $3.04 million, or $1.10 cents a share, compared with net income of $14.1 million, or 24 cents a year earlier, San Mateo, California-based SolarCity said today in a statement. The company was expected to lose 49 cents a share, the average of five analysts’ estimates compiled by Bloomberg.

Sales rose to $25.3 million from $20.7 million a year earlier. This was the company’s first earnings report since its December initial public offering.

The company invested $151.3 million to build solar systems in the quarter, outpacing revenue, as demand for rooftop panels from homeowners and businesses surged. Installations increased 129 percent to 48 megawatts from a year earlier.

SolarCity shares have more than doubled since they debuted at $8 on Dec. 12. They gained 3.9 percent to $19.27 at the close in New York.

SolarCity in January said installations of rooftop solar systems will climb to 250 megawatts this year, up from 156 megawatts in 2012. The company installs and maintains solar power systems that provide electricity to homeowners in 14 states.

(SolarCity scheduled a conference call with analysts and investors at 5 p.m. in New York. To listen, go to the company’s website at