SolarCity Sees Increase in Interest Rate Having `Small Effect'

  • Customers may see increase of up to 1 cent a kilowatt-hour
  • Interest rates `entirely negligible of a risk' for SolarCity

SolarCity Corp., the biggest U.S. provider of rooftop solar power, expects a looming increase in interest rates to have a “very small effect” on consumers, Chief Executive Officer Lyndon Rive said in an interview Tuesday.

Rive, speaking at the climate talks in Paris, said customers would see an increase of a half a cent to 1 cent a kilowatt hour if the Federal Reserve bumped up interest rates by a quarter-percent.

In the third quarter, the blended rate for SolarCity installations was 13 cents a kilowatt-hour, according to Sven Eenmaa, an analyst at Stifel Nicolaus & Co Inc. in San Francisco.

“We’ve seen interest rates as being entirely negligible of a risk,” Angelica Jarvenpaa, a research associate at Raymond James Financial Inc. in Houston, said in an interview. “The decrease in PV panels would likely still be a bigger effect than interest-rate increases.”

SolarCity’s pricing is about 10 to 15 percent below utility costs. “Interest rates changes will not be changing this,” Jarvenpaa added in an interview.

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