SolarCity Shares Up 30% in Market Debut


Shares of SolarCity Corp (NASDAQ:SCTY) jumped more than 30 percent during their market debut on Thursday, after the clean technology company slashed its IPO price.

The top U.S. installer of residential solar systems opened Nasdaq trading at $9.25. In late morning, the stock was up 31 percent at $10.46.

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The San Mateo, California-based company backed by technology entrepreneur Elon Musk sold 11.5 million shares at $8, raising $92 million. It initially had planned to sell 10.1 million shares between $13 and $15 per share.

Concern that the company's original $1 billion valuation was too rich may have turned off potential investors, according to a source close to the deal.

That valuation would have made SolarCity the second-most valuable U.S.-listed solar company behind panel manufacturer and project developer First Solar Inc, which has a market capitalization of $2.6 billion.

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At current trading levels, SolarCity's valuation now stands at around $750 million.

SolarCity has been hailed as one of Silicon Valley's hottest cleantech companies in a sector that has seen its share of disappointments in the last year.

In April, solar power company BrightSource, which had received backing from top investors including Google Inc , withdrew its IPO.

The sector has also seen several high-profile flame-outs including the bankruptcies of solar company Solyndra and battery maker A123 Systems.

Co-founder of Tesla Motors and PayPal, Musk is SolarCity's chairman and the first cousin of its co-founders, Lyndon and Peter Rive. He holds a 31 percent stake in the company and said he would buy $15 million of SolarCity stock in the IPO.

SolarCity reported a net loss of $80 million on revenue of $103.4 million for the nine months ending Sept. 30.

Underwriters for the IPO include Goldman Sachs, Credit Suisse and Bank of America Merrill Lynch.