LOS ANGELES Nov 12 SolarCity Corp said it will
install solar panels on up to 4,700 U.S. military homes at Fort
Bliss near El Paso, Texas, and the nearby White Sands Missile
Range in New Mexico.
The project is part of SolarCity's $1 billion SolarStrong
initiative, which will put solar systems on up to 120,000
military homes over five years.
The announcement represents the largest phase yet of
SolarStrong, the solar panel installer said. The company will
start construction in January, and plans to create 100 new
installation, electrical and maintenance jobs for the project.
SolarCity is the top U.S. installer of residential solar
systems. It has grown rapidly, largely because it allows
customers to lease its costly product by paying a monthly fee,
avoiding hefty upfront costs of an outright purchase.
SolarCity, which is expected to go public before year end,
is also benefiting from the sliding price of solar panels that
has walloped their manufacturers.
The U.S. Department of Defense has designated Fort Bliss a
"NetZero Installation," meaning it is expected to produce as
much energy as it consumes.
SolarCity is collaborating on the project with Balfour
Beatty Communities LLC, which manages the residential
communities where the solar panels will be installed.
Under terms of the project, SolarCity will lease the panels
to a special-purpose entity that is a partnership between
Balfour Beatty and the Department of Defense, the company said.
Bank of America Merrill Lynch is financing the project.
The project will lower power costs for the Fort Bliss
residences and lock in rates for 20 years, SolarCity Chief
Executive Lyndon Rive said in an interview.
Asked how looming automatic military spending cuts and tax
increases - the so-called fiscal cliff - could affect the
SolarStrong initiative, Rive said he could not comment on the
possible impact because of the company's impending initial
The San Mateo, California, company would not discuss its