November 27, 2012 / 7:50 PM / 5 years ago

UPDATE 1-SolarCity sees IPO at $13-$15 a share

By Nichola Groom

Nov 27 (Reuters) - SolarCity Corp, a U.S. installer of residential and commercial solar systems, said it expects its initial public offering of 10.07 million shares to be priced at between $13 and $15 apiece.

At the top end of the expected price range, the offering would raise about $151 million and give the company a valuation of more than $1 billion.

That would make SolarCity the second-most valuable U.S.-listed solar company, behind First Solar Inc, which has a market capitalization of more than $2.2 billion.

SolarCity will be an outlier among publicly-traded solar companies, however, because that category until now has been dominated by panel manufacturers, whose businesses and share prices have suffered due to a global glut of solar panels that has sent prices into a tailspin.

The Silicon Valley start-up, in contrast, is benefiting from lower prices on the panels it installs. It has also grown rapidly because it allows customers to lease its product for a monthly fee, avoiding the hefty upfront costs of an outright purchase.

“U.S. investors for a long time have wanted to have a way to get leverage to the domestic solar market without having exposure to manufacturing,” said Raymond James analyst Pavel Molchanov. “SolarCity is not a manufacturer of any kind and that makes it a one-of-a-kind story in the public market today.”

SolarCity is selling 10 million shares, while selling shareholders will offer 65,012 shares in the offering, it said in an amended filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on Tuesday. ()

The stock is expected to begin trading on the Nasdaq on Dec. 12 under the symbol “SCTY.” SolarCity will have 71.71 million shares outstanding after the offering, according to the filing.

SolarCity, which is based in San Mateo, California, has been hailed as the alternative energy industry’s most promising IPO candidate since electric car company Tesla Motors Inc’s 2010 debut. Tesla’s founder and chief executive, Elon Musk, is SolarCity’s chairman and the first cousin of its co-founders, Lyndon and Peter Rive.

Companies including Google Inc and U.S. Bancorp have provided funds to finance SolarCity’s projects.

Goldman Sachs, Credit Suisse and BofA Merrill Lynch are among the underwriters to the offering.

SolarCity’s venture capital backers include Draper Fisher Jurvetson, DBL Investors, Mayfield Fund, Shea Ventures and Valor Equity Partners.

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