America’s dominant solar provider, SolarCity, has revealed it installed 870 MW in 2015, up 73% from 2014 figures.
However, in an effort to provide better guidance, and in the wake of infrastructure decisions, SolarCity is providing guidance of only 180 MW of installs in the first quarter of 2016. SolarCity failed to meet its provided fourth quarter guidance of between 280 MW and 300 MW, installing only 272 MW, and representing yet another failure in the company’s ability to provide accurate guidance.
As such, SolarCity’s shares slammed off a cliff on Wednesday, dropping nearly 30% in after-hours trading.
“We closed out a strong 2015 with installations growing 73% to a record 870 MW and costs falling to new lows, though we fell short of our installation goals more than once,” said Lyndon Rive, CEO, in its fourth quarter shareholder letter. “We are not happy with these results, and recognize our need to revamp our guidance methodology to avoid any potential shortfalls going forward.”
It was not a bad year, or quarter, for SolarCity — a record 272 MW was installed in the fourth quarter, bringing cumulative 2015 installations up to 870 MW. SolarCity also reached a record low cost of $2.71 per watt, after $1.90 per watt installation costs.
SolarCity blamed part of its failure to reach its guided installation figures due to the closure of its Nevada operations in December. The closure is also one of the primary reasons that SolarCity has limited its guidance for the first quarter of 2016 to only 180 MW, which represents growth of 18% year-over-year, and a 34% decline as compared to the fourth quarter of 2015.
The company also expects GAAP operating expenses of between $230 million and $240 million, and a non-GAAP loss per share of between $2.55 and $2.65.
In the end, SolarCity can confidently say it “entered 2016 as the clear volume and relative cost leader of the US distributed solar industry,” but it will need to work hard on its management guidance if it is to recoup its stock market losses.
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