Green

SolarCity’s discount approach to going public pays off

SolarCity at long last went public this morning, and its shares quickly rose above the price of the initial public offering.

Trading started at $9.25 and by midday surpassed $12 and expectations. Yesterday, SolarCity lowered the price of its IPO to $8, down from the $13-$15 range set in November, raising $92 million. Initially, it hoped to surpass $200 million in its IPO. 

The stock, however, took off. This is partly attributable to SolarCity chairman Elon Musk, along with fellow board member Draper Fisher Jurveston, indicating their intent to buy a significant portion of the shares.

Tech IPOs have had mixed results this year. Consumer tech companies like Facebook and Yelp saw their stock go down after their IPOs, while enterprise companies such as Palo Alto Networks and Workday fared well in the public market. But U.S. green tech companies have had a rough year in 2012. The Bloomberg Global Large Solar Index (BISOLAR) of 17 companies declined 36 percent in 2012 as a global oversupply pushed down prices for solar panels by 28 percent.

SolarCity, on the other hand, benefits from cheaper solar panels because it is a financier and leaser, rather than manufacturer. Current clients include Stanford University, Walmart, Ebay, the U.S. Armed Forces, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, and Intel.

Shares debuted on the NASDAQ under the ticker symbol SCTY. Underwriters for the deal include Goldman Sachs, Credit Suisse, Bank of America, Merrill Lynch, Needham & Company, and Roth Capital Partners.

Prior to the IPO, SolarCity raised a whopping $455 million in venture capital.

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