Solar Energy Installer SolarCity Earnings — Partly Sunny

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Solar rooftop installation
Source: Thinkstock
SolarCity Corp. (NASDAQ: SCTY) reported third quarter 2013 earnings after markets closed Wednesday. For the quarter, the solar PV installer posted an adjusted earnings per share (EPS) loss of $0.43 on revenues of $48.6 million. In the same period a year ago, the company reported an unadjusted EPS loss of $3.41 on revenues of $31.97 million. Third-quarter results compare to the Thomson Reuters consensus estimates for an adjusted EPS loss of $0.44 and $42.52 million in revenues.

On a GAAP basis SolarCity posted EPS of $0.04 which excludes a line item loss of $0.47 per share attributed to common stockholders.

The company’s outlook for the fourth quarter includes an adjusted EPS loss of $0.55 to $0.65. SolarCity expects to deploy 101 megawatts of new solar projects during the quarter, with a gross margin of 30% to 40%. Revenues from leasing are expected at $22 to $24 million and systems sales revenues are expected at $18 to $22 million. Operating expenses are pegged at $50 to $55 million.

SolarCity expects to deploy 278 megawatts in 2013, rising to a total of 475 to 525 megawatts in 2014. That’s a jump of 71% to 89%. That number is worth paying attention to.

The leasing revenue forecast is lower than the $24.8 million that SolarCity booked in the third quarter, and the mid-point of the anticipated sales revenue is about equal to actual third quarter revenue of $23.8 million. Operating expense forecast are also forecast higher, above actual third quarter expenses of $46.2 million.

Prior to today’s results the consensus analysts’ estimate for the third quarter included an EPS loss of $0.47 on revenues of $40.45 million. The low end of SolarCity’s revenue guidance ($40 million) is a little short of consensus, and the EPS loss outlook is considerably larger.

SolarCity’s estimated nominal contracted payments remaining on long-term leasing deals total $1.74 billion, up 23% sequentially.

The stock is up 400% year-to-date and about 430% since the company’s IPO last December. A secondary offering and a private note placement have added about $450 million to the company’s coffers without damaging the share price. That has to count for something.

Shares are down about 0.1% in after-hours trading at $59.55 in a 52-week range of $9.20 to $65.30. The consensus target price for the shares was around $50.60 before today’s report.