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The Journal Gazette

Thursday, December 13, 2012 12:04 pm

SolarCity shares surge in market debut

The Associated Press

Shares of rooftop solar installer SolarCity surged Thursday in their market debut after the offer priced well below its original expectations.

The stock rose $3.09, or 38.6 percent, to $11.09 in afternoon trading, after reaching as high as $11.35 earlier.

The San Mateo, Calif., company, started by PayPal founder Elon Musk, cut its expectations for the offer on Wednesday. It issued 11.5 million shares at $8 per share, for proceeds of $92 million. It originally hoped to offer 10.1 million shares at $13 to $15 per share, with proceeds of $141 million.

SolarCity offers homeowners a "solar lease" that allows them to pay for the panels and electricity that they generate over time, often for less than it would cost to buy electricity from a local utility.

The company has been growing quickly, aided by a huge decline in the price of solar panels. While that has crushed solar panel makers' profits, lower prices have also boosted installers' prospects by allowing them to sell solar-generated electricity cheaper than grid power with no upfront investment.