How Lyndon Rive and SolarCity are changing the energy industry, one solar system at a time

Lyndon Rive, CEO and co-founder, SolarCity

Lyndon Rive, CEO and co-founder, SolarCity

NCA Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year


Award recipient


Lyndon Rive

CEO and co-founder



SolarCity, with Lyndon Rive at the lead as CEO and co-founder, is positioning itself to transform the energy industry, including going through an IPO in December 2012.

Unlike traditional utility companies with little competition as the cost of supplying energy keeps escalating, SolarCity offers consumers a choice about the source of their energy.

Rive is a serial entrepreneur. He started his first business in South Africa when he was 17. Eventually he immigrated to the United States and founded SolarCity with his brother, Peter Rive, in 2006.

They were consistently receiving advice to get into manufacturing solar panels. However, the brothers observed the real chasm that existed with the lack of access of affordable solar power for the average homeowner.

The company’s aim is to replace dirty, expensive energy with cheaper, clean energy by investing in the infrastructure at individual homes and businesses. SolarCity provides and installs solar panels and equipment to customers free of charge. Customers pay only for the energy they use, at a rate less than the electricity they receive from utility companies.

Rive sees SolarCity’s management team as split between offense and defense. He leads the offense, those with sales and marketing backgrounds as well as experts from the energy industry. The defensive team, which focuses on operations, solar technology and the R&D, is lead by Rive’s brother.

Through stock options employees become invested in the success of the company as part owners. SolarCity has grown from a company of two employees to more than 3,000. About eight people are hired each day, and the company production demands dictate that nearly twice that number is needed to keep up with their growth rates.

Additionally, the company has been responsive to catastrophic events around the world, helping install emergency systems after the BP oil spill, the 2011 tsunami that hit Japan and Superstorm Sandy.

How to reach: SolarCity,

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