Solar powered Featured

8:00pm EDT June 25, 2009
Finalists
Clean Technology

Peter and Lyndon Rive are no strangers to adversity, risk and hard work.

Lyndon Rive founded a health food distribution company in South Africa at age 17, and then, with his brother already in America, he sold the company to a large health food producer, using the proceeds to immigrate to the United States. There, the brothers founded Everdream, built it into an industry leader in software and formed a partnership with Dell, which acquired the company in 2007.

In preparation, the year before, they poured their earnings into founding a renewable energy company, with the goal of building a national solar brand for consumers and small businesses. In its first full year of operation, SolarCity became the largest residential solar provider in the western United States — beating 250 competitors to the top spot — based on the brothers’ invention of a solar community program model of providing a discount to communities that adopt solar collectively, reducing installation costs and making it possible to offer competitive pricing.

The pair are driven by the ambition that they can serve millions of customers, making an environmental impact. In the next two years, they plan to expand to more than 20 states and are considering an IPO to accommodate the company’s growth.

Lyndon and Peter Rive say that the key to their success is making solar energy affordable. In 2008, they launched a program introducing solar/grid parity pricing with a leasing option that allows homeowners to put zero money down and pay less for solar power than they previously paid to their power company. In less than two years, they have built the program — SolarLease — into a one-stop shop for financing, design, installation, monitoring and maintenance support of inexpensive solar energy from a single source.

How to reach: SolarCity, (650) 638-1028 or www.solarcity.com