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SolarCity Delays Full Earnings Results, but Meets Installation Expectations

By Travis Hoium – Feb 24, 2014 at 5:40PM

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SolarCity released preliminary earnings results today but didn't report full results as expected.

Residential solar installer SolarCity (SCTY.DL) reported preliminary earnings after the market closed today, but delayed releasing full earnings until next Monday as "a result of the accounting related to recent acquisitions as well as a change in overhead allocation." The delay is at least a little concerning because the date of today's release was announced just a month ago when acquisition challenges should have been known. 

We did find out from today's release that SolarCity continues to rapidly grow its footprint across the country. MW installed hit a record of 103 MW, and residential installations grew 130%, to 70 MW. 

Total revenue for the quarter was up 87%, to $47.3 million, and operating lease revenue was up 59%, to $22.4 million. Operating lease revenue was at the low end of guidance, but it appears that system sales were higher than expected.

Guidance for 2014 remained flat at 475 MW to 525 MW, and first quarter MW deployed is expected to be 78 MW to 82 MW. The lower installations in Q1 is typical for SolarCity and other installers, who finish projects near year end for tax purposes, and deal with cold weather that slows installations in Q1.

Shares of SolarCity were down about 4% shortly after the release, and a big reason is that results weren't wildly higher than expected. Investors have pushed expectations higher as the stock rose; sometimes, even meeting aggressive growth guidance isn't enough. I don't think this was a bad report, but shares may pull back as investors make more realistic expectations of what to expect from the company going forward.

Travis Hoium has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends SolarCity. The Motley Fool owns shares of SolarCity. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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