The largest provider of solar power in the country is now set up in Elmsford, and has filed an initial public offering to boot.
SolarCity Corp. opened its Westchester operations center this summer, with offices, a training center, warehouse and distribution center in a 33,000-square-foot building on Ridgewood Drive in Elmsford.
The move is creating 80 jobs in the county, as the company is looking for salespeople, engineers, electricians and construction managers.
“We’re in the process of ramping this business up,” said Ed Steins, northeastern regional vice president. “It’s a real employment generator.”
Steins said the company had several reasons for moving into Westchester. It serves 165 customers out of Westchester, and the county is a convenient middleman for their northeastern operation that runs from Boston to Washington, D.C. The company, founded in 2006, is headquartered in San Mateo, California.
The expansion into Westchester would not have been possible without Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s New York Sun initiative, launched in late August, that incentivizes people to switch to solar power. Elmsford was considered a great location because it is near major highways, and Board of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES) vocational schools.
“It made finding employees who are trained in solar power easier,” Steins said.
On Oct. 5, SolarCity announced that it filed an IPO, hoping to raise $201 million. The number of shares to be offered and the price range for the offering have not been determined. SolarCity will apply to list its common stock on the NASDAQ Global Market under the ticker symbol “SCTY”.
Goldman, Sachs & Co., Credit Suisse Securities (USA) L.L.C. and Bank of America Merrill Lynch will act as joint book-running managers for the offering. Needham & Company L.L.C. and Roth Capital Partners will act as co-managers.
The Westchester operation will oversee solar jobs throughout the metropolitan region, including one near Yankee Stadium in the Bronx and a commercial project in Newburgh. The company also recently opened a sales office on Long Island.
SolarCity, which employs more than 2,100 people nationwide and has more than 31,600 customers, installs solar systems and also offers insurance, repairs, monitoring and financing. The company is touting its solar lease program, which allows customers to go solar for no money down and a smaller utility bill.
“To find all these services under one roof is unique,” Steins said. “The lease opens up solar as an option for the middle and working class. It appeals to everyone.”
Steins said that solar is cheaper than “dirty” utility power, while also helping the environment by not creating greenhouse gases.
“You can actually pay for 20 years of electricity up front,” Steins said. “That is very significant; you are buying the system outright. We monitor the system and should it need repairs, we repair it. It’s really hassle-free.”
The green movement has led to solar power becoming more popular in recent years and Steins said he hopes that solar panels become as prevalent as flat screen televisions.
SolarCity also conducts energy efficiency audits for Westchester property owners.
“Customers are astounded by how much energy leaks out of their building and homes,” Steins said. “It’s a huge amount and we help them see where we can close those leakages. Whether it’s installation or a high-efficiency boiler, it’s all services that we can provide. They don’t realize that when there is a breeze blowing through the house, that’s a loss of energy.”
Greenburgh Supervisor Paul Feiner said he was pleased to see SolarCity’s arrival in the town. Greenburgh was one of the first municipalities to install solar panels on its buildings.
“I would like to work with SolarCity,” Feiner said. “We’re looking to do more as a town to promote solar energy and other green energy. I hope that having such a prestigious green business in our town will inspire businesses and residents to seriously consider solar. This is the kind of company I love having in the town.”
Steins said that candidates for employment at SolarCity can go to solarcity.com and apply online.