In November, shareholders approved a deal for Tesla to buy SolarCity Corp. in a transaction worth approximately $2.6 billion. Since that time, investors have pushed Tesla CEO Elon Musk to prove that this acquisition is fiscally responsible, with high expectations for the final quarter of 2016 and a positive outlook for 2017.
In the Tesla Q4 and full year 2016 financial results and Q&A webcast on Wednesday, SolarCity was well-celebrated as an essential element of “the world’s only integrated sustainable energy company, from generation to storage to transportation.”
Discussions around the Tesla Q4 financial statement included the results of SolarCity’s operations from the close of the acquisition on November 21 to December 31, 2016. Increases totaling Q4 GAAP operating expenses supported the growing Tesla business spectrum alongside $85 million of solar-related operating expenses since the acquisition of SolarCity. Moreover, Tesla also received $214 million in cash from the acquisition of SolarCity, which helped sweeten the Q4 report.
Tesla reports that it is “on track to generate $500M in cash” in the next two years. As Musk quipped at the beginning of the webcast, “I admire long term planning.” A significant component of that advanced fiscal forecast is the “achieve the cost synergies” that Tesla committed to upon acquiring SolarCity. Tesla outlined three ways that they intend to build the SolarCity.
Tesla is well-positioned in the alternative energy sector with SolarCity, as solar power installations doubled in 2016 over 2015 as more and more areas of the U.S. began pulling their power from the sun. Indeed, for the first time, solar power installations formed the largest group of electricity generating capacity of any energy source. Nearly 40 percent of new power generation projects added last year were solar, in terms of electrical production capacity. A record 22 states each added more than 100 megawatts.
The trend should continue in the next two years, consistent with the Tesla SolarCity viability plan, according to a report by GTM Research. They say that the community solar segment is on verge of becoming a mainstream driver of U.S. solar market growth. Starting in 2017, community solar is expected to consistently drive 20% – 25% of the annual non-residential PV market and become a half-gigawatt annual market by 2019.