SolarCity Files for IPO of Up to $201.3 Million

Solar panel installer SolarCity Corp filed with U.S. regulators to raise up to $201 million in an initial public offering that could help rekindle investor appetite for cleantech stocks.

Shares of solar panel manufacturers have logged terrible performances in the last two years as plunging panel prices erased profits. But those lower prices have spurred demand for solar systems in the United States, helping companies like San Mateo, California-based SolarCity.

SolarCity has expanded rapidly thanks to a business model that allows residential customers to lease solar panels for their roofs. Rather than paying the large upfront costs required for a solar installation, customers pay a monthly fee.

Companies including Google Inc (GOOG.O) and U.S. Bancorp (USB.N) have provided funds to finance SolarCity’s projects. Those investors are able to collect a 30 percent federal tax credit for solar energy systems.

Two of those funds are being audited by the Internal Revenue Service, SolarCity disclosed in its filing on Friday.

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