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SolarCity Corporation Thinks These Are 3 of Its Biggest Risks

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SolarCity Corporation Thinks These Are 3 of Its Biggest Risks


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1. The Status Quo


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1. The Status Quo SolarCity Corporation’s rooftop systems threaten the utility sector’s status quo, and not everyone is happy. Some utilities have embraced decentralized renewable energy solutions: NextEra Energy’s (NYSE:NEE) and SolarCity Corporation are teaming up to triple Hawaii’s solar power.


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1. The Status Quo But other utilities see SolarCity as a threat, and are pushing regulators to increase oversight and grid responsibility for rooftop solar owners. If solar users have to pay production fees or can be charged more for their utility-bought electricity, that could tip more scales back in favor of utility-generated electricity.


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2. Disappearing Subsidies


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2. Disappearing Subsidies Solar use is soaring, but the industry still relies on production tax credits to make many of its modules cost-competitive. SolarCity Corporation and its customers have historically enjoyed a 30% investment tax credit, but that could soon disappear.


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2. Disappearing Subsidies The tax credit is set to disappear for residential users in 2017, while commercial customers get to hang on to a 10% credit. That means commercial customer-centric solar companies like First Solar, Inc. (Nasdaq: FSLR) will be slightly better off, and could be one reason SolarCity Corporation is expanding its offerings to small businesses.


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3. China Solar Trade


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3. China Solar Trade SolarCity Corporation relies on China for “a significant portion” of its solar panel components. U.S.-China solar trade soured in 2012 when the U.S. imposed import taxes ranging from 35% to 255% on solar cells.


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3. China Solar Trade Those tax rates have declined since 2012, but the U.S. continues to investigate different aspects of U.S.-China solar trade. In September 2014, SolarCity Corporation bought manufacturing company Silevo Inc. to bring Chinese manufacturing into its own business, but it will continue to rely on other suppliers for the near future.


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