Shares of the Elon Musk-backed clean energy company sank in premarket trading but then rose more than 3.5% in the early trading session Tuesday to an all-time high of $81.37. On Monday evening, the company announced it was pushing its complete GAAP earnings back a week due to recent acquisitions, and also said it expected to install fewer solar panels in the first quarter as a result of cold weather while it reaffirmed guidance for the current year.
The company also reported a drop in new customers from the previous quarter. Shares sank in premarket action Tuesday as investors fretted over the delayed results.
However, Solar City said it exceeded its goals for the fourth quarter with 103 megawatts installed. For the full year, Solar City reported 280 megawatts installed, above its previous guidance of 250 megawatts. The company also reported its cost per megawatt was reduced 30%. The company also exited the year with a strong cash balance.
For the first quarter, the company said it now expects between 78 and 82 megawatts installed -- 80 megawatts would be 74% above the year-ago quarter.
For the fourth quarter, analysts forecast the company to report a loss of 55 cents a share on revenue of $43.1 million. The company on Monday estimated revenue grew 87% to $47.3 million.
The company said it now expects to report full quarter and 2013 results on March 3.
SolarCity isn't a panel manufacturer but an energy company. Its business model is to install systems for business and residences and lease its products to customers.
If solar array costs drop, SolarCity can either increase its profit margin or lower customer rates to make it more competitive with traditional utilities.
-- Written by Carlton Wilkinson in New York