NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- SolarCity ( SCTY) is going to be the most controversial play on the market today, after jumping 23% Friday because it said business is good. The company didn't announce results, but "metrics." It said it installed 78 megawatts of power during the third quarter, and is on track to install 278 MW for the full year, and about 500 MW next year. It didn't say how much money it would make from all this, and in fact it has only come near to breaking even once, in the fourth quarter of 2012. Institute for Local Self Reliance indicates there will be more than 16,000 megawatts of production there this year from commercial and residential installations, 6.9% of the total market, with the state's utilities targeting 20% of their load from solar overall.
Another potential challenge down the road is IKEA, which announced last month it plans to sell CIGS panels produced by Hanergy of China, in England, for 5,700 British pounds ($9,120), with do-it-yourself installation. That's less than half the cost of a typical California roof installation now. SolarCity is currently installing polysilicon panels, and last week acquired Zep Solar, which supplies mounting modules that also convert panels' DC power to AC for the grid, for $158 million in stock. Zep licenses its designs to Chinese polysilicon panel makers, who will now be paying those license fees to SolarCity. TSLA), and who previously co-founded Paypal. Musk's net worth in September was estimated at $8.8 billion. Critics point out that this is a company that has never made money, which is irrelevant, and that it's closely manipulated by the founders, which is relevant. The company said last week it would sell $125 million in new equity, 3.4 million shares, to a collection of large shareholders, including Musk, which comes to under $37/share. The stock closed Friday at $47.18. Follow @DanaBlankenhorn This article is commentary by an independent contributor, separate from TheStreet's regular news coverage.