SolarCity founder will leave Tesla to focus on family and future projects

SolarCity founder and cousin to Elon Musk, Lyndon Rive, announced on Monday that he will be leaving Tesla in June. The former executive of the nation’s once largest full-service solar solutions provider will look to start a new company and spend more time with his family, reports Reuters.

Rive who serves as head of sales and services for Tesla Energy will not be immediately replaced. Rather, his role and responsibilities will be distributed among Tesla leadership, said a spokesperson for Tesla. Tesla’s vice president of global infrastructure operations, Cal Lankton, will absorb Rive’s role as head of sales and operations for energy products.

40-year old Rive who grew an empire dedicated to advancing U.S. households towards the adoption of solar systems, will focus his time on growing a new company that could “have another impact”. “My skill set and what I love doing is starting and running companies,” Rive said in an interview. “I can hand off the baton to somebody else and give myself the opportunity to do something else that could also have another impact.”

The leaving of Rive doesn’t come as much of a surprise following Tesla’s very public and scrutinized $2.6 billion acquisition of SolarCity last August. Billed by many on Wall St. as a financially inviable acquisition and “bailout” of a company bleeding cash to survive, Tesla began shifting SolarCity’s business model almost immediately following its acquisition – shifting previously focused efforts on door-to-door sales and long term leases to sales of products with the highest profit margin. This comes in stark contrast to SolarCity’s previous goal of casting a wide net on solar installations, aiming to expand its solar footprint “at any cost”.

Under the direction of Tesla CEO Elon Musk, the Silicon Valley-based electric carmaker and energy company has capitalized on SolarCity’s supply chain and sales force to create a vertically integrated sustainable energy company, from energy generation to storage to transportation.

In a press release published last November, Tesla said of the company acquisition of SolarCity:

Tesla’s acquisition of SolarCity is an important part of creating this future. The acquisition will enable us to transform into a truly integrated sustainable energy company capable of developing, producing, selling, installing, and servicing these products in the most seamless way possible.

This is where Tesla’s acquisition of SolarCity can make a huge difference. SolarCity is the #1 provider of residential and commercial solar. It maintains a vertically integrated supply chain for high efficiency module manufacturing, it has its own direct sales force, and it has the best installation team in the industry. Moreover, it has figured out how to offer innovative financing options to reduce its cost of capital and make solar energy more accessible and affordable to more customers. The ability to couple all of these advantages with Tesla’s design and manufacturing expertise, its global retail footprint, and its loyal customer following provides a unique combination that exceeds what any other company can offer.

Tesla began accepting orders of its innovative glass solar roof tiles last week. The company also began selling a new ultra-slim version of the traditional rooftop solar panel, post acquisition of SolarCity.


SolarCity founder will leave Tesla to focus on family and future projects
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