SolarCity Corporation: Challenges in the Solar Energy Value Chain
(9 pages of text)
SolarCity Corporation competed in the downstream segment of the U.S. solar energy industry. The company installed solar panels for residential and commercial customers, using a decentralized (off-the-grid) power generation and transmission model to compete with utility companies that used a centralized (grid-based) model. Solar energy was a renewable source (unlike fossil-based energy sources) and therefore scored highly on both environmental and sustainability factors. To overcome the high switching costs to customers, SolarCity marketed solar energy using a financing model in which the company owned the assets and the customer merely paid a monthly fee for the energy used. As a new player in a nascent industry, SolarCity had never been profitable. SolarCity’s co-founder and chief executive officer had to develop a plan to make the company profitable despite the fact that utility companies were fighting back politically and the government was set to reduce tax subsidies for solar assets in the near future.
To examine the concept of disruptive innovation and identify the challenges that disruptors face.To describe what a business model is and show how its various parts contribute to profitability and competitive advantage.To emphasize the importance of cost and value drivers to competitive positioning.
United States, Medium, 2013
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