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For the third straight quarter, there were plenty of excuses, from the timing of sales to regulatory uncertainty, but the disappointing results are becoming a trend. And it's time to start taking the company's challenges very seriously.

What we learned in Q1 2016
Revenue jumped 82% to $122.6 million and net loss was up 16% to $25 million, or $0.25 per share. But those aren't the real metrics to judge SolarCity by.

214 MW of solar systems were installed in the quarter, which was higher than the 180 MW guidance due partly to a 14 MW project that was completed earlier than expected. But bookings were about 150 MW lower than expected, and that's making the second quarter look extremely weak. Management now expects 185 MW of installs in Q2 and full-year 2016 guidance was reduced from 1.25 GW to 1.0 to 1.1 GW. Notice that the guidance reduction was even bigger than the 150 MW bookings miss in the quarter. Management said there were a few reasons for the miss, some of which are very notable.

A price increase that went into effect early in 2016 pulled some bookings into 2015. It also left customers, especially in the commercial segment, with little urgency to sign contracts early in the quarter.

The lack of a loan product kept some customers from booking in the quarter. SolarCity began offering a new loan product in early May 2016.
Nevada's decision not to grandfather solar customers into net metering had an adverse impact on costs. Management was clearly expecting a favorable ruling, which it didn't get.

When SolarCity doesn't hit its booking goals, it has to spread sales costs over a much smaller base. And that led to the sharp increase in cost per watt.

Shares of the Elon Musk-co-founded firm plunged almost 21 percent, a day after reporting a larger-than-expected loss.

SolarCity posted an adjusted first-quarter loss of $2.56 per share on Monday, while analysts polled by Reuters expected a loss of $2.32 per share.

The company also guided to a wider-than-expected loss for the second quarter. It expects sales of $135 million to $143 million in the second quarter, versus a forecast for $151 million, according to Thomson Reuters.

Analysts at R.W. Baird slashed their price target on the stock to $37 from $47, adding "We want to get more constructive on the stock but think management has ruined its credibility for now, although the Musk/Reeve relationship should attract long-term growth investors."

On Tuesday, the stock closed at $17.82.

Shares shed roughly 20 percent of their value in after-hours trading. The stock has fallen more than 50 percent this year, battered by a dim investor outlook on the stock.
 

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I was listening to a report just the other day where analysts were complaining because the company's metrics were difficult for investors to understand. I'm not sure what is so difficult to figure out about SolarCity's past and future revenues.
 
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