SolarCity flags layoffs, slashes exec pay in restructuring plan

US distributed solar giant SolarCity is to cut jobs as part of a corporate restructuring programme to match reduced installation expectations, it emerged late Wednesday.

The California-based company told US financial regulators it expects to “incur restructuring charges ranging from approximately $3m to $5m, consisting primarily of severance benefits”in a process due to be complete by the end of this year.

No further details were given – except that the annual pay of co-founders Lyndon and Peter Rive, SolarCity’s chief executive and chief technology officer, would be slashed from $275,000 to $1.

SolarCity has cut its 2016 installation guidance several times this year, most recently earlier this month when it lowered it to 900MW-1GW.

The company had earlier expected as much as 1.25GW, and told shareholders at the time of the latest downgrade that “as our infrastructure had been built to handle 1.25GW of annual capacity, we will be reducing our cost structure to accommodate our current forecasted volume run rate”.

SolarCity – the largest US rooftop PV installer – is currently in the throes of a $2.6bn takeover by electric vehicle pioneer Tesla Motors.

Tesla boss Elon Musk, who is also SolarCity’s chairman and largest shareholder, has ambitious plans to ally the PV group with Tesla as the two converge in the fast-developing storage space.

SolarCity is building a factory in upstate New York which Musk recently claimed would make it the world’s “lowest cost” PV manufacturer.