Green Ideas That Made Millions


South Africa-born brothers Lyndon and Peter Rive knew they wanted to get into green business, but they wanted to choose the application that would make the greatest impact. Once they zoned in on solar power, there was no turning back.

They launched SolarCity in 2006, and immediately set out on their mission to make solar power accessible to everyone by eliminating up-front cost through a leasing system.

The Foster City, Calif. company has made a huge splash, expanding to five states and installing more than 8,000 systems in four years. To put that in perspective, only 75,000 systems have been deployed in the entire United States over the past 30 years, the brothers say.

With so many solar panels already installed, it’s time for a break, right? No way. The Rive brothers hope to install more than a million solar systems and have plans to expand SolarCity to the East Coast by 2011.

“At the current rate of adoption we’re not going to move the environmental needle,” says Lyndon Rive. “If we want to make an environmental impact, we have to do this fast. So, we want to keep expanding and bringing affordable solar power to even more people.”

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