Elon Musk's Cousin Steps Down As Head Of Bedraggled SolarCity

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Peter Rive, Lyndon's brother and SolarCity co-founder, is apparently staying with 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.

Rive told Reuters that he's more interested in "starting and running companies", but it's also true that Tesla has changed its strategy regarding installations on homes, which definitely impacts Rive's original vision of providing a means to get to low-priced, widespread distribution of aftermarket installations for everyday people.

Rive, a native of South Africa, founded SolarCity with financial backing from Musk.

SolarCity founder and cousin to Elon Musk, Lyndon Rive, announced on Monday that he will be leaving Tesla in June. He had been in a sales and servicing executive role at Tesla since the takeover, with remaining SolarCity employees to take over his duties, Reuters said. I can hand off the baton to somebody else and give myself the opportunity to do something else that could also have another impact.

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Tech-heavy EV maker and energy storage vendor Tesla purchased SolarCity, comfortably one of the US' top three solar installers, for around US$2.6 billion a year ago. 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 nearly 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. The company in 2013 aimed to have 1 million customers by 2018, but scaled back its plans at the end of 2015 as costs for funding that growth mounted and demand began to slow.

"Solar Roof is creating a massive new market around the world for consumers that would never have considered using solar power otherwise", Rive said. SolarCity hit 300,000 customers late past year.

Like his cousin, Rive grew up in South Africa with an ambitious, entrepreneurial mother and an early desire to start companies.

In a statement, a Tesla spokeswoman credited Rive with building SolarCity into the country's top solar provider. News of his departure comes only days after the EV maker started taking orders for its new solar product: solar shingles.

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