Costs of solar key to growth: SunEdison CEO

The cost of solar energy has been dropping so precipitously that the industry has a long growth trajectory ahead of it, Ahmad Chatila, CEO and president of SunEdison, said Monday.

Shares of SunEdison climbed 7.7 percent to close at $17.90 after Greenlight Capital's David Einhorn discussed the stock at the Robin Hood Investor's Conference in New York earlier in the day. Einhorn holds a 7.9 percent stake in the company, according to the most recent 13F filing.

On CNBC's "Fast Money," Chatila said declining costs were key to growth.

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Technicians install solar panels on a house in Mission Viejo, Calif.
Mario Anzuoni | Reuters
Technicians install solar panels on a house in Mission Viejo, Calif.

"The cost has declined 80 percent over the last five years," he said. "It's going to decline another 70 percent by 2020, so the cost of solar is going to be around 4 or 5 cents a kilowatt hour, which is below gas in most places on Earth. And it's going to go down from there. It might go down another 50 percent by 2030. So, we're in the beginning.

"There's enough rooftops in the world to do multi-terawatts. So, it's just beginning."

Chatila also said SunEdison has positioned itself as a provider of energy solutions and not just a manufacturer of solar panels.

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"We try to control the costs of modules, but we're not a module player," he said. "If you're purely a module player, you're a commodity player, and you can see it in all commodities, steel, memory chips and all that."

Chatila said he welcomed ownership stakes from hedge funds, such as Barry Rosenstein's Jana Partners, which holds a 3.9 percent interest, and Leon Cooperman's Omega Advisors, which owns 2.7 percent.

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"Having these people helps us on everything," he said.