Lyndon Rive (born 22 January 1977) is a South African businessman known as the co-founder of SolarCity, and its CEO until 2016. SolarCity is a provider of photovoltaic systems and related services. Rive co-founded SolarCity with his brother Peter in 2006.

Lyndon Rive
Rive in 2015
Born (1977-01-22) 22 January 1977 (age 47)
Pretoria, South Africa[1]
Known forCo-founder and former CEO of SolarCity

Rive started his first company at age 17 before leaving his native country, South Africa.[2] He then co-founded the enterprise software company Everdream, which was ultimately acquired by Dell.[3] In his spare time, Rive plays underwater hockey. Rive is a cousin of Elon Musk as their mothers are twin sisters.[4]

In 2010, Rive was named in the MIT Technology Review's Innovators Under 35 as one of the top 35 innovators in the world under the age of 35.[5]

After Tesla, Inc. acquired SolarCity in 2016, Rive announced in 2017 that he would leave the company and spend his time with his family along with further entrepreneurial activities, including working on a new startup.[6][7]



In 2013, Rive was an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award winner in the Northern California Region.[8][9]

Personal life


Rive and his wife, Madeleine, were high school sweethearts in South Africa. He met her when he was 14. They started dating two years later.[10]

Both have been good underwater hockey players. Rive started playing when he was 14. Underwater hockey played a big part in how Rive ended up in the US. He played for South Africa at the World Championship in 1998, which was held in San Jose, CA. He was so taken by San Jose that he decided to move permanently to the US with his wife. Rive recounts how he had been unable to get his green card despite starting two companies in the United States. Madeleine got hers through the 'exceptional ability' category by virtue of being a good underwater hockey player, and Rive was eventually able to get his through marriage. Ironically, it was Lyndon who had introduced his wife to the sport. They had to wait three years to play for the US team. Their first World Championship for the US was in 2004 in Canada. He played for the men's team and Madeleine for the women's team.[11]

Rive's parents were entrepreneurs in the natural-health business in Pretoria, South Africa.[12]


  1. ^ "Lyndon Rive". CNBC. 6 October 2014. Retrieved 14 February 2019.
  2. ^ Hansen, Louis (11 December 2015). "Q&A: SolarCity CEO Lyndon Rive keeps business all in the family". The Mercury News. Retrieved 27 April 2021.
  3. ^ Milo, Moryt (28 December 2010). "Lyndon Rive, Elon Musk: Cousins, partners". Retrieved 27 April 2021.
  4. ^ Rive, Lyndon (20 April 2013). "Turning Toward the Sun". The New York Times. As told to Elizabeth Olson. Retrieved 1 November 2018.
  5. ^ "2010: Innovators Under 35". MIT Technology Review. 2010. Retrieved 1 November 2018.
  6. ^ Groom, Nichola (15 May 2017). "Former SolarCity CEO Lyndon Rive will leave Tesla". Reuters. Retrieved 1 November 2018.
  7. ^ "Lyndon Rive Is Leaving Tesla to Focus on a New Startup: 'I Am an Entrepreneur at Heart'". Retrieved 15 November 2018.
  8. ^ "Ernst & Young Announces Entrepreneur Of The Year(R) 2013 Award Winners in Northern California". Yahoo! Finance. 24 June 2013. Retrieved 1 November 2018.
  9. ^ "Ernst & Young Announces SolarCity CEO and Co-Founder Lyndon Rive as the Entrepreneur Of The Year® 2013 Award Winner in Northern California" (Press release). Solar City. 24 June 2013. Archived from the original on 17 April 2015. Retrieved 10 April 2015.
  10. ^ Group, Louis Hansen | Bay Area News (11 December 2015). "Q&A: SolarCity CEO Lyndon Rive keeps business all in the family". The Mercury News. Retrieved 18 November 2023.
  11. ^ McNicholas, Kym. "SolarCity's CEO Plays Underwater Hockey". Forbes. Retrieved 18 November 2023.
  12. ^ "How Elon Musk's Mom (and her Twin Sister) Raised the First Family of Tech". Vanity Fair. 21 October 2015. Retrieved 18 November 2023.