Sunnova raises nearly $1 billion, expanding rooftop solar reach

One of the nation’s biggest privately held rooftop solar providers just got bigger and brighter with nearly $1 billion in capital raised over the past three months.

Houston-based Sunnova Energy Corp. announced Tuesday that it had closed a $140 million round of debt funding with CIT Group and other investors in the past week. That deal brought Sunnova’s aggregate capital raised to about $915 million in five transactions since March.

Overall capital raised now totals more than $2 billion since Sunnova’s founding in 2012, according to reports. The company is third among residential solar providers nationwide with more than 120 MW installed, according to reports.

Sunnova’s business model includes working with the contractors in whatever region they are in and is focused on residential solar installations. CEO John Berger said previously said that his company takes a “go it slow” and “thoughtful” approach to avoid the financial pitfalls which have hurt other solar companies.

Sunnova also has publicly supported consumer protections such as regulating solar companies as energy companies and oversight rules on lenders.

“Our free market approach to solar and strong customer growth are evidenced by Sunnova’s ability to continue raising funds and growing our customer base. Today’s announcement should send a clear message: The future of solar is now, and that momentum for change is propelling us forward,” said Berger. “Customers are beginning to realize they have a choice. That choice is not only cleaner but more affordable.

“Sunnova is ready to work with any utility or policymaker to ensure solar and non-solar customers are treated fairly and brought into the next century of power generation in America,” Berger added.

The funds raised will support Sunnova’s growth and compelling free-market vision to continue offering homeowners more affordable energy options. Sunnova’s recent progress includes:

  • Launching PowerStack, Sunnova’s new affordable solar+storage residential service
  • Expanding its solar ownership finance product to additional states
  • Offering more solar options in additional markets such as Texas

“Sunnova is an established player in renewables and has been steadily increasing its market share over the years,” said Mike Lorusso, managing director of CIT’s Energy Finance group. “Their agile business model and demonstrable success delivering low-cost clean power created an ideal opportunity to add an energy leader to our investment portfolio.”

Prior to securing this latest $140 million debt funding from CIT and others, Sunnova secured an $80 million tax equity deal on March 14, a $255 million private securitization offering and a $360 million warehouse credit facility deal on April 24 and an $80 million private notes offering on April 25. To date, Sunnova has raised more than $2 billion since 2012.

Sunnova installs solar in more than a dozen U.S. states, including Hawaii, California, Oregon, Colorado, Texas, Missouri, Indiana, New York and Pennsylvania. It also offers installation in Puerto Rico, Guam, the Virgin Islands and Saipan.

Publicly traded CIT is a financial holding company with $63 billion in assets as of March 31, 2017. Its principal bank subsidiary, CIT Bank, N.A.,has more than $30 billion of deposits and more than $40 billion of assets. CIT provides financing, leasing, and advisory services principally to middle-market companies and small businesses across a wide variety of industries.


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