Sunnova to go public

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From pv magazine USA.

One of the largest providers of third-party solar in the United States has filed paperwork with federal regulators to go public on the New York Stock Exchange.

A prospectus filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission last week did not provide any pricing or volume of Sunnova stock but did give a view behind the curtain into the company’s finances and business operations.

With $104 million in revenue last year, Sunnova is still much smaller than peers such as Sunrun and Vivint Solar and, like all third-party solar companies, has been racking up quarterly losses as it builds a portfolio of assets – including a $68 million loss last year. However, Sunnova has remained cash positive by regularly bringing in investment.

Another curious aspect of the company is that it has previously chosen to finance assets on its balance sheet instead of raising funds specific to the solar it deploys, as SolarCity/Tesla and Sunrun have done. Whether or not it will hold to that path was not something pv magazine was able to determine from a look at the prospectus.

The prospects for third-party solar

Overall, the company claimed to have $1.77 billion in assets at the end of the first quarter, against $1.07 billion in liabilities.

Since being founded in 2012, the Houston-based business has grown to operate in 20-plus states and Puerto Rico, and boasts a pool of more than 63,000 customers signed up on 25-year solar service agreements. Sunnova says it has deployed more than 455 MW of solar generation capacity – less than Sunrun and Vivint but nothing to sneeze at.

The listing move comes as consultants Wood Mackenzie continue to claim the third-party solar model is losing ground to direct sales, with an increasingly sophisticated variety of loans available for customers to choose from. However Sunrun – the nation’s largest residential solar company – continues to grow under the model, and the fall in third-party market share has been influenced by Tesla’s retreat from third-party sales and the shrinking share of the residential solar market.