Sunnova submits application to develop solar + storage “micro-utilities” in California

Sunnova Energy has announced it has filed with the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) to develop a first-of-its-kind solar and storage-focused “micro-utility” in California.

Sunnova established a wholly owned subsidiary called Sunnova Community Microgrids California (SCMC) to own and operate EaaS offerings in new communities, including power generation, storage and distribution infrastructure. SCMC aims to develop largely self-sufficient micro-utilities by equipping new home communities with solar power and storage to provide consumers with a better energy service that allows them to live in a more resilient home and community with the latest generation of energy infrastructure. SCMC will focus on new construction homes, enabling the company to partner with developers to design and deploy distributed solar microgrids for communities that will benefit from enhanced sustainability and clean, resilient and reliable power. These communities will be known as Sunnova Adaptive Communities.

“Community microgrids are the future because they provide the unique opportunity to share excess electricity, putting power into the hands of homeowners and significantly improving the resilience of communities,” said William J. (John) Berger, founder and CEO of Sunnova . “Sunnova is breaking new ground by extending its distributed energy services platform from homes to entire communities. We envision a future where communities, neighborhoods and businesses can operate independently of the old grid with renewable energy sources that provide uninterrupted power.”

“We believe that microgrids meet a strong market need for more robust energy solutions and better connectivity,” added Berger. “The Sunnova Adaptive Community empowers consumers to produce, share and deliver power when it’s most needed. SCMC’s application highlights the relief that the existing transmission and distribution system will experience as most of the power that will be consumed by these communities will be generated locally from renewable sources. We hope the CPUC will act quickly to approve our application so that we can begin serving new communities.”

SCMC took formal steps for the CPUC to qualify as a “micro-utility” and to apply for a certificate to build and operate microgrids under Section 2780 and Section 1001 of the California Public Utilities Code, respectively. Sunnova sees micro-utilities as a way forward for qualified companies to propose to build multi-property microgrids for residential and commercial customers in California. By filing with the CPUC, SCMC aims to be the first solar and storage focused “micro-utility” company in California certified to own and operate nanogrids (behind the meter) and community assets, including the distribution infrastructure (front of the meter), as part of integrated microgrid communities. SCMC’s community assets include full distribution infrastructure and energy assets, including solar, battery storage and emergency generation.

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