Sunnova to go public

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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 does not provide pricing or number of shares, but does give a view behind the curtain of the company’s finances and business operations.

At $104 million in revenue in 2018, Sunnova is still much smaller than its peers such as Sunrun and Vivint Solar. Like all third-party solar companies Sunnova has been racking up quarterly losses as it builds a portfolio of assets, with a $68 million loss last year. However, it has remained cash positive by regularly bringing in funding.

Another curious aspect of Sunnova has been that it has chosen in the past to finance these assets on its balance sheet, instead of raising funds specific to the solar it deploys, as SolarCity/Tesla and Sunrun have chosen to. Whether or not it is staying on this path was not something pv magazine was able to determine by a look at the prospectus.

Overall the company shows $1.77 billion in assets of the end of the first quarter, against $1.07 billion in liabilities.

Since its founding in 2012, Sunnova has grown to operate in 20+ states and Puerto Rico, with a pool of more than 63,000 customers under 25-year solar service agreements. Overall it has deployed more than 455 MW of solar – a smaller portion than its rivals Sunrun and Vivint, but still nothing to sneeze at.

The move comes with Wood Mackenzie continuing to observe that the third-party solar model is losing ground to direct sales, with an increasingly sophisticated variety of loans for customers to choose from. However, Sunrun – the nation’s largest residential solar company – is continuing to grow under this model, and the drop in third-party market share has been influenced by Tesla’s pull-back from third-party sales and generally shrinking share of the residential solar market.