Sunnova applies to be ‘micro-utility’ in California, targets new-home developments


Sunnova Energy International Inc. has applied to the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) to become a first-of-its-kind “micro-utility” in California, and to request a certificate to construct and operate microgrids under Section 2780 and Section 1001 of the California Public Utilities Code.

Sunnova views micro-utilities as a path forward for qualified companies to propose to construct multi-property microgrids for residential and commercial customers in California.

“Community microgrids are the future as they offer the unique ability to share excess electricity, putting the power in the hands of homeowners and significantly enhancing the resiliency of communities,” said William J. (John) Berger, founder and Chief Executive Officer of Sunnova. “Sunnova is breaking new ground by expanding its distributed energy service platform from homes to whole communities. We see a future where communities, neighborhoods, and businesses can operate independently from the legacy grid with sustainable energy sources that provide uninterrupted power.”

The company formed a wholly-owned subsidiary called Sunnova Community Microgrids California, which will own and operate these EaaS offerings in new communities via energy generation, storage, and distribution infrastructure.

SCMC will focus on newly constructed homes and to develop these “micro-utilities” by equipping new home communities with solar and storage to provide consumers with a better energy service. Working with new homes will allow developers to design and implement distributed solar-powered microgrids for communities that will be known as Sunnova Adaptive Communities.

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

By submitting its application to the CPUC, SCMC seeks to be the first solar and storage focused “micro-utility” company in California to be certificated 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 community assets will include complete distribution infrastructure and energy assets including solar, battery storage, and emergency generation.

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