Sunnova Applies to Develop Solar ‘Micro-Utility’ Communities in California


Sunnova Energy International Inc., an energy-as-a-service (EaaS) provider, has applied to the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) to develop a solar+storage-focused “micro-utility” in California.

Sunnova formed a wholly owned subsidiary called Sunnova Community Microgrids California LLC (SCMC) to own and operate EaaS offerings in new communities including energy generation, storage and distribution infrastructure.

SCMC seeks to develop largely self-sustaining micro-utilities by equipping new home communities with solar and storage to provide consumers with a better energy service that allows them to live in a more resilient home and community with latest-generation energy infrastructure. SCMC will focus on newly constructed homes, allowing the company to work with developers to design and implement distributed solar-powered microgrids for communities that will benefit from improved sustainability and clean, resilient and reliable power​. These communities will be known as Sunnova Adaptive Communities.

“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,” says William J. (John) Berger, founder and CEO 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.”

“We believe microgrids address a strong need in the market for more robust energy solutions and better connectivity,” adds 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.”

SCMC took formal steps before the CPUC to qualify as a “micro-utility” and to request a certificate to construct and operate microgrids under Section 2780 and Section 1001, respectively, of the California Public Utilities Code. By submitting its application to the CPUC, SCMC seeks to be the first solar and storage “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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