Sunnova, founded in 2012, has been a major player in solar financing in NJ over the past several years. Sunnova and its CEO John Berger bring a Houston “big energy” style to a predominantly Bay Area-based solar finance industry. This mix is welcomed by many industry leaders who have experienced major industry decisions made by only a small group of people in San Francisco. What Sunnova has done has proven that solar makes sense as a balanced part of the nation’s energy portfolio right smack in the home of big oil. John Berger himself even challenged the industry’s needs for a solar tax credit as the market was experiencing its tax transition in 2016.
When Sunnova entered the New Jersey market originally it was exclusively offering a 25-year solar lease. This lease product exploded in NJ’s solar financing market, and it was “flying off the shelf” so to speak. The big difference with their solar lease compared to other solar leases was the 25-year term. This allowed the company to collect payments from the customer for a longer period and therefore lowered the cost of the lease. Most companies were offering a 20-year product. Also, they had the perfect answer to questions about the length of the product. The longer the product, the better they argued. Who wouldn’t want a longer guarantee of savings? And it does make sense. If you can lock into a rate at 2016 utility prices, then in 2041, with market inflation included, that is going to be an incredible price.
Although most of the solar finance programs in NJ would remain solar leases and solar PPAs, the solar loan market’s sales thrived on being the antithesis of a Sunnova-type lease program. A solar loan for NJ customers would likely be written by Sunnova competitors: Sungage or Mosaic. These products allowed customers to participate in “no money down” solar financing while still being able to collect the NJ SRECS and solar tax credit. These terms were shorter and more flexible than a lease. With Sungage or Mosaic, you could finance your solar for 5,10,15 or 20-year terms. For companies like Green Power Energy who use a solar loan to finance the clear majority of their solar projects in New Jersey, this was a step in a direction away from Sunnova.
Sunnova has introduced another product to the market in an attempt to take up more of the solar financing market share. Introducing, the Sunnova “EZ Own”. This product is modeled like their solar lease product in that it is a 25-year term. This means it is longer than the average solar loan product in NJ, but unlike any other solar loan product in NJ, the production is guaranteed. This product is a perfect mold between a lease and a loan for NJ customers in a lot of ways. You get a no money down product that is transferrable over to a new homeowner, guaranteed production, SRECs, a tax credit, and a fixed monthly rate. Green Power Energy is offering Mosaic, Sungage, and Sunnova for Solar Loan products. Ask your Green Power Energy representative which product is right for you, and schedule your consultation now while the solar tax credit is still available.