Sunnova revenue surges as US residential solar demand remains high

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Sunnova carrying out a home solar installation in the US. Image: Sunnova.

Sunnova has reported a surge in Q1 2021 revenue as the US residential solar installer lauded its software and services capabilities.

Revenue for Q1 2021 stood at US$41.3 million, up 38% year-on-year and only the second time in the company’s history that quarterly revenue topped US$40 million.

This was on the back of a surge in customer numbers comparative to previous first quarters, with around 8,900 customers added in the first three months of the year. Total customers now stand at 116,400, and Sunnova has reaffirmed guidance that it expects to add between 55,000 – 58,000 customers this year.

William J. Berger, chief executive officer at Sunnova, said the strong opening performance of the year “reiterates the power of our business model and capitalisation strategy”.

“Our rapid growth has been made possible through the value of the Sunnova Network, whereby software and services enable aggregation capabilities to create additional value for our customers, dealers and equipment partners,” he said.

But while customers numbers and revenue increased, so too did the company’s operational expenses, growing at a larger rate (46%) than Sunnova’s sales in the first quarter. Company operational expenditure for the period rose to US$64.5 million, which the company attributed to increased customer acquisition, higher general expenditure and US$4 million in acquisition costs related to its purchase of SunStreet.

Nevertheless, Sunnova’s net loss in the quarter shrank from US$77 million reported in Q1 2020 to US$24 million in the first three months of 2021. Adjusted earnings for the quarter were also markedly more healthy, more than doubling to US$12.8 million.

“Thanks to a solid start to the year, the quick closing of the SunStreet acquisition, and our continued strong customer growth, we are well-positioned for an exciting year ahead,” Berger added.

Sunnova’s strong start to the year tallies with performances from other installers in the space – Tesla reported strong growth earlier this week, with both Sunrun and SunPower set to report their results next week – and anecdotal evidence that demand in the US residential solar space has remained high.

The performances will lend weight to the thought that as much as 4GW of residential solar could be installed in the US this year.

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