Sunnova Lands $3 Billon DOE Backing for Low-Income Solar and Battery Loans

Program would allow Sunnova to further expand its reliable, clean, and affordable energy services to underserved American communities and accelerate the deployment of digital energy engagement

After decades of lending money to large-scale clean energy projects, the U.S. Department of Energy plans to issue a first-of-a-kind, $3 billion partial loan guarantee meant to build clean energy capacity in disadvantaged communities on a household-by-household basis.

On Thursday, DOE’s Loan Programs Office announced a conditional commitment to provide up to $3 billion to Sunnova, the Houston-based residential solar and battery provider. That commitment, if formalized in the coming months, will help back low-cost loans to disadvantaged individuals and communities under a new solar loan channel that Sunnova has dubbed Project Hestia, after the Greek goddess of home, hearth and hospitality.

Sunnova’s plan, first reported by Canary Media last month, is to use the federal loan guarantee to back up the cash flows for between $4 billion and $5 billion in consumer loans. That backstop of a federal loan guarantee will allow Sunnova to bring down the cost of capital, and thus bring down the interest rates for loans, for lower-income customers who might otherwise struggle to afford rooftop solar and battery systems.

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