Houston-based Sunnova secures $300 million, a Kinder and a Morgan

Houston-based Sunnova Energy Corp. said Thursday it secured $300 million in financing as the nearly three-year-old residential solar company seeks to grow nationwide and, eventually, globally.

Sunnova CEO John Berger said the $300 million is in debt and equity funding from Credit Suisse and a group of equity investors led by Triangle Peak Partners, based in Houston and California. Other new business development partners include Philadelphia-based Franklin Square Capital Partners and GSO Capital Partners, which is the credit investment arm of the Blackstone Group private equity firm.

Sunnova, which employs nearly 300 people in Houston, previously closed on a $250 million fundraising round in late 2014 and Berger said Sunnova’s total fundraising now stands at nearly $900 million. The door is always open to potential acquisitions to expand its customer base, he said.

Berger said Sunnova is partnering more with oil and gas investors and former oil and gas executives because solar power is now conventional and should grow as such.

“Residential solar service is conventional energy. It is not alternative,” Berger said. “The costs continue to fall. The market continues to grow.”

Most of Sunnova’s growth is along the West Coast and Northeast, as well as Guam and Puerto Rico, he said, and home solar will soon take off in Texas as well. Residential solar already makes sense in parts of West Texas and it will soon make economical sense in the Houston area — likely in a couple of years or so, he said.

“Clearly, the industry has surprised a lot of folks and, quite frankly, me,” Berger said. “Texas is on the verge of seeing what the rest of the country is seeing.”

And some big Texas names are on board, including a Kinder and a Morgan, both previously of Kinder Morgan Inc. David Kinder, former Kinder Morgan treasurer and nephew of Kinder Morgan co-founder and Executive Chairman Richard Kinder, was already a Sunnova board member and he is newly joined by Mike Morgan of Triangle Peak Partners. Morgan is the son of Kinder Morgan co-founder William Morgan.

“It’s not a coincidence,” Berger said. “All of these investors have known each other for years.”

In a prepared statement, Mike Morgan touted the growth.

“Sunnova is building a next-generation power company that will increasingly compete with conventional energy and traditional, centralized electric utilities,” Morgan added. “We are excited to help Sunnova accomplish great things.”

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