Sunnova Partners with California Roofer Ahead of Solar Mandate

A high-profile solar-homebuilder partnership has emerged from
the flurry of activity surrounding California’s new solar home
mandate, which goes into effect in 2020. 

Residential solar provider Sunnova and PetersenDean, a
California-based company that installs roofs and solar, will work
together on solar and storage leases and power purchase agreements
in the state. California’s new policy requires solar
installations on new residential buildings under
three-stories. 

“Really the value of this partnership is to provide
options,” said Judson Diehl, PetersenDean’s vice president of
builder solar sales. “Our goal in the marketplace is to be able
to provide options to builders and their homebuyers.” 

The partnership allows PetersenDean to offer Sunnova financing
for “zero-down” systems. The roof builder will continue to
offer its own financing for systems customers choose to own
outright. 

“Historically, zero-down service providers forced the builder
to buy the system through them,” said Diehl. “[Now], the
builders are allowed to buy the system directly through us rather
than having to buy it through the service provider, which is a more
affordable option.”

Last year, PetersenDean installed about 2,500 roofs a month in
California. The company has more than 700 full-time roofers and
solar installers working in the state and a client base of more
than 220 builders. PetersenDean said its deal with Sunnova is the
only solar service provider partnership it’s solidified in
California. 

Sunnova told Greentech Media that working with PetersenDean on
engineering, procurement and construction aligns with its
channel-partner-focused business model. 

Offering systems through a well-established homebuilder should
also provide cost-cutting efficiencies. Sunnova already has lower
customer acquisition costs, between $0.45 and $0.73-per-watt
according to Wood Mackenzie Power & Renewables, than the
largest installers because of its reliance on local and regional
installation partners. 

The only option

PetersenDean’s Diehl recognizes the “huge problem” of
customer acquisition costs in the residential solar market. Soon in
California, customers building new homes won’t have a choice
about whether to add solar. Creating a through-line between builder
and solar company offers Sunnova customer leads with little added
outreach.

Though California’s new law has added urgency to these types
of partnerships, solar companies have worked with homebuilders for
years. When California’s new home solar law passed, Greentech Media

reported
that SunPower was already working with 13 of the
state’s top 16 biggest home builders and had deployed 30,000 new
home systems. In its latest earnings call, SunPower CEO Tom Werner
said the company had a backlog of more than 38,000 new homes. 

In recent public statements, other top residential solar
installers have also noted ongoing conversations with California
homebuilders. 

In its latest earnings call, CEO Lynn Jurich said Sunrun was
engaged with “half of the top ten homebuilders in
California.” 

On its Q2 earnings call, Vivint CEO David Bywater said the
company was “pretty bullish” about the possibility of selling
through homebuilders because of cost efficiencies associated with
that sales channel. 

The market presents big opportunity. According to PetersenDean,
California adds between 80,000 and 90,00 new single-family homes
each year. Between 12,000 and 15,000 of those homes have solar
installed when they’re built, meaning significant growth
potential for residential providers in the state.

 

Source: FS – GreenTech Media
Sunnova Partners with California Roofer Ahead of Solar Mandate