ITOCHU Announces Investment and Business Alliance with Sunnova Energy Corporation to Promote the Service and Capabilities of Energy Storage Systems in the United States

December 3, 2018

ITOCHU Corporation (headquartered in Minato-ku, Tokyo; Yoshihisa Suzuki, President & Chief Operating Officer; hereinafter “ITOCHU”) announced today that it has made an equity investment in Sunnova Energy Corporation(headquartered in the state of Texas, United States, with William J. (John) Berger serving as Chairman and CEO; hereinafter “Sunnova”), the leading privately-held residential solar and storage service provider in the United States, as part of its long-term energy storage system (ESS) business strategy for residential households. ITOCHU’s investment in Sunnova, and the two company’s proposed strategic partnership, furthers both company’s support of solar plus storage services and products that can be deployed at scale.
Founded in 2012 and headquartered in Houston, Texas, Sunnova is one of the leading residential solar plus storage service providers in the United States. With 60,000 customers (over 400 MW of solar installation) in 22 U.S states and territories including Guam, Puerto Rico and the Northern Mariana Islands, Sunnova utilizes a TPO (third party ownership) financing (*1) model, where the company owns the customer’s solar system, as well as the loan financing model, where the customer owns their solar system. In addition, Sunnova uniquely provides a 25-year service commitment with every homeowner’s customized solar and solar plus storage system.
As more utilities seek to decrease net metering (*2) credits offered to customers in the United States, ITOCHU believes that ESS demand will increase as households are able to use all of the solar energy they produce onsite. Storage systems also provide consumers with back-up energy in the event of a short or long-term grid outage. As a result, Sunnova and ITOCHU intend to collaborate on the development of ESS solutions suitable for the U.S. market. Together, the companies intend to evaluate “GridShare Client,” the AI software of Moixa Energy Holdings Ltd. (hereinafter “Moixa”) in the United Kingdom in which ITOCHU owns an equity stake, for Sunnova’s solar systems. 
In Japan, ITOCHU has developed and commercialized its own ESS brand—Smart Star—with NF Corporation and has recorded cumulative sales of approximately 10,000 units (equivalent to 95MWh/30MW) as of October 2018. In November 2018, ITOCHU also commenced sales of a next-generation ESS which connects GridShare Client, the AI software of Moixa, with Smart Star L from ITOCHU.
Announcing the new medium-term management plan in May 2018, ITOCHU is working to evolve its business models and enhance the value of the Group’s value chains as a concerted effort, with “reinvented businesses” as its basic policy. ITOCHU will contribute to the efficient operation of the renewable energy, the stable supply of electricity, and the realization of a society that utilizes dispersed energy sources by evolving the ESS business it has been cultivating together with Sunnova and Moixa.

  • *1TPO: Third Party Ownership
  • *2Net Energy Metering (NEM): A crediting system in the United States that credits solar energy system owners for the excess solar electricity they export to the grid. More than 90% of US states have adopted NEM.

Overview of Sunnova

Company name Sunnova Energy Corporation
Established 2012
Head office Texas, the United States
Representative William J. (John) Berger
Number of employees 300 (full-time executive officers: 6)

Areas where solar power systems of Sunnova are installed

Installation of household solar power systems