• Sunnova faces scrutiny over its business practices linked to a major solar loan from the DOE.
  • Questions raised by Republican lawmakers about the company's sales tactics and consumer protection have brought the issue into the political arena.
  • The outcome of this controversy could impact future government and industry interactions in renewable energy initiatives.

In a recent development, two prominent Republican lawmakers have raised concerns regarding Sunnova, a solar energy company that has received a substantial loan from the Department of Energy (DOE).

On December 7, Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers, Chair of the House Committee on Energy, and Senator John Barrasso, Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Energy and Commerce and Natural Resources, sent a letter to Jigar Shah, Director of the DOE Loan Programs Office (LPO).

The letter highlights disturbing reports about Sunnova, specifically citing consumer complaints. These complaints allege problematic sales tactics, including pressuring elderly homeowners in poor health to sign expensive, long-term contracts.

The lawmakers’ concerns stem from Sunnova’s receipt of one of the first LPO solar loans, raising questions about the company’s business ethics and consumer interaction practices.

Additionally, the lawmakers have requested detailed information from Shah regarding internal discussions about Project Hestia by December 21. Project Hestia, an initiative by Sunnova, combines solar installations with virtual power plant technology.

The LPO’s agreement with Sunnova, involving a $3 billion partial loan guarantee, aims to expand this program. This expansion is particularly focused on underserved populations, with stipulations that a significant portion of the loans be allocated to homeowners with low credit scores and residents of Puerto Rico.

In response to the allegations, Sunnova issued a statement defending its commitment to Project Hestia and ethical business conduct.

William J. (John) Berger, the founder and CEO of Sunnova, emphasized the project’s role in empowering disadvantaged communities and enhancing the U.S. energy landscape.

Berger expressed concern over the politicization of renewable energy, affirming Sunnova’s dedication to providing clean, affordable, and reliable energy services despite the political challenges.

Derick Lila
Derick is a Clark University graduate—and Fulbright alumni with a Master's Degree in Environmental Science, and Policy. He has over a decade of solar industry research, marketing, and content strategy experience.

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