Sunnova Energy Corporation (Sunnova) is committed to providing green, clean and sustainable energy options in Puerto Rico through our network of trusted and local solar installation partners. We are also fully committed to transparency and responsible business practices wherever we work.
On February 15, 2019, the Puerto Rico Energy Bureau (PREB) issued a report regarding Sunnova’s operations on the island. We strongly disagree with both the contents and conclusions of this report and have filed our formal response to the PREB’s notice of Non-Compliance, as well as our objections and comments to the report yesterday afternoon (March 7, 2019). A copy of our response and its English translation can be found here.
Following Sunnova’s response filed in April of this year, on August 7, 2019 the PREB moved to stay the Notice of Non-Compliance issued against the company on February 15th, 2019. Sunnova remains committed to transparency and responsible business practices in Puerto Rico.
- Sunnova takes issue with the procedure followed by the agency in filing a Notice of Non-Compliance.
- Under our objections and comments with respect to the final report, the company produced substantial evidence contradicting the PREB's claim that Sunnova did not provide customers with a copy of the contract before its signature. This includes applicable policies and training materials for local partners; transcripts corresponding, particularly, to the validation calls Sunnova held with some of the customers the PREB used as basis for this allegation (including a recording from a customer who had to take the validation call twice because he/she did not pass it in the first attempt); and software automated certifications reflecting timestamps on when the customers received, opened and signed the solar service contract.
- Additionally, Sunnova opposes the PREB’s claims disputing the validity of the arbitration clause contained in Sunnova’s PPAs by citing to current case law in favor of arbitration agreements in administrative proceedings. This includes case law from the United States Supreme Court as well a recent case from the Puerto Rico Appellate Court upholding, specifically, the arbitration clause in Sunnova’s PPAs .
- Further, Sunnova presents its arguments against the applicability of Articles 6.21 and 6.27 of Puerto Rico Law 57-2014, which require electric utility companies to provide certain disclosures to customers before they sign a contract, and to establish a process for objections of bills, respectively. Sunnova demonstrates that it complies with all the disclosures requirements, but contends that the process for objections of bills is inapplicable to distributed energy companies like ours.
- Finally, and most importantly, Sunnova provided the PREB with a status summary on each of the customers claims the Office of Independent Consumer Protection referred to the agency. Sunnova shows to the PREB in these stats that it has at all times been ready to address and resolve all claims by its customers, even those submitted with no factual grounds.
In April of 2019, the company filed a Supplementary Response with the PREB to support our position. Additional evidence submitted includes:
- Two summaries of testimonies -- one of a Sunnova’s current channel partner and one of a former channel partner. The summaries address the sales process for each channel partner and explains, amongst other things, the disclosures all sales persons make to each prospective customer, prior to the execution of the contract, during a sales presentation that takes in average between two and four hours;
- Evidence showing that some Sunnova channel partners have been requiring customers to sign written disclosures that are very similar to what the PREB is requiring Sunnova to implement. This evidence includes sample advertising materials used by the channel partners as well as sample acknowledgement forms submitted by customers themselves with their complaints filed with the Independent Office of Consumer Protection of Puerto Rico, and which they wet-signed during the sales presentation with the channel partner;
- Information demonstrating that 75% of the complaints before the agency concern three channel partners with whom Sunnova no longer has a commercial relationship; and
- An explanation relating to the contracts used by Sunnova, which are similar to industry standardized contracts issued by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and the Solar Energy Industries Association. The similarities include the use of an arbitration clause in contracts of this nature.
Sunnova remains committed to transparency and responsible business practices wherever we operate. Likewise, we are committed to developing a long-term energy infrastructure strategy grounded in solar plus storage services that will enable Puerto Rican homeowners to lead the way toward a positive transformation of the island's electricity market.
When did Sunnova start operating in Puerto Rico?
Sunnova began operating in Puerto Rico in 2013. Sunnova was the first power company to offer solar as a service on the island.
Sunnova is committed to the highest business standards in bringing renewable electric choice to Puerto Rico and we stand by our customers. In the aftermath of Hurricanes Irma and Maria, Sunnova worked day and night to repair all affected solar systems. As promised in its customer contracts, Sunnova provided this service at no additional cost to the homeowners.
Sunnova has worked hand-in-hand with our customers throughout the hurricane recovery efforts, and we are developing solutions to implement a strong, long-term energy infrastructure strategy grounded in solar plus storage services. This step forward in technology and approach will allow Puerto Rican homeowners to lead the way in a positive transformation of the entire global energy industry.
Why Puerto Rico?
Sunnova came to Puerto Rico to provide customers with additional energy choices at a time when PREPA was the only electricity provider.
Sunnova is proud to provide customers in Puerto Rico with access to clean, green and sustainable energy options through our network of trusted solar installation partners. We are committed to high standards of quality and service and the well-being our customers.
How many employees does Sunnova have in Puerto Rico?
Sunnova has over 15 direct employees on the island and is proud to have helped increase solar job growth further through our network of local channel partners.
How many residential solar panel customers does Sunnova have in Puerto Rico?
Sunnova serves nearly 9,000 customers in Puerto Rico.
What is Sunnova’s long-term vision for Puerto Rico?
Sunnova is developing solutions to implement a strong, long-term energy infrastructure strategy grounded in solar plus storage services. This step forward in technology and process will allow Puerto Rican homeowners to lead the way in a positive transformation of the global energy industry.
While there are many things that set us apart from other energy providers, one of the biggest differentiators is our local partner business model. We work with a select group of established local solar installers who have comprehensive knowledge of their markets, enabling us to provide the highest quality of sales and service to our customers.
What is a channel partner and what is its relationship with Sunnova?
Channel partners are Sunnova’s on-the ground sales and installation services providers. They are trusted, local companies that are carefully vetted to conform with Sunnova’s partner code of conduct and to ensure that they share Sunnova’s commitment to solar expertise, high-quality customer service and ethical business practices.
Why do customers engage directly with channel partners instead of Sunnova?
At Sunnova, the way we work sets us apart. We partner with a select network of regional installers in Puerto Rico who have first-hand knowledge of the local market. By partnering with local solar experts, we’re able to provide comprehensive, customer-specific solutions and offer you a more personalized experience.
Where do channel partners sell, install or service solar systems?
Channel partners only sell, install and/or service solar systems in geographies where they have the specific understanding of the local market, technical expertise, experience, registrations and licenses.
Do channel partners need to comply with Sunnova’s standards?
Yes. In addition to the obligations outlined in the Channel Partner Agreement, all channel partners are expected to comply with our code of conduct (Code for ChannelPartners). These, together with applicable laws and other policies, set clear standards for our partners and their sales representatives when conducting business related to Sunnova’s products.
Sunnova monitors and provides compliance guidance through our Channel Partner Management Program and we take appropriate disciplinary action against partners or agents who fail to abide by Sunnova’s standards.
Is Sunnova responsible for channel partners employees?
No. Sunnova does not directly employ channel partner employees. Nevertheless, all channel partners are required to follow Sunnova’s code for partners to provide high-quality customer service, to operate with the highest levels of business integrity, to ensure the safety of their employees and the general public in their work; and to treat subcontractors or other service providers in a fair and equitable manner.
How does Sunnova ensure channel partners always have the most recent information related to service and product offerings?
Channel partners and their sales teams use an online resource center to access current information about our service plans and to receive bi-weekly communication from Sunnova. This ensures that the product information received by our customers or potential customers is both accurate and timely.
Are channel partners expected to walk customers through their solar system contract?
Yes. Sales agents must emphasize key terms of the contract to customers, including their right to cancel the contract, the significance of production estimates and guarantees, where applicable, the effect of any UCC-1 notice filing, net metering benefits (including discussion that Sunnova cannot predict nor control a state’s net metering policies), the fact that the customer will receive two energy bills after interconnection, moving and transfer of service options, and the customer’s options at the end of the contract term.
How many channel partners does Sunnova have in Puerto Rico?
Sunnova currently works with five channel partners on the island.
What is the status of Sunnova’s dealings with the Puerto Rican Energy Bureau?
On August 7, 2019 the PREB moved to stay the Notice of Non-Compliance previously filed against Sunnova.
What is Sunnova’s position on the report issued by the Puerto Rican Energy Bureau?
Sunnova strongly disagreed with the allegations in the recent PREB report. We submitted a detailed formal response to the agency through the appropriate channels, and on August 7, 2019 the PREB moved to stay the Notice of Non-Compliance issues against the company. We are committed to working in good faith to resolve any and all valid issues.
Are existing PPA contracts going to be affected?
Sunnova does not expect that any contracts will be affected by the issuance of the PREB report.
Will Sunnova continue selling battery storage offerings after the Puerto Rican Energy Bureau’s report?
Yes. Sunnova will continue to sell its solar-plus-storage service contracts (solar-plus battery) as well as its battery-only contract (the latter directed to existing solar customers)
Are Sunnova’s customers outside of Puerto Rico going to be affected by the Puerto Rican Energy Bureau’s report?
We do not expect any customer to be affected by the PREB report.
Why is there an arbitration clause in Sunnova’s contracts with Puerto Rican customers?
Arbitration is a common dispute resolution process used throughout the United States and the world. It is widely considered to be a fair, effective and cost-efficient way to resolve disputes with a focus on collaboration rather than costly litigation.
Are arbitration clauses legal?
Yes. Arbitration is legal, common, and in the best interests of both parties in most commercial disputes. Arbitration is widely used throughout the United States and the world.
When should I expect my solar system to generate energy and power my home? Solar-Only Plans (PPA &EZ PPA)
Solar-only systems (traditional solar systems) will power your home only during the day. At night or on cloudy days, the electricity will come from the PREPA grid. This is the reason why your solar system stays connected to the grid (known as interconnection).
Will my solar-only system work during a power outage?
No. In accordance with standard U.S. safety regulations, grid-connected solar systems do not generate power during a power outage. This measure is needed to protect utility workers while they work to restore a power outage. Accidents involving live wires can be dangerous or even fatal.
Sunnova’s solar-only systems are designed to comply with these regulations.
Will I still be on the electric grid with the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority?
Yes. The interconnection between your solar system and PREPA’s electric grid creates a bidirectional, give-and-take relationship between you and PREPA. This concept, known as net metering, enables you to consume energy from PREPA’s electric grid when you need it AND to export excess energy from your solar system to PREPA’s grid when surplus electricity is being generated.
Will I receive a bill from PREPA and Sunnova?
Yes. You should expect to continue to receive a bill from PREPA for their basic service, any applicable fees and any net power supplied to you. Your Sunnova bill is for your solar service agreement payment.
How much will I pay PREPA?
Your PREPA monthly bill will vary based on the amount of electricity you use from the grid after your solar production is subtracted.
Is there a set amount for my PREPA bill?
No. Sunnova cannot guarantee a set amount on your PREPA monthly bill because this will depend on the amount of energy you use from the grid after solar production is credited.
Will I see a reduction in my electricity bill?
Sunnova’s offerings can provide savings to customers, however, Sunnova cannot (and does not) guarantee a reduction in your electricity bill. Savings depend on many factors including your overall energy use, local weather, home location and orientation, prevailing electricity rates, among many others.
Why were batteries not included as part of my purchase?
When we first began operating in Puerto Rico, market demand and battery supply technology were not yet mature enough to offer solar-plus-storage (solar and battery systems). The impacts of Hurricane Maria changed the dynamics of demand for such systems. Concurrently, increased battery supply and improvements in battery technology have enabled Sunnova to begin providing a competitive market offering. Today, only solar-plus-storage service contracts are marketed on the island through either a lease or loan plan. Existing solar-only customers can take advantage of this development through our retrofit battery offering.
How does Sunnova monitor my power production?
Sunnova uses a power monitor to track your solar power production. The power monitor requires access to a cellular network in order to operate. If cellular service is not available, then Sunnova will not be able to monitor the system.
Does Sunnova provide a warranty for my solar system?
Yes. During the entire Power Purchase Agreement Term, Sunnova will honor the System Warranty and will repair or replace any defective part, material or component or correct any defective workmanship, at no additional cost or expense to you (including labor costs), when you submit a valid claim to us following the guidelines of the contract.
How do I file a claim?
You can make a claim by:
Emailing us at the email address email@example.com or;
Writing us a letter and sending it via a well-known service to:
Sunnova Energy Corporation
P.O. Box 56229
Houston, TX 77256-6229
Attention: Warranty Claims
Or, sending us a fax at: 281.985.9907
If I have questions about my solar system in Puerto Rico, who can I call?
Please contact our Puerto Rico customer care line at 787-991-7007.
How should I maintain and service my solar system?
Our Solar Service Guide provides customers with information about their system installation, interconnection, net metering, solar energy, monitoring and maintenance instructions, answers to frequently asked questions and service information.