Residential photo voltaic and storage firm Sunnova logged an general loss within the third quarter of 2020, because the business emerges from a tough interval wherein the coronavirus pandemic challenged general gross sales. 

Sunnova, not like a lot of its publicly traded friends, selected to maneuver by COVID-19 disruptions with out revoking its 2020 steering. In Might, the Houston-based firm mentioned it anticipated so as to add between 28,000 and 30,000 new clients in 2020 and finish the yr with between $10 million and $20 million in money.

Sunnova affirmed that steering on Thursday, regardless of posting a internet lack of about $73.three million within the third quarter, which it attributed to changing debt to fairness. The corporate’s inventory dipped about four p.c in response.

Previous to the coronavirus and associated shutdowns, analysts at Wooden Mackenzie anticipated residential photo voltaic to log one other report yr after an enormous 2019. The pandemic has made that exceedingly unlikely. However the residential business’s general resilience — as evidenced by latest third-quarter earnings reviews from nationwide opponents Tesla and SunPower —means 2020 installations are prone to be flat in comparison with 2020, with progress resuming at 7 p.c in 2021. 

Sunnova’s different quarterly metrics demonstrated that sturdiness. It continued rising its buyer base in Q3, reaching a complete of greater than 98,000 clients as of the tip of September. Buyer acquisitions grew 40 p.c over the identical quarter final yr, even at a time when door-knocking has largely been halted and corporations have needed to depend on on-line gross sales.

To date this yr Sunnova has added slightly below 20,000 clients, 7,000 of them within the third quarter. To succeed in its 2020 steering, it must end with a powerful fourth quarter, which tends to be probably the most important by way of installations for photo voltaic corporations. 

Sunnova additionally continued increasing its trademark supplier community, a key facet of its enterprise which it argues helps it to be extra capital-light than opponents. The corporate now has 270 sellers and sub-dealers, almost double the quantity it had on the identical level final yr, in response to the corporate. 

 “Our progress is fueled by the rising variety of sellers and sub-dealers we’re partnering with,” mentioned CEO John Berger in a press release on the outcomes. 

Sunnova raised $170 million in its 2019 preliminary public providing, one of many first main photo voltaic business IPOs since Sunrun’s in 2015, on the premise that this method would give it a leg up on Tesla, Sunrun and different main U.S. residential installers that do their very own buyer acquisition. This enterprise mannequin additionally depends on robust and rising relationships with native and regional installers, and it stays to be seen whether or not it may result in profitability, Michelle Davis, a senior photo voltaic analyst at Wooden Mackenzie, famous on the time of its IPO. 

Sunnova can be striving to extend the variety of behind-the-meter batteries it sells to its photo voltaic cusotmers, as are its major residential photo voltaic opponents. Its third quarter battery “attachment charges” continued to hover round 34 p.c, in line with the identical metric final quarter. 

Whereas Sunnova has not projected when it is going to develop into worthwhile, it did present 2021 steering this week. The corporate expects buyer counts to proceed rising, including as much as 48,000 in 2021 and rising the curiosity funds it will get from photo voltaic loans, whereas ending the yr with money between $20 million and $30 million. 

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