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Monday, Jul 22, 2024

NeoVolta Navigates NEM 3.0 Challenges, Opportunities

ENERGY: Battery Storage Co. Hires New CEO, Adds Staff

POWAY – Soaking up the sun isn’t just for beachgoers, it’s what NeoVolta does best as an innovator and leader in advanced renewable energy storage systems.

NeoVolta Inc. (Nasdaq: NEOV) in February announced that it had booked more than $1 million in gross revenue for the fourth quarter of 2023, marking an 80% growth year-over-year with gross margins topping 20%.

Ryan Green
Director of Sales
NeoVolta Inc.

Those upward trends came during a year in which concerns were raised about the negative impacts of California’s Net Energy Metering 3.0 on solar sales. That ruling affected the company’s bottom line but also paved the way for new leadership with a vision that includes taking NeoVolta beyond its California confines.

Despite the massive YOY growth in Q4 2023, NeoVolta experienced a nearly $1 million annual revenue decline in FY2023 compared to the FY2022, primarily due to the disruptive impact of NEM 3.0 in California’s solar market crisis. This regulatory change led to the closure of what is likely close to two-thirds of California’s installers, severely impacting NeoVolta’s sales, said Ryan Green, the company’s director of sales.

NEM 3.0 features a 75% reduction in export rates – the value of excess electricity pushed onto the grid by solar systems. It reduced the overall savings and increased the payback period of home solar.

The policy was designed to encourage homeowners to pair battery storage with their solar panels – to become more self-sufficient and contribute to a more resilient electricity grid. NEM 3.0 solar systems in California still largely provide greater energy cost savings than in any other state, especially when paired with home battery storage.

Solar systems placed in service before April 15, 2023 remain under their existing net metering policy for 20 years from their interconnection date. Solar systems under NEM 3.0 billing earn on average 75% less for the excess electricity they push onto the grid. Under NEM 3.0, the payback period for solar and battery storage systems will be roughly equal to the payback period of solar-only systems.

Adapting to Take Advantage of NEM 3.0

Despite the NEM 3.0 disruption, Green said, NeoVolta has since adapted, leveraging new opportunities presented by NEM 3.0.

“NEM 3.0 forced us to take a major step backwards, but after adjusting, we are poised to take major steps forward,” Green said. “We are currently receiving large orders that we never saw prior to NEM 3.0. With solar installations now heavily reliant on storage for effectiveness, NeoVolta sees a promising future ahead in the evolving energy landscape.”

Brett Willson
NeoVolta Inc.

Although the company has doubled its personnel since last year, from six to 12 employees, with more hires coming, according to company founder and former CEO Brent Willson – now NeoVolta’s Chief Technology Officer and chairman of the board – the issues surrounding California’s NEM 3.0 brought on “a double whammy.”

Looking to expand out of California and the restrictions and challenges related to NEM 3.0, NeoVolta leadership in April appointed a new CEO in Ardes Johnson, a former executive at Tesla, Inc., with three decades in the solar energy industry – and bright plans for the company’s future.

“We had the conversation at least a year ago to look for the right person,” Willson said, “to bring in somebody who’s got national exposure, with a full Rolodex if you will, although nobody uses that anymore… We needed someone who can get us exposed at the national level and really ramp up sales, somebody who’s been part of the industry for decades.”
Johnson is that somebody.

At the time of Johnson’s hiring, Willson said Johnson would “enhance our product offerings and expand market presence, ensuring reliable, safe, and efficient energy storage solutions for homes across America.”

Johnson joined NeoVolta from Meyer Burger (Americas) Ltd., where he was president and general manager and spearheaded the global company’s successful transition to module sales in the U.S. Meyer Burger’s expansion achieved a multi-gigawatt backlog of more than $1 billion dollars, and scaling to two gigawatts per year of manufacturing in just 18 months.

Ardes Johnson
NeoVolta Inc.

At Tesla for nearly a year, Johnson was director of Americas sales and marketing for the company’s energy products division. He was instrumental in the development and success of Tesla’s energy storage solutions and with his team launched the partner channel program for the PowerWall and PowerPack products in the utility, residential and commercial markets.

Also while at Tesla, he helped secure a landmark 80 MWh storage contract with Southern California Edison as part of a broader strategy significantly expanding Tesla’s energy storage footprint across North America. He also held strategic roles at SolarWorld Americas and General Electric.

Getting Charged for More Customers

While NeoVolta doesn’t say it is competing against Tesla, Johnson said that if the Elon Musk-founded firm has 70% of the solar storage customer base, NeoVolta aims to get its fair share of the other 30%.

“Our goals are not exponential in the sense that we need to just grow, but we definitely need to have a good growth trajectory over the next 18 to 24 months because the market wants us to grow,” Johnson said.

Among Johnson’s strategic initiatives for NeoVolta, he has been working on driving rapid growth and seizing opportunities in the residential and commercial energy storage markets.

Plans include expansion into top markets in the United States, including high-potential regions Hawaii, Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico (which already has a strong NeoVolta presence). NeoVolta will hire regionally based sales teams to maximize reach and service and has already assembled a national sales team targeting key renewable energy distribution centers across the U.S.

Johnson said he is also moving toward vendor approval with major leasing companies, a key initiative to make NeoVolta’s products more accessible and affordable, driving increased adoption and sales in the residential energy storage market.

Solar Energy Market Size Growing

According to InsightAce Analytics, the solar energy storage market size was valued at $45.6 billion in 2022 and is predicted to reach $154.3 billion by 2031 at a 14.7% CAGR during the forecast period of 2022-31.

NeoVolta is moving to capture more of it and has begun collaborations with leading solar installers in California, Nevada and Florida, positioning itself to own a larger market share.

NeoVolta is planning to expand its footprint by entering the commercial market in 2025, Johnson said, through leveraging robust research and development to create complementary solutions tailored for the commercial sector.

The company is also launching its “Virtual Peaker Solution,” which addresses a growing demand for storage-only solutions from utilities and aggregators.

NeoVolta leadership is also moving toward advanced conversations for next-generation systems with partners to develop the next generation of NeoVolta’s energy storage systems, opening things up for future innovation.

Johnson has been expanding NeoVolta’s revenue through strategic sales channel development, broadening financing options through partnerships with major industry players and initiating the development of the next generation of NeoVolta batteries.

“We are poised for rapid growth,” Johnson said. “Our strategic initiatives are designed to empower consumers and meet the evolving needs of utilities, driving both innovation and market expansion.”

NeoVolta Inc.
FOUNDER: Brent Willson
CEO: Ardes Johnson
BUSINESS: Energy Storage Systems design/manufacturing
REVENUE: $3.45 million (2023)
WEBSITE: neovolta.com
CONTACT: 619-261-6202
SOCIAL IMPACT: The company is a leader in renewable energy in San Diego and abroad
NOTABLE: NeoVolta’s founder Willson is a retired Marine Corps Colonel with more than 30 years of service.


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