Poway-headquartered NeoVolta (Nasdaq: NEOV), designer, developer and manufacturer of energy storage systems for residential and small business customers, is fired up about the future.
Founded by retired Marine Corps Col. Brent Willson in 2018, NeoVolta was initially financed with seed capital by a small group of investors to get it off the ground, and its first system was billed July 2019.
Since its inception, the company has installed more than $15 million in systems.
“From an idea on a porch in La Jolla to a Nasdaq-listed company with customers across the country in just over four years,” says NeoVolta CFO Steve Bond. “From a financial perspective, I feel very confident in the future of NeoVolta. We are very close to cash flow positive, have a lean, scalable operation and have a clean capital structure to provide flexibility in funding for growth.”
Willson said he brainstormed the idea while he was still on active duty, and first operated the business out of a house in La Jolla.
Since it began, he said, “we’ve been knocking down one challenge after another while getting to marker, on the stock market, obtaining four patents, and showing the much bigger competition how to innovate. I’m really proud of that.”
Despite struggling through some challenges related to the COVID pandemic, Neovolta went public and landed a spot on Nasdaq in July 2022 and is also part of the Russell Microcap Index, an esteemed performance benchmark for emerging U.S. companies.
The company with its just six employees is now giving behemoth clean energy companies like Tesla a run for their money.
NeoVolta’s product, called NV14, is the company’s alternative to the Tesla Powerwall. While the total cost depends on a homeowner’s solar configuration, the NV14’s cost generally falls below the median residential storage cost, NeoVolta CRO Ryan Green said.
Green said the company’s customers are primarily certified solar installers and electricians adding energy storage to their customers’ solar projects.
He said what makes NeoVolta so successful is that it holds many competitive advantages over other systems on the market.
“Our system cannot catch on fire,” Green said. “There is zero fire risk or thermal runaway because of our Lithium-Iron chemistry. We have the longest battery life – over 16 years, and fastest installation – why installers love us. We provide the highest quality of life, since our system has one of the largest inverters which powers at least 14 circuits if the grid goes down. And we are the most affordable system on the market.”
Jim Sprouse is Chief Revenue Officer at SolarTech in El Cajon, which installs solar systems locally. He said supplying customers with the highest quality and most efficient batteries is its top priority.
“Neovolta meets our standards,” Sprouse said. “We also rank our vendors on customer care. Neovolta ranks at the top of the list with their ‘Customer First’ ethos and true desire to serve the needs of the customer to ensure their systems are working during blackouts and other events that require battery backup.”
NEM Making Batteries a Must
NeoVolta has seen some up-and-down times in its young life, some of it pandemic-related. The company’s revenues were $2 million in FY 2020, $4.8M in 2021, $4.4 in 2022 and $3.5 this year.
But those numbers are about to grow exponentially, Green said. The solar industry is beginning to see the attachment rate of batteries – the rate at which solar and storage are sold together – skyrocket, and NeoVolta anticipates this driving growth in the coming years, along with the company’s diversification into commercial and large-scale residential projects.
The need for battery storage to go along with solar panels is on the rise for homeowners and businesses, thanks in part to government-backed energy protocols like Net Energy Metering (NEM).
NEM is a billing structure between utilities and solar-powered homeowners who earn credit for any excess electricity they push onto the grid when their panels produce more electricity than their home uses. That credit is used to offset the cost of the electricity they pull off the grid when sunlight is a challenge. NEM was initially passed in California in 1996 to diversify the energy resource mix, stimulate economic growth and encourage private investment in renewable energy.
In effect since April 15, 2023, NEM 3.0 is a new version of the net energy metering policy that applies to utility customers in San Diego Gas & Electric territory and others.
The new policy encourages homeowners to pair battery storage with their solar panels to become more self-sufficient and contribute to a more resilient electricity grid.
Previous to NEM 3.0, a battery was more for grid outages and blackout prevention, but batteries are now a must with any solar system to make the economics work, Green said.
“Battery attachments on solar systems went from about 5% to 100% overnight,” he said. “Solar installers are still catching up and fulfilling the jobs they received pre-April 15th. But now solar installers are realizing they must attach a battery to their solar jobs to stay relevant.”
Willson acknowledged that the last few years “have been interesting and challenging at the same time.”
“Our product has many innovations and improvements and we managed to decrease our costs to our installers at a time when our competitors are increasing their costs,” he said. “Today, we are once again focused on growth to include many commercial opportunities. We are very excited heading into 2024 and hope to bring more jobs to San Diego soon. The future is bright with NeoVolta and we will keep your lights on.”
CEO: Brent Willson
BUSINESS: NeoVolta designs and manufactures Energy Storage Systems for residential and small business customers
REVENUE: $4.5 million
STOCK: Nasdaq: NEOV
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.