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Solar energy company to open new tech center in Houston

The new center will house Sunnova technologies, including a microgrid system powered by a grid simulator and a solar array simulator with the ability to replicate various grid and solar array conditions. Photo via sunnova.com

A Houston energy services company has announced the upcoming opening of a state-of-the-art energy testing and integration technologies hub.

Sunnova Energy International Inc. will open the Sunnova Adaptive Technology Center in 2024. The center, which will come sometime in the first quarter of the year, is part of Sunnova Adaptive Home, Sunnova Adaptive Business, and Sunnova Adaptive Community service offerings. Founded in Houston in 2012, Sunnova aims to “create a better energy service at a better price.”

The ATC will house Sunnova technologies, including a microgrid system powered by a grid simulator and a solar array simulator with the ability to replicate various grid and solar array conditions. An interchangeable inverter and battery test beds, and a fully-functioning model home equipped with full-sized appliances, including a range, oven, refrigerator and HVAC system, will also be part of the new ATC.

This will assist Sunnova engineering teams to perform system level validation to integrate disparate technologies for reliable operation during various grid, solar and home conditions. The ATC will also be the home for service technicians that help with customer issues.

"We've always been committed to ensuring high standards of quality and service excellence for our customers," William J. (John) Berger, CEO at Sunnova, says in a news release. "With the ATC, both our customers and dealers can trust that they are partnering with a company that has an unwavering focus on innovative technologies, integrated energy solutions, quality control, and service excellence."

This announcement comes just two months after the completed expansion of Sunnova’s Global Command Center, which is a similar facility that works with cutting-edge technologies, and customer service. The ATC will also continue to develop its customer-facing experiences like the Sunnova App, and its Sunnova Sentient technology platform, which works with energy management.

“The ATC won’t be a static configuration, but a responsive, flexible arrangement that will effectively pull together top, industry-leading technologies to deliver customized energy solutions to our customers,” Michael Grasso, executive vice president and chief revenue officer at Sunnova, says in the release. “It’s a tremendous effort to qualify hardware and integrate all the technologies we work with – but doing all of this ensures the services reaching our customers are top of the line.”

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A View From HETI

Houston could have ranked higher on a global report of top cities in the world if it had a bit more business diversification. Photo via Getty Images

A new analysis positions the Energy Capital of the World as an economic dynamo, albeit a flawed one.

The recently released Oxford Economics Global Cities Index, which assesses the strengths and weaknesses of the world’s 1,000 largest cities, puts Houston at No. 25.

Houston ranks well for economics (No. 15) and human capital (No. 18), but ranks poorly for governance (No. 184), environment (No. 271), and quality of life (No. 298).

New York City appears at No. 1 on the index, followed by London; San Jose, California; Tokyo; and Paris. Dallas lands at No. 18 and Austin at No. 39.

In its Global Cities Index report, Oxford Economics says Houston’s status as “an international and vertically integrated hub for the oil and gas sector makes it an economic powerhouse. Most aspects of the industry — downstream, midstream, and upstream — are managed from here, including the major fuel refining and petrochemicals sectors.”

“And although the city has notable aerospace and logistics sectors and has diversified into other areas such as biomedical research and tech, its fortunes remain very much tied to oil and gas,” the report adds. “As such, its economic stability and growth lag other leading cities in the index.”

The report points out that Houston ranks highly in the human capital category thanks to the large number of corporate headquarters in the region. The Houston area is home to the headquarters of 26 Fortune 500 companies, including ExxonMobil, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, and Sysco.

Another contributor to Houston’s human capital ranking, the report says, is the presence of Rice University, the University of Houston and the Texas Medical Center.

“Despite this,” says the report, “it lacks the number of world-leading universities that other cities have, and only performs moderately in terms of the educational attainment of its residents.”

Slower-than-expected population growth and an aging population weaken Houston’s human capital score, the report says.

Meanwhile, Houston’s score for quality is life is hurt by a high level of income inequality, along with a low life expectancy compared with nearly half the 1,000 cities on the list, says the report.

Also in the quality-of-life bucket, the report underscores the region’s variety of arts, cultural, and recreational activities. But that’s offset by urban sprawl, traffic congestion, an underdeveloped public transportation system, decreased air quality, and high carbon emissions.

Furthermore, the report downgrades Houston’s environmental stature due to the risks of hurricanes and flooding.

“Undoubtedly, Houston is a leading business [center] that plays a key role in supporting the U.S. economy,” says the report, “but given its shortcomings in other categories, it will need to follow the path of some of its more well-rounded peers in order to move up in the rankings.”

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This article originally ran on InnovationMap.

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