Greentown Labs has a new Terawatt Partner. Photo courtesy of Greentown Labs

Greentown Labs, dual located in Houston and Somerville, Massachusetts, has named its latest top-level partner.

TotalEnergies has joined the incubator at the the highest level of partnership — the Terawatt level — Greentown Labs announced on January 23. Through the partnership, TotalEnergies will have access to Greentown's membership of clean energy startups and event programming.

Lotfi Hedhli, president at TotalEnergies Research & Technology U.S., will participate on Greentown’s Industry Leadership Council, providing strategic guidance to the incubator.

“We are excited to join Greentown Labs and its ecosystem to catalyze the development of potential decarbonization technologies through collaboration with promising startups,” Hedhli says in a news release. “This partnership with Greentown Labs will focus in particular on the deployment and use of renewables and low-carbon solutions, which are critical to our ambition to achieve carbon neutrality.”

TotalEnergies is among the world's largest utility-scale solar developers with activity in over 30 states in the country, including a Houston-area solar farm that went online in October. Additionally, TotalEnergies announced in November that it signed an agreement with TexGen to acquire $635 million three gas-fired power plants with a total capacity of 1.5 GW in Texas.

“At Greentown Labs, we continue to recognize and appreciate the role energy leaders play in the clean energy transition and we’re proud to have TotalEnergies join us as a Terawatt Partner,” Greentown Labs CEO and President Kevin Knobloch says in the news release. “We applaud the meaningful steps TotalEnergies is taking to expand its renewable energy portfolio and generation, and we’re eager to have their team of experts engaging directly with our climatetech entrepreneurs.”

Greentown last named a Terawatt Partner — GE Vernova — last fall.

Spruce's home solar assets and contracts grew about 50 percent over the past year, which represents 25,000 rooftops. Photo via Pexels

Solar energy co. expands Houston office to support growth

power move

Distributed solar energy asset company Spruce Power Holding Corp. announced the expansion of its operating headquarters in Houston, which will support business functions.

Technology, asset operations, customer Support, and billings and collections teams will be housed in the newly expanded office located at Two Memorial City Plaza at 820 Gessner Road in Houston. The expansion of its Houston office will be over 40,000 square feet. Spruce is one of the largest tenants in the Memorial City Plaza office complex.

"This announcement comes on the heels of our corporate headquarters' relocation in Denver, with both expansions and the execution of a value-creating move from California to our long-term work homes,” Christian Fong, CEO of Spruce said in a news release.

“Houston is our largest employment base, and being able to add high-paying jobs to our Houston location underpins our commitment to the community and continued growth in Texas," he continues.

In 2019, Denver-based Spruce Power built a residential energy services solution platform for the distributed generation (DG) solar sector. Spruce's home solar assets and contracts grew about 50 percent over the past year, which represents 25,000 rooftops.

Aggreko’s Energy Transition Solutions division acquired a portfolio of nine community solar projects in the state of New York. Photo courtesy of Aggreko

Houston solar company secures 9 New York solar projects

solar solutions

A Houston-based energy solution company has made some big moves on the East Coast.

Aggreko’s Energy Transition Solutions division acquired a portfolio of nine community solar projects in the state of New York.

The ground-mounted installations will total approximately 59 MW of generating capacity Aggreko ETS also successfully connected the first of the nine projects to the grid, a 5.9 MWdc project in the town of Vernon, 40 miles east of Syracuse.

The nine community solar sites aim to assist low-and-moderate income New Yorkers in benefiting from clean solar energy without residential solar installations.

Aggreko ETS will be in charge of the construction of these projects. Aggreko, which is headquartered in Houston, is actively investing in more sustainable products, fuels, innovative technology, and services to make greener solutions accessible.

“We’re thrilled to complete this important transaction, which reinforces Aggreko’s capabilities as an experienced renewable energy developer, owner, and operator that can deftly structure and execute complicated asset acquisitions to scale its business,” says Prashanth Prakash, Aggreko ETS’s chief commercial officer in a news release.

Major solar energy projects announce deals — and other top solar energy stories on EnergyCapital this year. Photo by Pixabay

Looking back: 5 most-read Houston solar energy stories of 2023

year in review

Editor's note: As the year comes to a close, EnergyCapital is looking back at the year's top stories in Houston energy transition. Houston's really charged up about the impact of solar energy has on lowering emissions amid the energy transition. Several stories of solar project news and even a Q&A with a Houston solar executive resonated with readers this year — be sure to click through to read the full story.

DOE loans Houston company $3B for project that will provide solar energy to underserved communities

Houston-based Sunnova Energy has secured a loan from the Department of Energy. Photo via sunnova.com

A partial loan guarantee from the U.S. Department of Energy will support more than $5 billion in loans for Sunnova Energy equipment and technology that’ll supply solar energy to underserved communities.

The $3 billion partial loan guarantee equates to a 90 percent guarantee of up to $3.3 billion in loans. In turn, Sunnova says, that’ll support more than $5 billion in loans to about 75,000 to 115,000 U.S. households. It’s said to be the largest single commitment to solar power ever made by the federal government.

At least 20 percent of the Project Hestia loans will be extended to customers with FICO credit scores of 680 or less, and up to 20 percent of the loans will be earmarked for homeowners in impoverished Puerto Rico. Read the full article from October.

Texas company secures $200M for solar project near Houston

The project will take over more than 1,000 acres of former farmland about an hour outside of Houston. Photo via Getty Images

An Austin-based company has scored $200 million in financing for a solar energy project it’s building in Liberty County.

Recurrent Energy’s 134-megawatt Liberty Solar project, about 50 miles northeast of Houston, is scheduled to start operating in 2024. The facility will occupy more than 1,000 acres of former farmland about six miles south of Dayton.

Last year, Recurrent Energy indicated the project represented an investment of $155 million, according to paperwork filed with the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts.

The company lined up $120 million in financing through Rabobank, Nord LB, and U.S. Bank in the form of construction debt, a letter-of-credit facility, and a term facility. In addition, U.S. Bancorp Impact Finance, a subsidiary of U.S. Bank, is providing $80 million in tax equity. Read the full article from September.

Houston solar exec says a major key to slowing climate change is offering energy independence

John Berger, CEO of Houston-based Sunnova, explains the importance of energy independence and solar's role in achieving it. Courtesy of Sunnova

Following extreme temperatures and increasing grid instability this summer, CEO and Chairman of the board of residential solar power service company Sunnova Energy Corp., John Berger, is encouraging individuals to take charge of their energy needs.

Berger founded the Houston-grown company back in 2012, before solar energy was seen as a hip, clean power source. Now, Sunnova (NYSE: NOVA) is a leader in residential solar installations.

In a discussion with EnergyCapital Berger broke down misconceptions about solar power, predicted the rise of the home as a power station, and highlighted the importance of energy independence. Read the full interview from September.

Global energy company opens solar farm outside of Houston

TotalEnergies' new solar farm outside of Houston is the size of 1,800 football fields. Photo via totalenergies.com

A global energy corporation has a new solar farm online and operating just outside of Houston.

TotalEnergies (NYSE: TTE) has started commercial operations of its new solar farm, Myrtle Solar, just south of Houston. The farm has a capacity of 380 megawatts peak of solar production and 225 MWh of co-located batteries. Spread across the space — which is about the size of 1,800 football fields — are 705,000 solar panels producing enough electricity to power 70,000 homes.

Seventy percent of the power generated will be sourced for TotalEnergies' industrial plants in the U.S. Gulf Coast region, and the remaining 30 percent will be used by Kilroy Realty, a publicly traded real estate company, per a 15-year corporate power purchase agreement. Read the full article from October.

BP breaks ground​ on Texas solar farm, plans to open it next year

BP's solar park is scheduled to begin operating in the second half of 2024. Photo via bp.com

British energy giant BP, whose U.S. headquarters is in Houston, has started construction on a 187-megawatt solar farm about 10 miles northeast of Corpus Christi.

The Peacock Solar facility will generate power for a nearby chemical complex operated by Gulf Coast Growth Ventures, a joint venture between Spring-based energy company ExxonMobil and SABIC, a Saudi Arabian chemical conglomerate whose products are used to make clothes, food containers, packaging, agricultural film, and construction materials. SABIC’s Americas headquarters is in Houston.

Gulf Coast Growth Ventures opened the plant in 2022. The joint venture says the ethylene cracker and derivatives complex, located northwest of the town of Gregory, employs about 600 people. Read the full article from October.

According to a report, In the fourth quarter, Texas is expected to add about 3.7 gigawatts of solar capacity — more than the combined total for the previous three quarters. Photo via Getty Images

Report: Texas expected to shine as top state for solar installations in 2023

fourth quarter push

When all the numbers are tallied, 2023 should be a very sunny year for solar installations in Texas.

The Solar Energy Industries Association, SEIA, and energy research and consulting firm Wood Mackenzie predict Texas will be the top state for solar installations in 2023. In the fourth quarter, Texas is expected to add about 3.7 gigawatts of solar capacity — more than the combined total for the previous three quarters.

In 2021, Texas added nearly 6.07 gigawatts of solar capacity, with that figure falling to more than 3.66 gigawatts in 2022. But for 2023, SEIA and Wood Mackenzie anticipate Texas having added almost 6.24 gigawatts of solar capacity for residential, business, and utility customers.

A report released last week by SEIA and Wood Mackenzie indicates that sales volume for solar installations has declined in Texas and some other states due in part to higher costs for financing solar equipment. Solar sales volume in Texas started dropping off in late 2022 and has continued to shrink, says the report.

Wood Mackenzie forecasts 13 percent growth for the U.S. residential solar market in 2023. The report predicts the U.S. will have added 33 gigawatts of residential solar capacity in 2023, up from a record-setting 6.5 gigawatts in 2022. The U.S. added 6.5 gigawatts of residential solar capacity in the third quarter of 2023 alone, says the report.

“Solar remains the fastest-growing energy source in the United States, and despite a difficult economic environment, this growth is expected to continue for years to come,” says Abigail Ross Hopper, president and CEO of SEIA. “To maintain this forecasted growth, we must modernize regulations and reduce bureaucratic roadblocks to make it easier for clean energy companies to invest capital and create jobs.”

Solar accounted for nearly half (48 percent) of all new electric-generating capacity during the first three quarters of 2023, bringing total installed solar capacity in the U.S. to 161 gigawatts across 4.7 million installations. By 2028, U.S. solar capacity is expected to reach 377 gigawatts, enough to power more than 65 million homes.

“The U.S. solar industry is on a strong growth trajectory, with expectations of 55 percent growth this year and 10 percent growth in 2024,” says Michelle Davis, head of solar research at Wood Mackenzie.

“Growth is expected to be slower starting in 2026 as various challenges like interconnection constraints become more acute,” she adds. “It’s critical that the industry continue to innovate to maximize the value that solar brings to an increasingly complex grid. Interconnection reform, regulatory modernization, and increasing storage attachment rates will be key tools.”

Sunnova's platform is expanding in Puerto Rico. Photo courtesy of

Houston solar company expands in Puerto Rico, receives DOE funding

island opportunities

A Houston renewable energy company has announced two initiatives that are hoping to provide more grid stability on the island of Puerto Rico.

Sunnova announced that it's expanding its Sunnova Sentient Virtual Power Plant platform. The company has also been selected by the United States Department of Energy’s Grid Deployment Office to be a part of a $440 million investment from the Puerto Rico Energy Resilience Fund.

Sunnova's VPP platform is expanding in Puerto Rico through a collaboration between the Sunnova Power Flex Program and LUMA's Customer Battery Energy Sharing program in Puerto Rico. This plan is "to transform the role of distributed solar and storage customers in enhancing grid stability during peak demand periods, all while offering them financial incentives for their participation," according to Sunnova's release.

Puerto Rican residents can opt into the Sunnova Flex Power Program and will be compensated for the power supplied by their batteries. According to Sunnova, a battery could earn up to $1,000 for this first pilot year.

“We are incredibly excited about the possibilities that our industry-leading VPP platform—delivered to our customers through our Sunnova Flex Power Program—holds for the people of Puerto Rico,” John Berger, CEO of Sunnova, says in the release. “As we continue to spearhead the transition towards a cleaner and more robust future, extending our VPP platform will not only help reshape the energy landscape in Puerto Rico but also empower our valued customers to play an integral role in bolstering grid stability. We eagerly anticipate the transformative impact this program will have on our customers and the Puerto Rican community at large.”

Sunnova has 52,000 solar and storage customers on the island and has installed storage to a capacity of 800 MWh.

“We're excited to collaborate with Sunnova on this important initiative, which signifies a major step in our ongoing efforts to enhance energy reliability for Puerto Rico. We're dedicated to achieving a more stable energy supply, reducing disruptions, and securing a resilient energy future, ultimately benefiting the people of Puerto Rico,” Jessica Laird, VP of Customer Experience at LUMA, says in the statement.

Sunnova's selection by the DOE Grid Deployment Office makes the company one of the eight to receive chunk of a $440 million commitment to install rooftop solar and batteries in PR.

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Houston companies land DOE vouchers for clean tech

money moves

Ten Houston-area companies will receive vouchers from the Department of Energy's latest round of funding to support the adoption of clean energy tech.

The companies are among 111 organizations to receive up to $250,000 in vouchers from the DOE's Office of Technology Transitions, totaling $9.8 million in funding, according to a release from the department.

The voucher program is in collaboration with the Offices of Clean Energy Demonstrations (OCED), Fossil Energy and Carbon Management (FECM), and Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE). It is funded by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.

“It takes a breadth of tools and expertise to bring an innovative technology from research and development to deployment,” Vanessa Z. Chan, DOE Chief Commercialization Officer and Director of the Office of Technology Transitions, says in a statement. “The Voucher Program will pair 111 clean energy solutions with the support they need from expert voucher providers to help usher new technologies to market.”

In addition to the funding, the program seeks to help small businesses and non-traditional organizations gain access to testing facilities and third-party expertise.

The vouchers come in five different opportunities that focus on different areas of business growth and support:

  • Voucher Opportunity 1 (VO1) - Pre-Demonstration Commercialization Support
  • Voucher Opportunity 2 (VO2) - Performance Validation, Modeling, and Certification Support
  • Voucher Opportunity 3 (VO3) - Clean Energy Demonstration Project Siting/Permitting Support
  • Voucher Opportunity 4 (VO4) - Commercialization Support (for companies with a functional technology prototype)
  • Voucher Opportunity 5 (VO5) - Commercialization Support (for developers, including for-profit firms, that are working to commercialize a prototype that fits a specific technology vertical of interest for DOE)

The 10 Houston-area companies to receive funding, their voucher type and projects include:

  • Terradote Inc. with Big Blue Technologies Inc. (VO2): Full ISO-Compliant Life Cycle Assessment for Clean Energy Technologies
  • Solugen Inc. and Encina with ACTion Battery Technologies L.L.C. and Frontline Waste Holding LLC (Vo2): Barracuda Virtual Reactor Simulation, Validation and Testing
  • Flow Safe with Concept Group LLC and Precision Fluid Control (VO2): Durability Testing of Hydrogen Components, Materials, and Storage Systems
  • Percheron Power LLC (VO4): Fundraising Support
  • Capwell Services Inc. with Banyu Carbon Inc. (VO5): Field Testing Support for Validation of Novel Resource Sustainability Technologies
  • Syzygy Plasmonics with Ample Carbon PBC, Terraform Industries, Lydian Labs Inc. and Vycarb Inc. (VO5): Rapid Life Cycle Assessment for Carbon Management or Resource Sustainability Technologies
  • Solidec Inc. with GreenFire Energy (VO5): LCA Calculator Tool for Carbon Management or Resource Sustainability Technologies
  • Encino Environmental Services LLC with Wood Cache, Completion Corp and Carbon Lockdown (VO5): Realtime Above/Underground Gas Monitoring Reporting and Verification, Including Cloud Connectivity for Remote Sites
  • Mati Carbon PBC with Ebb Carbon Inc. (VO5): Community Benefits Assessment and Environmental Justice

Other Texas-based companies to receive funding included Molecular Rebar Design LLC and Talus Renewables from Austin, Deep Anchor Solutions from College Station, and ACTion Battery Technologies LLC from Wichita Falls.

Last October, the DOE also awarded the Houston area more than $2 million for projects that improve energy efficiency and infrastructure in the region.

In December, its Office of Clean Energy Demonstrations also selected a Houston power company for a commercial-scale carbon capture and storage project cost-sharing agreement.

New global report names top cleantech startups to keep an eye on

seeing green

Nine Greentown Labs members were recognized on a global list honoring cleantech companies.

Houston-based Fervo Energy was named to Cleantech Group’s Global Cleantech 100 report. Cleantech Group is a research-driven company that aids the public sector, private sector, investors, and also identifies, assesses, and engages with the innovative solutions around climate challenges.

Fervo, a geothermal energy company that specializes in a renewable energy technology that uses hot water to produce electricity, debuted in 2022 on the list, and was honored in the “Energy & Power” category for the second straight year.

The other Greentown Labs, which is dual located in Houston and Somerville, Massachusetts, companies recognized on the list include:

  • Amogy, a New York-based novel carbon-free energy system using ammonia as a renewable fuel
  • Carbon Upcycling Technologies, a Canadian waste and carbon utilization company
  • Dandelion Energy, New York-based company offering ground source heat pumps for most homes
  • Energy Dome, a Milan-based company addressing the problem of long-duration energy storage
  • e-Zinc, a Canadian company with a breakthrough electrochemical technology for energy storage
  • Nth Cycle, a Massachusetts company with sustainable metal refining
  • Raptor Maps, a Massachusetts company with a software platform for solar assets' performance data management
  • Sublime Systems, a Massachusetts companydeveloping a breakthrough process for low-carbon cement
  • WeaveGrid, a California company working with utilities, automakers, EVSEs, and EV owners to enable and accelerate the electrification of transportation

The number of nominations from the public, a panel, i3, awards and Cleantech Group totaled 25,435 from over 65 countries, which is a 61% increase from the 2023 nomination process. Winners were chosen from a short list of 330 companies by a panel of over 80 industry experts.

While not on the list, Beaumont-based Fortress Energy was mentioned for its electrolyzer supply agreement with Cleantech Group 100 winner Electric Hydrogen.

The Cleantech Group 100 was started 15 years ago.

“In 15 more years, we will be at 2039—by which time, a mere decade out from the ‘net-zero’ target of 2050,” Cleantech Group CEO Richard Youngman says in the report. “I would expect the composition of our annual list to have markedly changed again, and the leading upcoming private companies of that time to reflect such.”