A final 2019 acquisition solidifies CleanCapital’s position as a C&I solar market leader and showcases the advantages we reap from purpose-built technology.
Thought leadership and opinions
The Solar Investment Tax Credit is due to expire in a few weeks unless Congress intervenes.
PG&E’s recent California blackout may speed the transition to distributed generation including solar plus storage.
Our first annual CleanCapital Changemakers report showcases our growth and capacity for new acquisitions in advance of SPI 2019.
In this week’s “Commodity-In-Chief” on “Bloomberg Commodities Edge”, Alix Steel talks with Thomas Byrne, co-founder and CEO of CleanCapital. The New York-based company owns and operates 180 megawatts of renewables and manages $465 million worth in assets. It aims to buy as much as $1 billion of additional assets by the end of next year, said Byrne.
A seminal financing advances CleanCapital’s long-term goal of securitizing distributed renewable energy portfolios to attract institutional investors.
A 75 megawatt acquisition along with a landmark financing solidify CleanCapital’s position as one of the leading owner-operators of C&I solar in the U.S. and a pioneer in clean energy finance.
Since the first Earth Day nearly 50 years ago, this day has served as a celebration of the environment and a reminder of our shared responsibility to protect it. Working in sustainability and clean energy for the past decade, I’ve seen how awareness of our collective environmental impact has dramatically grown. Action, however, has been slower to come. Today, we are already witnessing the impacts of climate change and live under the increasingly ominous cloud of predictions coming from scientists like those at the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, who warn of disaster as early as 2040 if our inaction continues.
Whether it’s because people are growing frustrated with the baffling lack of action on the federal level, or because more of us are seeing the impacts of climate change firsthand, Americans are signaling that they’re ready to do battle to protect the planet. A recent study by the Yale Climate Communications program found that the proportion of Americans who are alarmed by global warming and would place it among the country’s highest priorities has increased dramatically in the last five years.
Listen to our podcast with Anthony Leiserowitz, Director of the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication.
On the positive side, consequential initiatives are underway at the state and local level to curb emissions and encourage clean energy innovation. Eleven states, plus Washington D.C. and Puerto Rico, have introduced or enacted 100% renewable energy targets; more than 100 U.S. cities, including Chicago, are also answering the call. And just last week, CleanCapital’s home base of New York City passed a Green New Deal package that “aims to enact the largest carbon reduction measures of any city globally”.
Taking the initiative
Progress is happening, but we must truly step up and scale solutions to set a path towards a sustainable future. On this Earth Day, please consider what actions you can take on a personal, professional, and political level to combat climate change. To help support policy initiatives that will speed our national transition to clean energy, consider a donation to our friends at Vote Solar, a non-profit that defends and expands solar progress for families, businesses, & communities across the country.
Reposted from FinTek News, published 4/4/19.
CleanCapital is sometimes described as a fintech company. While I’m not sure that label really suits us, it’s certainly true that my experience with fintech provided the ‘light bulb’ moment that led to founding CleanCapital. Today, technology underpins all that we do.
Clean energy assets present enormous opportunity.
Renewable energy is at a ‘hockey stick’ moment for worldwide growth. Bloomberg New Energy Finance projects that $11.5 trillion will be invested in new power generation capacity between 2018 and 2050, with $8.4 trillion of that going to wind and solar and another $1.5 trillion to other zero-carbon technologies like hydro and nuclear.
Why are investors so bullish on renewable energy? Clean energy sources will make up 80% of the world’s new energy capacity through 2050, with renewables providing at least 50% of the world’s electricity that year. That creates enormous opportunity for infrastructure investment. Investors looking to add real assets to their portfolios are drawn to solar, wind, and storage generation for a number of attractive attributes. Renewable power infrastructure portfolios boast stable cash flows, low volatility, diversification of risk, and alignment with investors’ ESG goals.
But barriers to entry pose challenges for investors.
Despite growing demand for these investment opportunities, the complexity of clean energy deals has historically kept investors away.
As an attorney working on landmark clean energy financing deals, I saw how the lack of standardization in contracting, regulations, and diligence made it near-impossible to invest in distributed clean energy assets at scale. Having seen how fintech was streamlining other industries, like student loans, I sensed an opportunity to leverage technology to simplify the process and enable more investors to buy in.
Any given clean energy acquisition is comprised of close to a hundred documents; multiply that by the ten, 20, or 60 projects that make up a single portfolio and you’ll get a sense of the organizational issue at hand. A buyer often works with five to ten parties in addition to the seller to close an acquisition, so project management and communication are also a challenge. We envisioned a technology-based solution that would organize information and process flow.
Our tech-based solution will power the transition to a clean energy economy.
Today, our leading edge platform enables us to underwrite, diligence, and manage renewable energy portfolios efficiently. The response from the market has been robust; industry leaders, including BlackRock, rely on our platform capabilities to meet the demand for clean energy investment and deliver value to clients. Going forward, I envision greater adoption of technology, including data analytics, in all facets of clean energy investment to underpin the dramatic growth of these resources around the world.
Today we announced that BlackRock’s Renewable Power Group took a stake in CleanCapital. Their investment fuels the continued growth of our company and provides capital to accelerate our clean energy acquisitions.
For CleanCapital, this marks a kind of end to the beginning of our company story. Marc Garrett, Jon Powers, and I launched CleanCapital with a clear vision: to attract institutional capital to clean energy investment. Not only have we achieved that founding goal, we’ve done it by earning the trust of the world’s largest asset manager.
Expanding our partnership
We’re thrilled to expand our partnership with the team at BlackRock. Led by David Giordano globally and Martin Torres here in the Americas, the partnership gives institutional investors—who are showing increasing interest in real assets—access to the growing renewables market. Their investment empowers us to grow our solar portfolio and also pursue opportunities in new geographies and new clean energy asset classes, like energy storage.
Last year, we partnered with BlackRock on our largest acquisition to date. It was no small feat; the 47 megawatt portfolio, comprised of 60 solar projects in three states, was one of the largest independent C&I solar portfolios in the U.S. A complicated deal like that turned out to be the perfect opportunity to show the team at BlackRock the value of the CleanCapital platform. Using our technology to perform detailed underwriting, our seasoned investment team provided BlackRock with a clear understanding of the opportunity at hand. And we closed the deal with speed and certainty.
Driven by a common mission
BlackRock Chairman & CEO Larry Fink has been outspoken in his belief that the best returns come when you invest with purpose. We believe that by providing access to the growing opportunities in renewable energy we can deliver value to investors and do good for the planet. Through this partnership, we will acquire more high-quality solar and storage projects to build superior portfolios for our investors.
I look forward to sharing more milestones with you as we put this capital to work.
CleanCapital is actively seeking to acquire solar and storage projects. Interested in selling your project? We should talk.