Solar Bonds and Other Green Income Investments Compared

by Tom Konrad CFA Clean-energy stocks’ performance over the last couple of years proves that it’s possible to do well – sometimes very well – while doing good. Unfortunately, it’s also possible to lose a lot of money. Case in point: solar installer SolarCity’s stock (SCTY) price has more than quintupled since its 2012 IPO, but has fallen 40% since the start of the year. Swings like these are just too wild for many investors to stomach. So the news that California-based SolarCity launched the first public offering of solar bonds last week likely piqued the interest of sustainability-minded...

Brookfield’s Yieldco Buying Spree

by Tom Konrad Ph.D., CFA Last week, a Bloomberg reported on a rumor that Brookfield Asset Management (BAM) was in talks to buy Abengoa's (ABGOY) stake in its former YieldCo Atlantica Yield (ABY).  Atlantica had been looking for a new sponsor for well over a year since parent Abengoa filed for bankruptcy. Purchasing Yieldcos (companies that own clean energy infrastructure and use the cash flows to pay large dividends to shareholders) is not new to Brookfield.  Not only has BAM long sponsored Brookfield Renewable Partners, LP (BEP), a limited partnership that has essentially been a Yieldco since before the term was...

Trina Solar’s Second Convertible Bond

By Beate Sonerud and Sean Kidney China’s Trina Solar (TSL)is issuing US$100m of convertible bonds with 5-year tenor and 4% annual coupon, with semi-annual payments. An extra US$15m could be raised, as Trina has given the underwriters a 1-month window to buy additional bonds. Guess they are waiting to gauge demand. Underwriters are Deutsche Bank, Barclays, and Credit Suisse, with Roth Capital Partners as co-manager. The bonds can be converted to shares (American Depositary Shares, meaning they are listed in the US) at an initial price of US$14.69 per share. Currently, Trina’s shares are trading at US$11.40, after...

Renewable Energy REITs or MLPs Would Unlock Billions

Jennifer Runyon According to Richard Kauffman, Senior Advisor to the Secretary, DOE, making REITs or MLPs available for renewable energy project financing is the key to advancing the industry.   Top engineering, procurement and construction firms gathered to network, learn and do business with corporate-level project developers at the PGI Financial Forum, one of four co-located events that took place in Orlando, Fla. earlier this month. Richard Kauffman, Senior Advisor to the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Energy, gave the keynote address during a luncheon that took place during the conference. ...

Tesla Issues First EV-Related Climate Bond

by Sean Kidney Tesla issues $600m, 5yr EV convertible bond Tesla Motors’ inaugural bond issue has been, as you’d expect, electrifying (just had to say that). The US electric sports car manufacturer has just issued a 5 year, $600m convertible bond in a fundraising program which has seen it raise approximately $1bn through shares and convertible bonds. Coupon is 1.5-2%; conversion premium is 35%; bookrunners were JPMorgan, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley. Tesla had planned to raise $450m through convertible bonds, but this was raised to $600m after strong demand from investors. That demand allowed Tesla to drop what was going to be a 2-2.5% coupon down to...
Greenium or discount

The Greenium: Growing Evidence of a Green Bond Premium

Highlights from the latest Q4 2017 Green Bond Report from the Climate Bonds Initiative: Two years of data observations examining green bond behavior in primary markets Climate Bonds Initiative has released the fourth “Green Bond Pricing in the Primary Market” report analysing the performance of green bonds issued in the period October-December 2017. This is the last quarterly report; future publications will be produced semi-annually allowing a more longtitudinal analysis as the market expands. The Q4 2017 report covers USD15.1bn or almost 40% of the face value of labelled green bonds issued in Q4. 15 EUR and 8 USD labelled green bonds are...

Nordex Issues First Green Schuldschein

by the Climate Bonds Team German green debt instrument raises €550m ($621m) for wind energy and gains Climate Bonds Certification. German wind company Nordex (NRDXF) is the first Schuldschein issuer to label its issue as green. The green issue is verified under the Climate Bonds Standard and sector specific Wind Standard. Assets include wind power manufacturing and infrastructure around the world. Nordex employed DNV GL to verify the green Schuldschein against the Climate Bonds Standard. The deal was split across four tranches with 3, 5, 7 and 10 year tenors. The joint underwriters were...

$37B 2014 Green Bond Issuance Triples Market

by Tess Olsen-Rong Following a landmark green bond growth year in 2013, the labelled green bond market has once again experienced a year of incredible growth in 2014: by year-end there had been $36.6bn of green bonds issued by 73 different issuers – that’s more than a tripling of the market! The final figure was boosted by a late flurry of green municipal bonds. This exponential growth takes the total amount of green bonds outstanding to $53.2bn by the end of 2014. So, what happened to cause this tripling of issuance? Well, corporate and municipal bond...

Climate Bonds 2016 Highlights

by the Climate Bonds Team A record year with green bond issuance of USD 81bn, up 92% on 2015 figures The Trends A maturing of the green bonds market, diversification across issuers, products and use of proceeds are the main trends identified in our Green Bonds Highlights 2016 summary. The Big Numbers 92% – growth on 2015 making 2016 the most prolific year to date USD 11.8bn – November issuance, the largest month on record 24 – number of countries with green bond issuers 27% – proportion of Chinese issuers 241 – number of labelled green bonds issued (median size USD133.7m) >90 – number of new issuers >50 – number...

Comparative Valuation of 15 Yieldcos

Tom Konrad CFA Compared to the peak of the Yieldco bubble in May, many Yieldcos have dropped by more than half, and most by more than a third. Some of this decline is because rapid dividend growth depends on an endless supply of cheap investor capital which is another way of saying that we can have rapid dividend growth or high dividend yields, but not both.  Part of the decline was due to the realization that many Yeildcos (most notably Terraform Power (TERP), Terraform Global (GLBL), and Abengoa Yield (ABY)) were not immune to...

Recent Green Bonds: Toyota Hybrids, SunRun, Efficient Homes and Data Centers

by the Climate Bonds Team Last month Toyota closed their second green bond for a whopping $1.25bn. Standard auto loans backed the issuance with proceeds to be used for electric and hybrid car loans; that means it’s more like a corporate green bond, where proceeds from a bond backed by existing (non-green) assets are directed green loans still to be made. Sunrun issued $111m of solar ABS, and a small unlabelled energy efficiency ABS was also issued by Renew Financial and Citi for $12.58m. Sunrun and Citi/Renew Financial are examples of ABS where the assets backing the issuance...

Comparing Community Solar Subscriptions And Yieldcos

By Tom Konrad, Ph.D. CFA Community solar is gaining traction in many states. The concept, also known as shared solar or solar gardens, originated in the mid-2000s as a way to allow broader participation in the ownership of solar photovoltaic (PV) systems, while also encouraging local development. Community solar broadens access to solar beyond homeowners with suitable roofs. A National Renewable Energy Laboratory report from 2015 estimated that 49 percent of households cannot own solar because they do not own their own home, or they live in high-rise buildings with insufficient roof space.  Rooftop solar is impractical for many...

Northland Power’s Solar-Backed Bond

New Canadian Climate bond: Northland Power releases a pretty big ABS - CA$232m (US$206m) - backed by solar projects with proceeds for renewables. 18-year tenor, 4.397% coupon, BBB. Securitisation key future area for green bonds.

How Much Can YieldCo Dividends Grow?

Tom Konrad CFA U.S.-listed YieldCos seem to offer the best of two worlds: high income from dividends, combined with high dividend per share growth. YieldCos are listed companies that own clean energy assets, and like the real estate investment trusts (REITs) and master limited partnerships (MLPs) they are modeled after, they return almost all the income from their investments to their shareholders in the form of dividends. Unlike REITs and MLPs, however, U.S.-listed YieldCos have management targets to deliver double-digit per-share dividend growth. YieldCos shown are NRG Yield (NYLD), Abengoa Yield (ABY), TerraForm Power...

Power REIT’s Preferred Stock Offering: A Hedge That Pays 7.75%

Power REIT's preferred stock offerning (NYSE:PW-PRA) is an excellent hedge for the legal risks borne by the holders of its common stock (NYSE:PW.)

Are YieldCos Overpaying for Their Assets?

Tom Konrad CFA YieldCos buy and own clean energy projects with the intent of using the resulting cash flows to pay a high dividend to their investors.  Several such companies, often captive subsidiaries of listed project developers, have listed on U.S. markets since 2013. So far, YieldCos have been a win-win: The developers that list YieldCos have gained access to inexpensive capital, and income investors have gotten access to a new asset class paying stable and growing dividends.  So far, they have also gained from significant stock price appreciation. The seven U.S.-listed YieldCos are up...
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