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...

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...

How Much Could Another Yieldco Pay For 8point3?

by Tom Konrad Ph.D., CFA When SunPower (SPWR) and First Solar's (FSLR) YieldCo, 8point3 Energy Partners (CAFD), went public two years ago, I used the financial nerd joke in 8point3's ticker symbol as a launching point to explain what "cash available for distribution," or CAFD, means. In that article, I cautioned against the risks of using a short-term cash flow measure for long-term investing decisions. That risk is becoming more and more real for investors in 8point3 because the YieldCo is using  short-term, interest-only financing to fund its long-term investments. All of 8point3's debt matures in 2020, and refinancing that debt will...

Why This German Solar Executive Is Skeptical About American YieldCo Assumptions

by Tom Konrad CFA Ever since the first YieldCo, NRG Yield (NYSE:NYLD), went public in 2013, it and other similar YieldCos have been reshaping the market for operating renewable energy assets, especially wind and solar PV farms.  A YieldCo is, to put it simply, a publicly traded subsidiary of a developer and operator of clean energy farms that uses the cash flow from its assets to return a high current dividend to shareholders. Most large, publicly traded clean energy developers have already launched or are preparing to launch a YieldCo. The current crop includes NRG Yield, Pattern...

Solar Rooftop Lease Securitization A Ground-Breaking Success

Sean Kidney Last week we blogged that  SolarCity (SCTY) and Credit Suisse were about to issue a new $54.4 million, climate bond – a rooftop solar lease securitization. It’s out: BBB+, 4.8%, 13 years. The long tenor is interesting – and great. And S&P’s BBB+ rating suggest those credit analysts may be beginning to understand solar. This bond has been long-awaited by the green finance sector, who are hoping it’s the harbinger of things to come. I did get the chance to look at the S&P opinion. Their rating reflected, as they put it, their views on over-collateralization (62%...

Fifteen Clean Energy Yield Cos: Where’s The Yield?

Tom Konrad CFA  In the first article of this survey of yield cos, I noted that many of the recent yield co IPOs have risen so far as to "lend the very term "yield co" a hint of irony" because rising stock prices are accompanied by falling annual dividend yields. Yield Co Worries Because yield cos invest in clean energy infrastructure such as wind farms and solar facilities, conservative income investors may worry about the durability of the technology.  Will solar panels still be producing power twenty...

Green Bonds: 2015 Year End Review

by the Climate Bonds Team Another successful year for the green bond market with 2015 issuance hitting $41.8bn making it the biggest year ever for green bonds. Achieving scale hasn’t been the only reason to celebrate the green bond market at the year-end; the real success is the geographical spread of green bonds across the world. Green bond markets are popping up all across the world, in Brazil, China, Estonia, Mexico and India… just to name a few! Green bond market momentum continues to build after a successful COP in Paris. ...

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...

CAFD: Don’t Let The Joke Be On You

Tom Konrad CFA Sunpower and First Solar are indulging in nerd jokes.  Their YieldCo, called 8point3 Energy Partners had its initial public offering on June 19th. The name is an astronomy nerd joke and a reference to the time it takes the sun's rays to reach the Earth, 8.3 minutes. Last week, we found out that its ticker symbol is CAFD, a "financial nerd joke" because it stands for "cash available for distribution."  CAFD is an important YieldCo metric, but it's not a perfect one. If you're not a financial nerd but are interested in...

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.)
DTE's green bonds will help pay for solar and wind investments

The Green Bond Trend

DTE Energy Company (DTE:  NYSE) recently priced a ‘green bond’ issuance of $525 million to support renewable energy and energy efficiency.  The thirty-year bonds provide a coupon payment at 4.05%.  DTE is planning to buy solar arrays and wind turbines with its newly flush cash kitty.  The capital raise is of significance less for its size and purpose and more for the fact that a U.S. electric utility company is tapping this unusual financing vehicle. True enough, green bonds are nothing new.  Created to fund projects with environmental or climatic benefits, the first green bonds were issued in May 2007 by the European Investment Bank (EIB).  The...

Five Pioneers Mining the Sun for Income

by Jared Wiedmeyer For the past few years, solar industry stakeholders have imagined a future where the general public has the ability to invest in pure-play renewable energy real estate investment trusts (REITs) that finance and construct both utility-scale and distributed photovoltaic (PV) projects in the United States. While these stakeholders wait for this reality to come to fruition, existing REITs already have several options to own or develop solar projects that still allow them to comply with the IRS's asset and income tests.  This past May, Chadbourne & Park's Kelly Kogan and Scott Bank moderated a roundtable with...

Investors Expect Rapid Growth At Pattern Energy Group

Tom Konrad CFA Pattern Energy's Gulf Wind Farm in Armstrong, Texas Disclosure: Long BEP. Pattern Energy Group (NASD:PEGI, TSX:PEG) completed a very successful Initial Public Offering (IPO) on the Nasdaq and Toronto stock exchanges on September 27th.  Not only did the shares price at $22, near the top of the expected range, but the underwriters exercised their full over allotment option to purchase 2.4 million shares in addition to the initial 16 million offered.  Total proceeds from the offering were $404.8 million.  Most of the proceeds went to Pattern Energy Group, LP (PEGLP) in consideration for a...

Greening of Utility Dividends

Investors looking for income have long relied on the stocks of electric utilities. Naturally cash generative utility companies have a history of generous dividend payout policies.  However, for those investors who have a concern about sustainability or climate change, even utilities with the highest dividend yields may not be appealing. We looked at a selection of nine utility companies with mixed achievements in terms of the percentage of renewable energy sources found in their retail sales of electricity.  The intensity of renewable energy in utility portfolios varies considerably across the industry.  Many utilities are grappling with legacy coal and oil infrastructure.  Others are not favored...

Vornado Realty Green Bond Boosts US Market, But Lacks Ambition

By Bridget Boulle and Rozalia Walencik Last week BBB-rated Vornado Realty (NYSE:VNO) became the second US real estate investment trust to issue a corporate green bond, following the Regency Centres (NYSE:REG) bond late last month. The 5 year, $450 million bond was structured by Bank of America Merrill Lynch. Pricing was in line with non-green bonds. Investors included asset managers, pension funds, insurance companies and governments, of which some were regular investors and others had a specific green interest. Some non-US investors also came in. According to the prospectus, the proceeds will be used to fund buildings and retrofits...

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...
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