Buyer’s Guide To Community Solar in New York

by Tom Konrad Ph.D., CFA After a painfully long wait, community solar (also called shared solar) is finally coming to New York state. After years of regulatory uncertainty, the state Public Services Commission (PSC) has put enough of the enabling regulations in place for a number of developers to move forward. What is Community Solar? A community solar installation is a large scale (typically 1 to 3 MW, or the size of about 150 to 800 residential solar installations) in which subscribers can sign up to lease or purchase a share of the production from the solar farm as a credit on...
power production from wind and solar

List of High Yield Alternative Energy Stocks

This is a list of renewable and alternative energy stocks with dividend or distribution yields above 4%.  The list includes most Yieldcos (high distribution companies that own renewable energy operations), but is not limited to Yieldcos. Some Yieldcos may be excluded if their yield is below 4%. Atlantica Yield plc (AY) Algonquin Power & Utilities Corp. (AQN, AQN.TO) Bluefield Solar Income Fund Ltd. (BSIF.L) Brookfield Renewable Partners L.P. (BEP) Clearway Energy, Inc. (CWEN,CWEN-A) Companhia Energética de Minas Gerais (CIG) Covanta Holding Corporation (CVA) Crius Energy Trust (KWH-UN.TO, CRIUF) Enviva Partners, LP (EVA) Foresight Solar Fund plc (FSFL.L) GATX Corporation Series A (GMTA) Global X YieldCo ETF (YLCO) Greencoat UK Wind PLC (UKW.L) Green...

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...
TERP BEP price spread

Why is Terraform Power Trading at a Premium to the Brookfield Renewable Merger Value?

Tom Konrad, Ph.D., CFA A reader asked: Read your recent article on Pattern Energy (PEGI). Great summary and thoughts. Would like to ask your view on TERP potential takeover by BEP (via shares swap) and whether you reckon the recent run-up on TERP is too excessive? It's a good question, and one that Robbert Manders on Seeking Alpha did a thorough analysis of here.  For the details of the merger, I refer you to his work. While his analysis is careful and complete, I disagree with his conclusion.  TERP shares are not trading at a significant premium to the merger value.  The reason is...

Should Pattern Energy Shareholders Vote Against the Merger?

by Tom Konrad Ph.D., CFA This morning, hedge fund Water Island Capital called on Pattern Energy (PEGI) Shareholders to vote against the merger with the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB). Water Island claims the merger is undervalued compared to the recently surging prices of other Yieldcos, and that PEGI would be trading at over $30 given current valuations.  There are not a lot of other Yieldcos left, especially if we eliminate those with their own special circumstances.  These are Terraform Power (TERP) which is subject to its own buyout agreement with Brookfield Renewable Energy (BEP), and Clearway (CWEN and CWEN/A) where...

Hannon Armstrong Declines to Raise Dividend, Sets 3 Year Guidance

Investors did not like Hannon Armstrong's (NYSE:HASI) fourth quarter earnings announcement last night.  While core earnings were a little weaker than expected, that is not what has the stock trading down 11% today.  What shocked investors is the fact that the company did not raise the dividend this year for the first time since the REIT went public, and it gave 3 year guidance which likely disappointed many investors. Last month, I wrote, I expect that Hannon Armstrong will continue to be a well run and conservative business in 2018, and that management will raise the dividend at the lower end...

See You Later, Hannon Armstrong

by Tom Konrad Ph.D., CFA Sustainable infrastructure financier Hannon Armstrong (NYSE:HASI) is not in my Ten Clean Energy Stocks model portfolio for the first year since its IPO in 2013. I still love the company and its business model, but I have become concerned about its short term prospects. Dividend Disappointment? In my last update on the 2017 portfolio, I wrote, “Sustainable infrastructure and clean energy financier Hannon Armstrong reported earnings on November 1st. The headline numbers were lower than expected, but for a very good reason. The company has spent the last few months locking in low interest rates by refinancing its...
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...
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Green swan, Black swan: No matter as long as it reduces stranded spending

by Prashant Vaze, The Climate bonds Initiative In January, authors from several institutions under the aegis of BiS, published The Green Swan Central banking and financial stability in the age of climate change setting out their take on the epistemological foundations for, and obstacles against, central banks acting to mitigate climate change risk. The book’s early chapters provide a cogent and up-to-date analysis of climate change’s profound and irreversible impacts on ecosystems and society. The authors are critical of overly simplistic solutions such as relying on just carbon taxes. They also recognize the all-too-evident deficits in global policy to respond to the threat. In short, they accept the need for central banks to act. The Two Arguments  The paper makes two powerful arguments setting out the challenges central banks face using their usual mode of working. Firstly, climate change’s impact on financial systems is an unknowable unknown – a...

First Solar and SunPower Lobby Shareholders to Sell 8point3 YieldCo

by Tom Konrad Ph.D., CFA Will shareholders accept the deal? On Monday, 8point3 Energy Partners, the joint YieldCo from First Solar and SunPower, entered into a definitive agreement to be acquired by Capital Dynamics. When public companies are sold, it's almost always at a premium to the market price. It's that price premium that persuades shareholders to sell. So why would 8point3 (NASD: CAFD) shareholders accept a deal that offers them only $12.35, or 15 to 20 percent below the roughly $15 price CAFD has been trading around for the past three months? To answer this question, we need a little history. Jan Schalkwijk, founder...

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...
do well do good card

Are Aspiration’s Deposits Really Fossil Fuel Free?

Fossil Fuel Free Claims If you are reading this, you've probably also seen advertisements for Aspriation's “Fee-free and fossil fuel free” banking services. Like the advertisements the company's product page encourages visitors to “Earn high interest on what you save with an account that is fee-free and fossil fuel free.“ As a professional green money manager, I know that “fossil fuel free” is in the eye of the beholder. For many mutual funds, “fossil fuel free” simply means avoiding the 200 largest fossil fuel companies, but investing in the 201st largest fossil fuel company, even if its primary business is mining...

My Yieldco Raised Its Dividend With This Weird Trick

Tom Konrad CFA Clean energy yieldcos buck the general trend by paying out a large proportion of cash flow to investors, and rapidly increasing their dividends at the same time.  The key to this trick has been their rapidly appreciating stock prices. High yield companies generally grow slowly, while high growth companies have low dividend yields. Normal companies grow by investing some profits in new business opportunities.  Early stage growth companies typically retain all their earnings to invest in new business.  More mature companies have fewer opportunities, and so share a larger proportion of...

10 Clean Energy Stocks for 2020: Updates on GPP, HASI, CVA

by Tom Konrad, Ph.D., CFA Market Decline Last week I warned "The risks in today's stock market outweigh the possibility of future potential gains."  Looks like we're seeing those risks manifest in short order.  The last couple days' decline have me looking at a few stocks to start adding to my positions again, especially MiX Telematics (MIXT) discussed on June 2nd and Green Plain Partners (GPP), discussed below. Note that this pullback could easily be very early days of a much larger market decline.  We might even see the market fall far enough to test the March lows... any of my buying...

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...

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...