November 08, 2015

Ormat Eyeing Storage M&A for Geothermal Projects

Jennifer Delony

Reno, Nev.-based Ormat Technologies (ORA) is seeking mergers and acquisitions that will help the company enhance its geothermal projects with energy storage technologies, Ormat CEO Isaac Angel said on Nov. 4.

“On the storage solutions side, we are progressing well,” Angle said during a 3Q15 earnings webcast. “I’m very optimistic that we will be able to add a lot of MW … and profitability to our existing power plants.”

Angle said that he also is optimistic that the company will secure a deal soon that will initiate Ormat’s energy storage strategy.

“We’re almost there,” he said.

According to Angel, Ormat also plans to expand its strategy to include project opportunities that have solar energy as part of a “blended solution.”

“This is a long process,” he said. “And it will take at least another year to come up with more and more enhanced power plants.”

Addressing ongoing project construction during the webcast, Angel said that Ormat expects an earlier completion of its 24 MW project in Olkaria, Kenya, as a result of improvements in construction lead time.

The company originally expected to complete the project in the second half of 2016, but now expects the completion date to fall in 1Q16.

In addition, Angel said that infrastructure work on Ormat’s 14 MW portion of the 330 MW geothermal project under construction in Sarulla, Indonesia, has been “substantially completed.”

“The drilling of production and injection wells are also in progress for the project, however, the project company is experiencing delays in drilling,” he said, adding that Ormat expects the first phase of operation to begin by the end of next year. The remaining phases of operation are scheduled to begin in 2018.

Angel said during the webcast that, despite strong competition from low solar power prices in the U.S., some utilities still are seeking geothermal solutions at “reasonable prices.”

“It would be naïve to say that solar prices are not having an impact on geothermal prices, but on the other hand, the new [renewable portfolio standard in California] is giving us some back wind,” Angel said. “We are negotiating more than several [power purchase agreements], and I am happy with their prices as they stand today.”

On Nov. 3, Ormat reported total revenues for 3Q15 of $162.9 million, compared to $140.2 million for 3Q14. The company reported electricity revenues for 3Q15 of $97.2 million, compared to $102.5 million in 3Q14. In addition, Ormat increased and narrowed its revenue guidance range for the year to between $570 million and $585 million.

Jennifer Delony is associate editor for She worked previously as an analyst for PennWell's TransmissionHub. Jennifer started her career as a B2B news editor in the local and long-distance telecommunications industries in the '90s. She began covering renewable energy issues at the local level in 2005 and covered U.S. and Canadian utility-scale wind energy as editor of North American Windpower magazine from 2006-2009. She also provides analysis for the oil and natural gas sectors as editor of Oilman magazine.

This article was first published on, and is republished with permission.

November 06, 2015

The Green Plains Way

Jim Lane

As the renewables industry searches for effective business models, a strong one emerges in its midst. We look at Green Plains (GPRE) and its businesses.

A recurring theme among the 300+ delegates at ABLC Next this week in San Francisco is the recognition that successful companies change the world — not science projects, or failed companies — and that any route that leads across the Valley of Death to commercial success is the first step towards a sustainable economy, and that strong lead products are the oxen that get settlers across the desert.

Renewable fuels are sold as a commodity and are produced from other commodities — and market prices in commodities swing hard, and success today does not guarantee success tomorrow. But it’s a good moment to pause and reflect on what others can learn from the Green Plains way.

Lessons learned

1. Get a lead product that’s a platform for a company. Green Plains began as a one-horse ethanol producer with two products, corn ethanol and distillers grains. There were unanswered questions at the time about the market acceptance of the products, the viability of the sector, and whether Green Plains could scale to industry-leading size, and when.

2. They chose, in corn ethanol, a product that can support a company, rather than ease a burn rate and provide some hope to investors. There are $1 million lead products and $100 million lead products and $1 billion lead products. The first provides hope and not much more, the second eases a burn rate, the latter can support a company.

3. Gain strength by appplying advanced tehcnologies to advance the business proposition

Today, Green Plains has more than a billion gallons in ethanol production capacity, and is making money even in a tough ethanol market; it has spun off Green Plains Partners (GPP) into a successful IPO and reported its first dividend to shareholders in that venture this week; it has diversified into corn oil and is working hard on monetizing its CO2 production. It is acquiring terminal capacity as well as production capacity.

The latest from Green Plains: The Q3 results

Green Plains recorded net Q3 income of $6.2 million, or $0.16 per diluted share, compared to net income of $41.7 million, or $1.03 per diluted share, for the same period in 2014. Revenues were $742.8 million for the third quarter of 2015 compared to $833.9 million for the same period in 2014.

“We are pleased with our results considering the tight margin environment experienced during the third quarter,” said Todd Becker, president and chief executive officer. “Based on the recent improvement in the forward curve for ethanol margins and current market fundamentals, we believe our fourth quarter operating income will exceed the third quarter of 2015.”

During the third quarter, Green Plains’ ethanol production totaled 215.6 million gallons, or approximately 83.8% of its daily average production capacity. The consolidated ethanol crush margin was $34.9 million, or $0.16 per gallon for the third quarter of 2015, compared to $82.8 million, or $0.34 per gallon for the same period in 2014.

“With our recent acquisition activity, we are putting our strong balance sheet to work for our shareholders,” Becker said. “The purchase of ethanol plants in Hopewell and Hereford, along with expansion projects completed to date, will increase our production capacity to over 1.2 billion gallons per year. We believe each of these transactions will be accretive to earnings in the near term.”

“Global demand for ethanol remains strong, with domestic blending occurring at a record pace and ethanol exports running approximately 6% ahead of last year,” continued Becker. “For the third quarter, ethanol export sales were 21% of our production.”

Expansion activity

  • As part of its Phase I ethanol production capacity expansion program, the company has added 35 million gallons of production capacity at a cost of $19.6 million through Oct. 1, 2015. The company anticipates adding another 30 million gallons of production capacity during the first quarter of 2016 and 20 million gallons of production capacity in the second quarter of 2016. The total cost of the Phase I expansion is estimated to be approximately $50 million, or $0.59 per gallon.
  • On Oct. 26, 2015, Green Plains announced that it had acquired an ethanol production facility in Hopewell, VA. Operating at full capacity, the facility’s dry mill ethanol plant will increase the company’s annual production capacity by approximately 60 million gallons. Production is expected to resume by the end of 2015 with corn oil processing expected to be operational during the second quarter of 2016.
  • On Nov. 2, 2015, Green Plains announced that it had signed a definitive agreement regarding the purchase of an ethanol production facility located in Hereford, TX with approximately 100 million gallons of annual production capacity. Under the terms of the agreement, Green Plains will acquire Hereford Renewable Energy, LLC for approximately $93.8 million.

Analyst reaction

Raymond James analyst Pavel Molchanov writes:

“Green Plains Partners is a derivative play on the U.S. corn ethanol industry, one of the most mature elements of the renewables spectrum. But in contrast to the typical “ethanol stock,” this is a fee-based MLP with zero commodity risk. The name of the game will be dropdowns from the parent company, a long-standing consolidator in a fragmented industry – and there is ample news on that front. Bearing in mind the lofty yield attributes, we reiterate our Strong Buy rating, as detailed in our initiation report from July 21.

* 3Q15 recap. This was the MLP’s first full quarter as a stand-alone public company, so historical comparisons are not meaningful. Revenue of $21.4 million (90% from the parent company) came in below our estimate of $23.6 million, but gross margin of 64% topped our model. Distributable cash flow of $12.9 million was marginally below our model, and coverage was just under 1.0x. The first quarterly distribution, $0.40/unit, has already been declared and will be paid on November 13. We anticipate that the first increase (up a penny to $0.41) will come next quarter.

* Dropdowns… one very soon, one a bit later. Ahead of the 3Q results, yesterday the parent company announced its second ethanol plant acquisition within a week – quite the M&A mini-boom in the ethanol space. The 100 million gallon plant in Texas is being bought from the fuel distributor Murphy USA for $94 million, below replacement value. As with the Virginia acquisition from last Monday, the Texas plant’s associated midstream assets will be dropped down to the MLP. These include a shuttle unload facility and a 4.8 million gallon storage facility. Both acquisitions bolster export capabilities, as the facilities are located near coasts. The Texas plant also has the advantage of being in an area with the world’s largest concentration of cattle in the world, ensuring robust demand for distillers’ grains. The timing of the Virginia dropdown is not as clear (we are modeling mid-2016), but the Texas dropdown should come over the next few months.

* Broader thoughts on ethanol. On September 2, we wrote about the fact that ethanol pricing is temporarily above gasoline – a very unusual state of affairs by historical standards. We pointed out that, despite this headwind, the impact on U.S. ethanol demand is likely to be minimal. The weekly EIA petroleum reports largely confirm this. Despite the non-stop volatility in commodity prices, U.S. ethanol production has remained remarkably stable. As it stands, ethanol production has ranged between 900 and 1,000 Mbpd for 24 straight weeks – and 49 out of the past 51 weeks. What this shows is that industry volumes are essentially immune to what’s happening with pricing.

Jim Lane is editor and publisher  of Biofuels Digest where this article was originally published. Biofuels Digest is the most widely read  Biofuels daily read by 14,000+ organizations. Subscribe here.

November 05, 2015

Canadian Solar Eyes IPO for Plant-Building Unit

Doug Young

Bottom line: Canadian Solar is likely to target at least $100 million in an IPO for its power plant-building unit before year end, which could be an attractive investment alternative for buyers of traditional utility stocks.

Just days after announcing big new financing for its unit focused on solar power plant construction, Canadian Solar (Nasdaq: CSIQ) is taking a big new step by disclosing it is preparing an IPO to separately list that unit. The move marks the latest wrinkle in the evolving story for Chinese solar panel manufacturers, which are quickly becoming their own best customers by selling their products to solar plants that they build themselves.

Canadian Solar and some of its peers have actually engaged in this kind of plant construction for a while, though the pace has picked up in the last couple of years. But the latest trend marks a divergence from the past, since Canadian Solar and others are now becoming long-term owners of the plants they build and putting them into wholly-owned units that look like a solar equivalent of traditional power utilities. In the past, Canadian Solar and the others would simply build solar plants, and then sell them to independent long-term owners upon completion.

Canadian Solar has emerged as a leader in this particular trend, and one of my sources tells me that the next company that’s likely to announce a similar development is JinkoSolar (NYSE: JKS). But others are also working on similar plans, with a longer term aim of diversifying their business and providing their core panel-making units with a more reliable stream of sales for projects that they self-develop.

Canadian Solar’s statement is quite brief, and simply says that it has submitted a confidential filing with the US securities regulator that would be the first step towards an eventual IPO. (company announcement) The company adds that no decision has been made on how many shares would be sold, or how much it would like to raise. Such an offering would most likely come of the Nasdaq, where Canadian Solar’s American Depositary Shares (ADSs) currently trade, probably by year end.

This particular announcement comes less than a week after Canadian Solar announced it had just landed $100 million in new financing from Credit Suisse, with an option to borrow another $100 million. (previous post) It said part of that money would provide bridge financing for solar power plant builder Recurrent Energy, following Canadian Solar’s announcement earlier this year that it would buy the company for $265 million.

Recurrent Energy IPO

Based on these 2 recent announcements, it appears that Canadian Solar is centering its new solar plant construction unit around Recurrent Energy, and will inject some of its other solar plant assets into the unit. What’s more, it appears the loan announced last week will serve as temporary financing for Canadian Solar’s purchase of Recurrent until the IPO. That would indicate that Canadian Solar is probably hoping to raise at least $100 million from the IPO, and then use the proceeds to pay off the Credit Suisse loan.

Investors weren’t too impressed by the new announcement, with Canadian Solar shares rising slightly during the latest session in New York. Part of that may be because this deal has been rumored for the last few months. And that said, the shares are up nearly 50 percent from a late-September low, as investors take new interest in some of China’s solar panel makers with good prospects of surviving a second round of industry consolidation.

From an investor’s perspective, this kind of move certainly seems like a relatively positive development for Canadian Solar and others who follow a similar path, since it will help to stabilize their business. The new IPO could also be an attractive alternative for people who like more conservative investments in the power utility sector. The biggest risk is government policy, since most of these new plants are dependent on inflated government-set tariffs to operate profitably. But if technology continues to improve, which seems inevitable, it’s quite possible this new generation of plants could operate profitably without government support at some point in the next decade.

Doug Young has lived and worked in China for 15 years, much of that as a journalist for Reuters writing about Chinese companies. He currently lives in Shanghai where he teaches financial journalism at Fudan University. He writes daily on his blog, Young´s China Business Blog, commenting on the latest developments at Chinese companies listed in the US, China and Hong Kong. He is also author of a new book about the media in China, The Party Line: How The Media Dictates Public Opinion in Modern China.

November 04, 2015

October Undoes September: Ten Clean Energy Stocks For 2015

Tom Konrad Ph.D., CFA

In the two months since my last "monthly" update, clean energy stocks fell precipitously in September and then recovered most of those losses in October, although not for the year. 

Income focused Yieldcos have been particularly badly hit, but my income heavy  Ten Clean Energy Stocks for 2015 model portfolio has done quite well in spite of this.  I attribute this resilience to my emphasis on current dividend income, rather than the dividend plus double-digit growth that many Yieldcos were promising before the collapse in their stock prices rendered the growth impossible.

It now seems increasingly likely that we have seen the bottom for Yieldcos.  I first shared this opinion in an interview on October 14th, and followed it up in more detail in an article last week.  Clean energy stocks and the market in general seem to be following a similar, if less drastic pattern.

By the numbers, the model portfolio was up 11.0% for October, and 3.0% for the year to October 31st.  Its benchmark (a 60/40 blend of YLCO and  PBW) was up 10.3% for the month but is still down 23.9% for the year to date.

The six stock income subportfolio was up 5.8% in October and 12.5% year to date, compared to the Global X YieldCo Index ETF (NASD:YLCO), which recovered 10.5% in October, but remains down 29.5% year to date.  The Green Global Equity Income Portfolio which I manage gained 5.3% for the month and is up 6.6% for the year.

The four stock value and growth portfolio had a stellar month, up 18.9% in October but still down 11.3% year to date.  However, this portfolio is now outperforming its benchmark, the Powershares Wilderhill Clean Energy ETF (NASD: PBW), which gained 9.9% for the month but is down 15.4% year to date.

Individual Stock Returns and Highlights

The chart below (click for larger version) gives details of individual stock performance, followed by a discussion of the month's news for each stock.

10 for 2015 performance thru 10/31/15 

The low and high targets given below are my estimates of the range within which I expected each stock to finish 2015 when I compiled the list at the end of 2014.

Income Stocks

1. Hannon Armstrong Sustainable Infrastructure (NYSE:HASI).
12/31/2014 Price: $14.23.  Annual Dividend: $1.04.  Beta: 0.81.  Low Target: $13.50.  High Target: $17. 
10/31/15 Price: $18.01. YTD Dividend: $0.78  YTD Total Return: 32.0%.

Alone among Yieldcos, sustainable infrastructure financier and Real Estate Investment Trust Hannon Armstrong retains access to the equity markets, a fact which it demonstrated with a secondary offering of 5 million shares at a price of $18.  The secondary offering and decline of the Yieldco sector knocked the price down a bit (if not nearly as much as other Yieldcos.)  As I wrote in the June 1st update, I was taking some profits when HASI was over $20, but I am holding on to my still very large position at current prices.

Although the secondary offering knocked the price down, the offering was not dilutive to current shareholders when viewed through the lens of invested capital per share.  As I mentioned in a comment on Seeking Alpha last week, Hannon Armstrong had approximately $11.87 of capital to invest per share before the offering, and $12.57 of capital per share to invest after the offering.  So the offering should increase HASI's capacity to pay per share dividends by approximately 6%.  At the end of last year, HASI declared a $0.26 per share quarterly dividend generated by approximately $10.91 of invested capital.  If the company is as effective investing the new capital from the two secondary offerings since then, it should be able to declare a quarterly dividend of $0.30 per share for the coming year.

At the current price of $18.01, that translates to a 6.7% annual dividend yield.

2. General Cable Corp. (NYSE:BGC)
12/31/2014 Price: $14.90.  Annual Dividend: $0.72.  Beta: 1.54.  Low Target: $10.  High Target: $30. 
10/31/15 Price: $15.39. YTD Dividend: $0.36  YTD Total Return: 5.7%.

International manufacturer of electrical and fiber optic cable General Cable Corp. reported that MM Logistics (MML) had failed to close on the second part of its purchase of BGC's Asian operations.  The first step netted the company $88 million for BGC's Thai operations.  General Cable believes that MML did not have the right to terminate the Purchase Agreement under the contract, and is "considering all of its options against MML under the Purchase Agreement, at law and in equity."

Despite this news, the stock rallied strongly in October, perhaps because it had simply become extremely undervalued at the end of September.

3. TransAlta Renewables Inc. (TSX:RNW, OTC:TRSWF)
12/31/2014 Price: C$11.48.  Annual Dividend: C$0.84.   Low Target: C$10.  High Target: C$15. 
10/31/15 Price: C$10.10. YTD Dividend: C$0.671  YTD Total C$ Return: -6.2%. YTD Total US$ Return: -16.8%.

Yieldco TransAlta Renewables reported third quarter results in line with the company's previous guidance.  Weak winds in Eastern Canada were offset by strong hydropower and wind production in the west.  Despite this, the stock has continued its slow decline, perhaps because other Yieldcos (which have fallen much further) have become relatively more attractive.

4. Capstone Infrastructure Corp (TSX:CSE. OTC:MCQPF).
12/31/2014 Price: C$3.20. 
Annual Dividend C$0.30.  Low Target: C$3.  High Target: C$5.  
10/31/15 Price: C$3.20. YTD Dividend: C$0.225  YTD Total C$ Return: 7.0%.  YTD Total US$ Return: -5.1%.

Canadian power producer and developer (Yieldco) Capstone Infrastructure received a somewhat favorable binding determination for its joint venture subsidiary, Bristol Water.  The determination partially reverses the former (very unfavorable) ruling by its regulator, OfWat.  The company again committed to maintaining its current dividend and reaffirmed its goal of bringing its payout ratio in line with its long term target of 70% to 80%.

New Flyer Industries (TSX:NFI, OTC:NFYEF)

12/31/2014 Price: C$13.48.  Annual Dividend: C$0.62.  Low Target: C$10.  High Target: C$20. 
10/31/15 Price: C$18.96.  YTD Dividend: C$0.505  YTD Total C$ Return: 44.4%.  YTD Total US$ Return: 28.1%.

Leading North American bus manufacturer New Flyer again announced strong orders and backlog for the third quarter, and received 162 new orders for every 100 buses delivered over the last twelve months.  The backlog is now sufficient for the company to maintain its current production levels through the end of 2016.  Multiple analysts increased their price targets for the stock in response.

Although I still consider the stock attractive, I trimmed my position (most of which was acquired in 2012 at a fraction of the current price) over the last two months to free up capital to invest in what I believe to be some very attractively priced Yieldcos such as Terraform Global (GLBL), 8point3 (CAFD) and Abengoa Yield (ABY).

6. Accell Group (XAMS:ACCEL, OTC:ACGPF).
12/31/2014 Price: €13.60. 
Annual Dividend: €0.61.  Low Target: 12.  High Target: €20.
10/31/15 Price: €18.96. YTD Dividend: 0.61  YTD Total Return: 43.9%.  YTD Total US$ Return: 30.9%.

European bicycle manufacturer Accell Group continues to benefit from its leadership position in the rapidly growing electric bike market.  Like New Flyer, I continue to like the stock and its future growth prospects, but I took some gains to reinvest in undervalued Yieldcos.

Value Stocks

7. Future Fuel Corp. (NYSE:FF)
12/31/2014 Price: $13.02.  Annual Dividend: $0.24.   Beta 0.36.  Low Target: $10.  High Target: $20.
10/31/15 Price: $15.41 YTD Dividend: $0.18.  YTD Total Return: 19.7%.

Biodiesel and specialty chemicals producer FutureFuel renegotiated its previously terminated contract to supply a bleach activator to Proctor and Gamble.  Analysts at Roth Capital believe that the new contract will allow FutureFuel to sell the formerly proprietary product to third parties, and believe that such sales will offset the decline in sales to P&G.  The stock jumped from around $10 when the deal was announced to above $15 today.

8. Power REIT (NYSE:PW).
12/31/2014 Price: $8.35
Annual Dividend: $0.  Beta: 0.52.  Low Target: $5.  High Target: $20.
10/31/15 Price: $4.47. YTD Total Return: -46.5%.

Solar and rail Real Estate Investment Trust Power REIT has released little news as it awaits a final ruling in its civil case with Norfolk Southern and Wheeling & Lake Erie railways. Since the case has already gone badly against PW, I don't expect much further fallout.

9. Ameresco, Inc. (NASD:AMRC).
12/31/2014 Price: $7.00
Annual Dividend: $0.  Beta: 1.36.  Low Target: $6.  High Target: $16.
10/31/15 Price: $6.48. YTD Total Return: -7.4%.

Energy service contractors Ameresco has been recovering from its previous low at the end of August, but I feel it remains significantly undervalued.  The company continues to sign large contracts, and has recently received upgrades from analysts at Oppenheimer and Northland Securities. 

Growth Stock

10. MiX Telematics Limited (NASD:MIXT).
12/31/2014 Price: $
6.50Annual Dividend: ZAR 0.08 or $0.15  Beta:  0.78.  Low Target: $5.  High Target: $20.
10/31/15 Price: $5.63. YTD Dividend: $0.186  YTD Total South African Rand Return: 6.5%.  YTD Total US$ Return: -11.1%.

Vehicle and fleet management software-as-a-service provider MiX Telematics signed a contract to provide its fleet management and safety solutions to Halliburton's fleet of 15,000 vehicles in North America, a sign that the global company's two year push into the North American market is starting to bear fruit.  I continue to believe that MiX is massively undervalued on most metrics, especially in comparison to its North American competitors like Fleetmatics (FLTX.)


Clean energy stocks and especially Yieldcos seem to be recovering from a bottom at the end of September.  Most Yieldcos remain at very attractive valuations, and so I expect their slow recovery to continue, especially since the prospects of more than token rate hikes from monetary authorities seem to be fading.  The weaker economic prospects which have been delaying rate hikes may take the wind out of the rally of many stocks, but income stocks such as Yieldcos and the first six on this list should benefit from continued low interest rates.

Disclosure: Long HASI, CSE/MCQPF, ACCEL/ACGPF, NFI/NFYEF, AMRC, MIXT, PW, PW-PA, FF, BGC, RNW/TRSWF.  I am the manager of the GGEIP strategy.

DISCLAIMER: Past performance is not a guarantee or a reliable indicator of future results.  This article contains the current opinions of the author and such opinions are subject to change without notice.  This article has been distributed for informational purposes only. Forecasts, estimates, and certain information contained herein should not be considered as investment advice or a recommendation of any particular security, strategy or investment product.  Information contained herein has been obtained from sources believed to be reliable, but not guaranteed.

November 03, 2015

Pattern Energy Investors Enjoy The Breeze

by Debra Fiakas CFA

This week Pattern Energy Group’s (PEGI:  Nasdaq), the independent wind power generator, is scheduled to report sales and earnings for the quarter ending September 2015.  The company has cultivated a strong following among analysts for a company its size.  Nine estimate contributions have gone into a consensus estimate of $87.2 million in sales for the quarter, resulting in a net loss of a penny per share.  If achieved the sales hurdle would represent 22% growth over the same quarter last year.  A penny loss may not seem impressive, but it is substantially better than the $0.15 loss the company posted last year for the third quarter.  Indeed, the consensus estimate for the next quarter and next year suggests the company is poised to reach profitability for 2015 and then take off on a run into the next year to potentially reach 40% sales growth and tripling earnings.

Pattern Energy operates fourteen wind power facilities across the U.S., Canada, Chile and Puerto Rico.  Another two facilities are under construction.   With exotic names like Logan’s Gap Wind in Comanche County, Texas and Lost Creek Wind in DeKalb County, Missouri, the wind power sites have a total capacity to generate 2,282 megawatts.
Far away from the windy stretches where its wind turbines spin out electricity, Pattern Energy’s management team is installed in offices at San Francisco’s historic Embarcadero.  Most members hail from Babcock & Brown, the Australia-based investment and advisory firm that went bust during the financial crisis in 2009.   The post mortem for Babcock & Brown suggests it was poorly run, with little regard for prudent leverage or risk management practices.  Reportedly, the Wind Group at Babcock & Brown was central to the problems, paying out substantially more dividends than was earned as operating cash flow.  While normally prohibited, such excessive payments were made by setting up the Wind Group in an off-shore ownership structure.  The ruse allowed Babcock & Brown to portray the company as highly profitable so the company could borrow more from banks as well as pay out management fees and bonuses to senior executives.

According to its financial reports, Pattern Energy recorded $266.6 million in total energy sales in the twelve months ending June 2015, resulting in a net loss of $33.2 million.  However, operating cash flow in the period was positive $98.2 million and the company closed out June with $82.9 million in cash on the balance sheet.   Cash generation is all important, as power generation is a capital hungry business.  Capital investment has averaged over $290 million per year over the past three years.  Dividends are also a drain on cash.  The company is slated to pay out $1.45 per share in dividends over the next year, requiring at least $108 million in cash to cover checks to shareholders. 
To keep things going Pattern Energy has put on some leverage, bringing total long-term debt to $2.0 billion at the end of June 2015.  The company has also sold common stock, raising approximately $867 million over the last three and a half years.   

Investors have been squirming under the added risk associated with higher leverage as well as the specter of losses during the last year.  PEGI began trading downward in mid-July 2015 when the rest of the U.S. equity market took a nose dive.  With a beta of 1.04 we would expect a decline commensurate with the broader market.  However, PESI has not recovered with the rest of the market, leaving the stock price closer to its 52-week low price than it is to the high price. 

For investors who are content with management’s performance and trust financial strength of the company, the depressed stock price is appealing.  The current dividend yield is 6.8%, a yield that could deliver a pleasant breeze to investors’ portfolios.

Debra Fiakas is the Managing Director of
Crystal Equity Research, an alternative research resource on small capitalization companies in selected industries.

Neither the author of the Small Cap Strategist web log, Crystal Equity Research nor its affiliates have a beneficial interest in the companies mentioned herein.

November 02, 2015

Ethanol Sector Consolidation or Salvation?

by Debra Fiakas CFA

The drumbeat of deals in the ethanol industry is sounding louder, or so it seems from the proliferation of notices in my e-mail inbox.  I received no less than four messages in one morning from ethanol producer Green Plains, Inc. (GPRE: Nasdaq) heralding the purchase of the Hopewell Ethanol plant in Virginia from FutureFuel, Inc. (FF:  NYSE).  The acquisition represents the ninth transaction for Green Plains in the last five years, adding another 60 million gallons in annual production capacity to Green Plains’ existing total capacity of 1.02 billion gallons.  

Indeed, Green Plains is among the largest ethanol producers in the U.S. with a total of thirteen plants in operation.   Notably only four of these facilities were ‘greenstarts’ by Green Plains, making it clear that deal making is a critical element in success in the ethanol business.  Green Plains is successful in financial terms.  In the most recently reported twelve months the company reported a total of $3.2 billion in total sales, providing $88.5 million in net income or $2.22 per share.  Green Plains squeezed $93.7 million in operation cash flow out of sales in that period.  Granted Green Plains has some debt that must be serviced  -  $652.4 million at the end of June 2015  -  that represents a debt-to-equity ratio of 80.80.  However, imagine the debt load that might be required to build over a billion gallons of production capacity if Green Plains management was not on the prowl for bargains from plant owners anxious to exit a difficult business in a period of declining commodity prices.

It might be unfair to characterize FutureFuel as ‘anxious.’  While considerably smaller than Green Plains, FutureFuel is also comfortably profitable.  Sales of $350.3 million in the twelve months ending June 2015 provided $53.5 million in net income and $84 million in operating cash flow.  What is more, FutureFuel has a pristine balance sheet with no debt and a cash hoard of $228.3 million in cash.  Of course, FutureFuel’s financial success is due in part to the company’s shift in focus away from ethanol production to higher margin specialty and performance bio-chemicals.  FutureFuel just announced the renewal of a deal to supply Proctor & Gamble (PG:  NYSE) with a proprietary bleach activator laundry detergent additive known by the acronym NOBS.  FutureFuel has a string of long-term supply agreements to make custom or proprietary bio-based chemicals that are used in herbicides, coatings, adhesives and other industrial, pharmaceutical and agricultural end-products.  To be sure, FutureFuel is still in the biodiesel business with a fat and oil processing plant that has the capacity to turn out 58 million gallons of biodiesel per year.

Ethanol may no longer be central to FutureFuel’s business plan, but it is still on the radar of Green Plains and others.  The economics of ethanol can be made more attractive by leveraging low-cost raw material supply relationships and efficient distribution pacts for the ethanol and the many by-products associated with corn feedstock.  Capital assets purchased at good values can put icing on the cake.

Green Plains has some competition for ethanol assets.  Flint Hills Resources, the subsidiary of privately-held Koch Industries, has been in the hunt over the past few years as well.  Indeed, Flint Hills has established its ethanol production footprint exclusively with acquisitions.  Just five years ago Flint Hills was in the business of refining fossil fuels and producing petrochemicals.   Eight ethanol deals over the past five years have given the company a presence in Iowa, Nebraska and Georgia and a total of over 650 million gallons in ethanol product capacity per year.  Importantly for Flint Hills Resources and its parent Koch Industries, the company can also claim a berth in the renewable fuel sector.

An interesting study could be made of the twin timelines of the Flint Hills Resources investment in ethanol production and political contributions by the Koch brothers in organizations denying the impact of fossil fuels in creating adverse climate change.  However, that would be beyond the scope of a article looking at the impact of mergers and acquisitions on the fate of the ethanol sector.

It seems ethanol has always been in a state of consolidation.  Green Plains and Flint Hill Resources are just borrowing from the playbook of POET, LLC based in South Dakota.  POET was previously known as Broin Companies and was founded in the early 1980s.  Its first plant was gobbled up in a foreclosure as the initial ethanol plants of the 1970s struggled against falling gas prices.  POET has made numerous acquisitions since, building production capacity to 1.7 billion gallons per year in twenty-seven plants located in South Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa, Indiana, Michigan, Missouri and Ohio.  It is questionable whether POET could have achieved that level of scale and remained in business by pursuing a strategy of new construction alone.

That is not to say that POET is not game to build a new plant.  POET expanded capacity at that first ethanol plant and constructed a half dozen other ethanol facilities within the first two decades of the company’s history.  More recently, in a joint venture with Royal DSM, POET brought on-line in 2014, a commercial-scale plant to produce 25 million gallons per year of cellulosic ethanol from corn cobs and other crop residue.  The plant had an $8 million price tag paid for out of proceeds from a government guaranteed loan.

We are left to guess on the financial success of POET and Flint Hills Resources.  As private companies they need not disclose sales or earnings details.  We are left to guess whether the economics of consolidation are working in their favor as well as they have for Green Plains. The longevity of POET suggests it is effective to ‘buy low’ in the ethanol business, proving that sector consolidation could also be its salvation.

Debra Fiakas is the Managing Director of
Crystal Equity Research, an alternative research resource on small capitalization companies in selected industries.

Neither the author of the Small Cap Strategist web log, Crystal Equity Research nor its affiliates have a beneficial interest in the companies mentioned herein. GPRE, FF and POET are all included in the Ethanol Group of Crystal Equity Research's Beach Boys Index of companies using the power of the sun to create renewable fuels.

November 01, 2015

Solar Shift in New Financing for Candian Solar, Trina

Doug Young

Bottom line: New financing deals for Canadian Solar and Trina reflect the growing role of solar panel makers as power plant builders, and could provide some stability to the sector by providing a more reliable stream of new projects.

Two big new financing deals are shining a spotlight on a major shift taking place in the solar panel sector, with manufacturers increasingly moving into the field of solar farm development. The shift is seeing solar panel makers become their own best customers, buying up panels for use in solar farms that they build themselves. The latest headlines have Canadian Solar (Nasdaq: CSIQ) and Trina (NYSE: TSL) securing major new financing for such construction, in 2 deals that are both quite large but also very different in nature.

Solar panel makers have been building their own plants for several years now, though the trend has accelerated in the last year. The traditional model was for them to build solar farms using their own panels, and then sell those plants to longer-term buyers. But in an interesting twist to that story, solar panel makers may be looking to hold those farms themselves and put them into separate units, my sources say. Those units could then be spun off later into separate publicly listed companies, in a play that would look like a new energy version of traditional power utilities.

Let’s begin with a round-up of the 2 newest financing deals, starting with one that has seen Canadian Solar just land a $100 million loan from Swiss banking giant Credit Suisse. (company announcement) No terms were given for the loan, though one of my sources told me the interest rates were quite high, reflecting the tenuous position of solar panel makers right now due to stiff competition in the oversupplied market.

Canadian Solar said the loan was meant as a short-term, two-year bridge facility to help finance its $265 million purchase announced earlier this year of Recurrent Energy, a builder of solar power plants. It added it could boost the facility by another $100 million. In a final interesting note, Canadian Solar said it will give Credit Suisse the option to convert the loan to its stock at a price of $24.48 per share. That represents a 14 percent premium over Canadian Solar’s latest closing price, and seems to indicate a certain degree of confidence in the stock by Credit Suisse.

Trina Ties With Citic

Next there’s the Trina deal, which involves a much larger 10 billion yuan ($1.6 billion) in financing from the several units of state-run financial services giant Citic. (company announcement) The financing is part of a 5-year series of agreements that will see Citic provide financing for a range of uses, including equipment upgrades and new plant construction.

The Trina deal looks a bit more political than Canadian Solar’s, since Citic is a major state-run financial conglomerate with strong ties to Beijing. But the deal does appear to show that Trina has Beijing’s support, and could emerge as one an important consolidator for a Chinese solar panel sector plagued by excess capacity. Citic’s state-run roots also indicate a big portion of the financing could be used for domestic solar plant construction, as China looks to lower its reliance on fossil fuels.

Both of these deals do seem to indicate that financiers are becoming increasingly comfortable with backing the stronger Chinese solar panel makers to do their own plant construction. That’s an important step forward, since most of these companies were traditionally just manufacturers, and relied on third parties to buy their panels for use in new plants.

This kind of plant construction also carries a certain degree of risk, since there’s always the possibility of delays or other unforeseen problems that could cause projects to get scrapped or produce yields lower than earlier forecasts. There’s also the risk that projects may not be able to find long-term buyers upon completion, though the panel makers could reduce that by creating their own separate units focused on plant construction. At the end of the day these 2 new financing deals both look relatively positive, and could mark the start of a new chapter in the development of China’s solar panel sector.

Doug Young has lived and worked in China for 15 years, much of that as a journalist for Reuters writing about Chinese companies. He currently lives in Shanghai where he teaches financial journalism at Fudan University. He writes daily on his blog, Young´s China Business Blog, commenting on the latest developments at Chinese companies listed in the US, China and Hong Kong. He is also author of a new book about the media in China, The Party Line: How The Media Dictates Public Opinion in Modern China.

October 30, 2015

Yieldcos: Calling The Bottom

by Tom Konrad Ph.D., CFA

On a podcast recorded on September 14th, I said I thought that Yieldco stocks had bottomed at the end of September.  Two weeks later, that call still looks like a good one (see chart.)
I'm starting to hear optimistic noises from other Yieldco observers, although the general tone remains quite bearish.

Why do I think September 29th was the likely bottom?
  • End of quarter.  Some institutional investors such as mutual funds reshuffle their portfolios at the end of the quarter so that they don't have to report losing stocks as holdings.
  • Market capitulation.  Although the chart of the thinly traded Global X YieldCo Index ETF (YLCO), above, does not show the high volume selling of a typical capitulation bottom, most of the largest and most liquid Yieldco stocks do.  NRG Yield (NYLD), Terraform Power (TERP), and NextEra Energy Partners (NEP) all show high volume trading on September 28th or 29th.  The pattern is most dramatic for NRG Yield:
NYLD chart
  • Valuation.  Valuation is usually useless for market timing, including calling bottoms.  Undervalued stocks can grow even more undervalued.  That said, Yieldcos are much easier to value than most stocks, especially if we assume that low stock prices will prevent growth through acquisition.  In that case, a Yieldco should be worth approximately the same as its assets.  Those assets are solar and wind farms, or other clean energy infrastructure will long term contracted cash flows.  Since most Yieldco assets have been acquired recently, the current value of those assets should not be too different from what the Yieldco paid for them.  Hence, Yieldco prices per share should never fall far below invested capital per share.  If a Yieldco recently bought its assets at near market prices, tangible book value per share will be a good measure of invested capital.  If the asset were acquired for in kind contributions of Yieldco stock, we may still be able to value them using a discounted cash flow analysis.

The newest Yieldco is Terraform Global (GLBL), which went public at the start of August.  At the IPO, Terraform Global had a net tangible book value of $9.47 per share, compared to a $15 IPO price.  At the recent price of $7.50, GLBL is trading at a 21% discount to net tangible assets, or more than a fifth less than the recent purchase price of solar farms it owns.   In other words, investors seem to be assuming that any future acquisitions will fail to create (or potentially destroy) value for current shareholders, and that GLBL significantly overpaid for its current assets. 

Terraform Global seems priced for nearly everything to go wrong.  Even assuming that everything does go wrong, I'm happy holding the stock at $7.50 and collecting the $1.10 (15%) annual dividend.

8point3 Energy Partners (CAFD) went public in June with a net tangible book value of $5.99 per share, compared to a $21 IPO price.  The reason for this low tangible book value was because its sponsors First Solar (FSLR) and Sunpower (SPWR) contributed solar farms at cost.  The actual value of those farms would be significantly higher if sold to unrelated parties. 

Tangible book value is not particularly useful for valuing 8point3's assets, but my colleague Jan Schalkwijk, CFA of JPS Global Investments has done a discounted cash flow analysis of 8point3 under the assumption of absolutely no revenue growth after 2026, and his estimates of nearer term revenue growth without the addition of new assets before that date.  At a 7% discount rate (which seems appropriate given the low risk of 8point3's contracted cash flows, he arrived at a value per share of $12.99.  In other words, at the recent price of $13, the market is placing no value on 8point3's potential future acquisitions, or the chance that this high quality Yieldco will recover from the current sector downturn. 

So there is plenty of potential upside in CAFD shares, and we get paid an $0.84 (6.5%) annual dividend while we wait for that upside to materialize.


Many Yieldcos are currently trading at or below the value of their current assets.  Even investors who believe that the Yieldco model is broken should consider buying and holding these stocks at current prices.  If Yieldcos stay in the doldrums, and stock prices will never again recover, investors do not need the new acquisitions and dividend growth which could follow to earn an attractive risk-adjusted return.

 Disclosure: Long NYLD/A, GLBL, CAFD, FSLR.

DISCLAIMER: Past performance is not a guarantee or a reliable indicator of future results.  This article contains the current opinions of the author and such opinions are subject to change without notice.  This article has been distributed for informational purposes only. Forecasts, estimates, and certain information contained herein should not be considered as investment advice or a recommendation of any particular security, strategy or investment product.  Information contained herein has been obtained from sources believed to be reliable, but not guaranteed.

October 29, 2015

Tesla Mulls Local Chinese Production

Doug Young

Tesla Logo

Bottom line: Tesla’s newly announced modest China sales and announcement of a plan for potential local production reflect the uphill road it faces in the Chinese market, which is unlikely to get much easier in the next 2 years.

China is fast becoming the land of promising upstart companies that failed to reach their potential, with word that former new energy superstar Tesla (Nasdaq: TSLA) has posted very ho-hum car sales in a market where it once held out big hopes. The rare China sales figures come as Tesla discussed possible plans to localize some of its manufacturing in the world’s largest auto market, a move that charismatic founder Elon Musk says could cut the cost of cars by up to a third.

The latest Tesla news came from a local media event in China that didn’t go off too smoothly, and apparently wasn’t meant to be reported by foreign media. The event’s lower-key nature and other glitches were unusual for Tesla, which was traditionally a master at slickly orchestrated events and appearances by Musk that gave the company hugely positive publicity when it first drove into China last year.

Of course much has changed since then, and Tesla has been just one of several new energy car makers that have been hobbled by weak consumer sentiment towards a sector that has sputtered despite strong promotion from Beijing. Total electric vehicle (EV) sales in China stood at a 5,114 in the first half of the year, up around 40 percent from a year earlier but still quite a paltry figure. (previous post)

Tesla has been quite tight-lipped about its China sales since cruising into the market more than a year ago, but revealed during Musk’s visit that it sold 3,025 of its mainstay Model S cars in the country in the first 9 months of this year, including 1,680 in the first 2 quarters. (English article; Chinese article) That means the company sold about a third of all EVs purchased in China in the first half of the year, and also that its sales picked up sharply in the third quarter.

King of the Ant Hill

So perhaps Tesla can boast that it controls a third of China’s EV sales, though the market is so small right now that such a boast doesn’t really seem to carry much weight. The reality is that Tesla had much bigger hopes for China when it entered the market last year, hinting that it hoped it could sell as many as 10,000 of its EVs there each year. (previous post) But things didn’t go quite as smoothly as it anticipated, with the company suffering from a combination of its own internal issues and also a much broader failure of wider incentives by Beijing to boost the market.

As a result Tesla conducted a major China overhaul early this year that included the departure of its local head and reportedly also saw large layoffs of its relatively modest local staff. It’s unclear what the company has done differently since then and whether these latest rare sales figures represent achievement of its newer targets or still represent weak performance.

What we do know is that Tesla is in negotiations to do some production locally, a move that it says could lower the cost of its expensive cars by as much as a third. The fact that Musk was talking about lowering car prices seemed uncharacteristic, since Tesla was typically aiming for high-end buyers who wanted to own the latest high-tech gadgets and weren’t so price sensitive.

In many ways, Tesla’s missteps look a bit like another former high-flyer, former local smartphone superstar Xiaomi. After a hype-filled first few years, Xiaomi’s prospects have suddenly stalled as it faces its own issues, including some technical glitches, lackluster new product reviews and most notably intense competition in the China smartphone market. In this case Tesla seems to be facing different issues, some company-specific and others related to the broader China EV market. I wouldn’t write off the company in China yet, though it could still be another few years before it starts to reach some of the loftier targets it first suggested during headier times when it first arrived to the market.

  Doug Young has lived and worked in China for 15 years, much of that as a journalist for Reuters writing about Chinese companies. He currently lives in Shanghai where he teaches financial journalism at Fudan University. He writes daily on his blog, Young´s China Business Blog, commenting on the latest developments at Chinese companies listed in the US, China and Hong Kong. He is also author of a new book about the media in China, The Party Line: How The Media Dictates Public Opinion in Modern China.

October 28, 2015

Green Asset-Backed Bond From Hannon Armstrong Has Measured GHG Savings

by the Climate Bonds Team

Hannon Armstrong’s (HASI) second green ABS, $118.6m, will save 0.39 tons of GHG annually per $1,000!  ($100.5m, 4.28%, 19 yr, A and $18.1m, 5.00%, 19 yr, BBB)

Hannon Armstrong (NYSE:HASI) closed its second green ABS bond (Sustainable Yield Bond) following its inaugural issuance in December 2013. The ABS was a private placement split into two tranches with different credit ratings (from Kroll Bond Credit Rating Agency): $100.5m with a rating of A and 4.28% interest rate, and $18.1m with a rating of BBB and 5.00% interest rate. Both tranches have a 19-year tenor.

Similar to its first green bond, the green ABS is a securitization of ground lease payments for the land used by solar or wind operating assets. Most large scale US wind and solar projects do not own the land on which the assets are installed and operated. Instead it is essential for long-term leases to be agreed to enable stable cash flow of on-shore renewable projects.

For every $1,000 invested in the bond 0.39 tons of carbon will be saved annually according to a CarbonCount  review.  CarbonCount was originally pioneered by Hannon Armstrong and further developed by the Alliance to Save Energy as part of the BNEF FiRE initiative.

Now, it may spring to mind, how do leases for land relate to a direct carbon saving of 0.39 tons annually?

CarbonCount uses a 1:1 ratio between project emission savings and total capital costs, therefore every $ spent on capital cost, from buying the hardware to renting the land, is linked to an equal proportion of the carbon emissions saved by the entire project.

Here is a brief overview of how it works: independent audits of each project determine the expected energy output. This is then fed into the US Environment Protection Agency (EPA) energy-to-emissions model to estimate the amount of carbon displaced by producing renewable energy rather than non-renewable, based on the existing energy mix of the State where the project is.

The total annual carbon saved is then split across the total capital cost of the project. The capital cost covers all aspects of the projects (from the wind turbines or solar panels, to the contractual ground leases). The result: for each dollar spent on capital costs of green projects, the amount of carbon saved is the same. So, the score of this bond is based on the emissions saved associated with the total amount of ground lease payment.

Now, this is a really exciting step in transparency of green bonds as it gives investors a tangible impact of their investment per dollar. Other green bonds can leverage CarbonCount, but at the moment the tool seems to be limited to US based renewable energy projects because of the dependence on the US EPA model (we expect this will change in time as CarbonCount grows). Though, we still need to keep our collective eyes on the prize – it’s about a rapid transition to a global low carbon and climate resilient economy. That means we need to think about carbon emissions (absolutely!) but we also need to include assets that are even more complex to define such as sustainable water across broader geographical scope.

——— The Climate Bonds Team includes Sean Kidney, Tess Olsen-Rong, Beate Sonerud, and Justine Leigh-Bell. 
 The Climate Bonds Initiative is an "investor-focused" not-for-profit promoting long-term debt models to fund a rapid, global transition to a low-carbon economy. 

October 27, 2015

US Yieldcos Will Survive

by Susan Kraemer

As unrealistic expectations of dividend growth are scaled back, yieldcos are now on a more sustainable path.

Weaknesses in the US yieldco model came into sharp relief this summer as share prices fell along with oil and gas stocks. This was in part due to investor confusion about energy stocks but also in response to a flaw in US yieldco expectations.

Manager of the Green Global Equity Income Portfolio and editor Tom Konrad Ph.D., CFA had warned of the looming potential for exactly this kind of market correction in a conversation a year ago. He was worried that investors imagined that yieldcos could keep raising their dividends "forever."

In July of 2014, Konrad voiced this concern: "I think investors think that the party will never end, but at some point we're going to reach this place where yieldcos can't raise their dividends. They have sowed the seeds of their own demise. I think most investors do not understand exactly what's going on."

Now, he said: "There has been a kind of an emperor-is-wearing-no-clothes moment. Investors were assuming that dividend growth would continue forever but that was predicated upon infinite stock price rises. I think it will certainly make people more cautious about investing in yieldcos."

“What yieldcos need to be is boring”

Until recently, yieldcos were benefiting from a virtuous cycle of rising stocks, share issuance at high prices, rapid dividend growth and more share-price rises.

"People are greedy and the people who were setting up yieldcos were catering to that,” Konrad said. “The stocks were overpriced. That has corrected."

The fall happened when too many yieldcos issued too much stock at once and the market was not able to absorb it. This led to falling expectations for dividend growth, leading to stock-price falls.

To fix the yieldco model, both investors and management just need to stop focusing on dividend growth, according to Konrad.

"What yieldcos need to be is boring," he said. "You don't want a stock price that goes up and down crazily, you don't want a dividend getting raised really quickly because they are selling lots of stock."

“A more rational growth rate for dividends would be 2% to 5%”

Konrad believes yieldcos could do worse than imitate certificates of deposit (CDs) at US banks, which offer interest rates well under 1%. Investing in a yieldco would offer a better return than simply leaving money in a CD, and be a little riskier as bank deposits are government guaranteed.

But even yieldco dividend rates of 3% to 7% are much more attractive than CD interest rates at a fraction of a percent, and it is unrealistic to expect yieldcos to grow at 10% or more annually. “A more rational growth rate for dividends would be 2% to 5%, or even 0%," said Konrad.

"You basically just want a stock that you can buy like buying a piece of a community solar farm."

Konrad does not think a lot of changes have to be made to the yieldco model, because they are already happening now with the market correction. Now that investors have a more rational expectation of lower dividend growth, share prices for yieldcos are falling.

But that doesn't mean the dividends themselves are going down. The value of a yieldco doesn't change because its stock price has changed. The value of a yieldco is simply its ability to pay dividends, and what that dividend rate is.

Dividends are not affected by the stock prices, and are still expected to rise, just more gradually, assuming that more stable solar assets with power-purchase agreements continue to be added, which is a reasonable assumption.

It seems that in their haste to leverage these very solid assets, solar firms overreached.

Currently the dividend yield, or dividend as a percentage of the share of stock, is increasing, because the more the share price falls, the higher the dividend yield goes.

The fundamentals are sound. And solar farms with guaranteed 25-year power contracts in place have been likened to toll roads in terms of the stability and security of the income they generate.

Since a yieldco holds only these already-generating assets, with guaranteed revenue streams, a yieldco is arguably a more secure and safe investment than the companies that built the assets. After all, there are no 25-year contracts that guarantee the income of project development companies.

It seems that in their haste to leverage these very solid assets, solar firms overreached. For the solar industry, a high share price in a yieldco provided cheap capital. Yieldcos set dividends to start low so that they could raise them, making it appear that dividend increases would continue long term.

Konrad is not pessimistic about the long term after the correction of the bubble, and believes yieldcos serve a real need that has been overlooked in the recent bad news.

"I do think that there will be more people buying solar farms once they understand the characteristics,” he said. “They are simple vehicles to allow you and me to buy solar and wind farms."

This article was written for YieldCon, the Renewable Energy Yieldco Conference to be held in NYC on December 3rd.  Tom Konrad Ph.D. CFA will speak at the conference.

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