A Clean Energy REIT: Hannon Armstrong Sustainable Infrastructure

Tom Konrad CFA On April 18th, Hannon Armstrong Sustainable Infrastructure Capital (NYSE:HASI) IPOed on the New York Stock Exchange.  HASI is one of only two publicly traded Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) dedicated to sustainable infrastructure.   The other such sustainable REIT is Power REIT (NYSE:PW), which I have written about extensively.  PW is both illiquid and involved in significant litigation, two factors which may put off the conservative investors who gravitate towards REITs.  In December, Power REIT purchased the land...

Three New Green Bonds

by Sean Kidney The International Finance Corporation (IFC) is planning to issue $1bn Green Bonds per annum. Hawaii is setting up a bond-funded green bank Germany’s PNE Wind is planning a €100m corporate bond Trade Finance magazine reports that the IFC is planning to issue $1bn a year of Green Bonds. After talking with IFC folk in Washington DC last week I think I can say that the resounding success of last month’s first $1bn IFC Green Bond is making them think much more ambitiously than before. We think they should also...

Is Suzlon’s $650m Wind Bond the First of Many?

India had been trying to get a corporate bond market going for 15 years – search “growing India corporate bonds” and you’ll find papers on the subject from the Reserve Bank of India, Bank of International Settlement and others scattered over past years. The latest Indian 5 year plan has this as a priority – and has green finance as a priority in a separate section. India has a particular need: a miniscule local corporate bond market means restricted financing options for business, including for renewable and energy efficient building developers – diversity with financing options helps drive down costs...

Roundtable Greenlights Effort on Renewable Energy Covered Bonds

by Sean Kidney “There is more liquidity than ever being put into the system, but funds are still not being allocated to renewable energy projects” “The bottleneck for renewable energy is not in construction financing but a year or two after construction .” “ is not an asset class where risk changes over time – it changes between pre-completion to post-completion stages… it is incorrect to think that offloading an asset post-completion dumps risk onto others because the riskier part of the project is past.” “Alignment of interest with investors is strong as the issuing bank...

Power REIT’s First Solar Deal

Tom Konrad The 5.7 MW Solar Farm in Salisbury, MA is the largest solar farm in New England. The land under if was purchased by Power REIT (NYSE:PW) in December. Photo source: Power REIT I first wrote about Power REIT’s (NYSE:PW) plans to invest in renewable energy real estate in May 2012.  The intent was to buy the real estate underlying a solar, wind, or other renewable energy project, charging the project owners rent.  This can be done profitably because REITs often have a lower cost of capital...

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. ...

Solar REITs: A Better Way to Invest in Solar

Tom Konrad CFA The last day for a solar developer to submit an application for the Treasury’s 1603 grant program was September 30th, and only for grandfathered solar projects which broke ground before the end of 2011. Solar panel prices have continued to drop this year, but solar project development remains a capital-intensive business.  The 1603 program allowed solar developers to monetize the solar investment tax credit (ITC) much more quickly than they could otherwise, and this essentially reduced their cost of capital.  As the rush of projects begun before the end of 2011 are completed, developers are looking...

Five Green Dividend Stocks to Watch

Tom Konrad CFA The Perfect Stock My ideal stock is: Green (in that the company is helping to make the economy more sustainable) Pays a good dividend (in the current low-interest rate environment, I consider 4% to be “good”) Has earnings and free cash flow large enough to easily sustain the dividend, and Has low debt, leading to low earnings and cash flow volatility. I like such stocks because I can buy them, and pretty much ignore them.  This leaves me time to research more speculative green stocks, while still knowing that much of my portfolio is producing...

Green Bond Update: Wind Company Bonds

by Corporate Bonder Market Overview Data compiled by the Bank for International Settlements indicate that the total size of the global debt securities market (domestic and international) was $98.7 trillion as at September 2011, of which $89.9 trillion were notes and bonds. Governments accounted for $44.6 trillion of outstanding debt securities, financial organizations $41.9 trillion, corporations $11.2 trillion and international organizations $1.0 trillion. The focus of this report is on corporate borrowers. US corporations are the largest debt issuers, accounting for 46% of corporate debt globally, followed by the Eurozone with 20%, Japan 9%, China 6%, and...

Buffet Bet Comes Out for Solar

by Sean Kidney Warren Buffet is a famous proponent of value investing and he surely received a sign of the value in solar investments over fossil fuels last week. The MidAmerican Energy $850m Topaz solar project bond we mentioned a couple of weeks ago was so successful that a second tranche is expected to cover the remaining debt of the project. The offer was oversubscribed by $400m which would have mopped up the total $1.2bn of debt in the project; Buffet's Berkshire Hathaway (BRK-A) controls MidAmerican. In contrast, Buffet’s investment in $2bn of bonds from gas company...

Developments in the Solar Corporate Bond Market

by Corporate Bonder The global bond market is huge. Data from the Bank for International Settlements shows that the total size of the global debt securities market (domestic and international securities) was $99.5 trillion as at June 2011, of which $89.9 trillion were notes and bonds. Governments accounted for $43.7 trillion of outstanding debt securities, financial organizations $43.8 trillion, corporations $11.0 trillion and international organizations $1.0 trillion. Against that, Bloomberg has estimated that there are $230bn outstanding of fixed-interest securities that meet their “green bonds” definition. And of course the IEA talks of $1 trillion of investment a...

The True Story of Clean Renewable Energy Bonds

Sean Kidney Where did all the CREBs and QCEBs go? Mystery solved. The US has for a long time used tax credits to promote the development of oil and gas and other industries. With tax credits the bond issuer still pays a coupon, but their payment is subsidized, effectively lowering the rate of interest paid. The Obama administration brought in a big program of credits for renewable energy bonds. The plan was that States, large local governments, tribal governments and public power bodies would issue bonds to finance energy efficiency or renewable energy. The US ...

Has the Sell-off Created Value Stocks Among Clean Energy Conglomerates?

Tom Konrad CFA The silver lining of all market declines is the chance to buy stock in quality companies at attractive prices.  That opportunity has been notably absent over the last two years, which is why my focus has shifted to smaller and smaller companies in search of reasonable valuations over that time.  Although I still don't believe the market is cheap by any measure other than comparing it to a couple months ago, the volatility is starting to bring some individual bargains, especially on heavy selling days.  For instance, I've started to acquire some of...

Trash Stocks Trashed: An Income Opportunity?

Tom Konrad CFA Dumpster diving for high yielding gems. An earlier version of this article was written at the end of July and published on my Forbes blog, before the August market implosion. I've updated it here to reflect the new stock prices and some recent company news. Renewable energy has many advantages over fossil energy.  One of the most important is that it's renewable.  As supplies of Oil and other fossil fuels are used up, they become harder and more expensive to extract, while renewable energy is generally getting cheaper over time,...

Climate Bond Standard to be Released This Week

Tom Konrad CFA Conserving the planet for conservative investors. Investing in clean energy stocks has an (often well-deserved) reputation for risk.  Although energy efficiency and more inclusive progressive energy indexes have held up fairly well over the last few years, the performance of narrower clean energy sectors has been dismal, and some industry observers feel that the declines in wind and solar are structural (and hence permanent) as opposed to cyclical (and therefor temporary.) This presents a conundrum for investors with long time horizons who not only need their investments to earn a steady return...
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