Apple sets sights on solar and storage with US$1.5 billion green bond issue

Apple has issued a green bond valued at US$1.5b. Image: Apple.

Tech giant Apple has said that solar and energy storage projects will be among the priorities for expenditure under its inaugural green bond, which the company issued earlier in the week to the tune of US$1.5 billion.

Apple said in an SEC filing that its bond would have three main priorities – renewable energy and energy efficiency, using “greener materials” in the supply chain and conserving resources.   

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Green bonds, which tap the vast global debt capital markets, are seen as a potentially vital tool in harnessing capital for ‘green’ infrastructure such as renewables, particularly in the context of the Paris climate deal in December.

Earlier this month credit rating agency Moody’s said the agreement could trigger a surge in the green bond market and predicted more than US$50 billion of issuances this year.

In an interview with news agency Reuters, Apple’s vice president of environment, policy and social initiatives, said Apples decision to issue the bond had been prompted by the Paris climate agreement.

Apple’s green bond will have a seven-year tenor, reaching maturity in 2023.

The company’s SEC filing on the bond gave few specific details on how proceeds from the issuance would be spent, other than to say that renewables such as solar, wind and energy storage solutions would be ‘eligible projects’ under its criteria. To date the company has been a significant corporate backer of solar, with various large-scale PV projects underway in markets such as China and Singapore and several significant investments in US solar projects.

Writing in a blog post this week, Sean Kidney, chief executive of the Climate Bonds Initiative, said: “There is a lot of potential for the US corporate green bond market and we expected it kick off in 2015, clearly it didn’t get the momentum last year but with Apple leading the way this year we may see a ramping up of the market.”

Kidney also said the fact Apple had had an independent review of its bond, by Sustainalytics, would encourage other potential corporate issuers to follow suit.

“This [is a] positive signal to future US corporate issuers not only about green bonds but also that getting an independent review on the green credentials is a fairly standard process.”

Kidney added that Climate Bonds Initiative had calculated that so far in 2016 some US$11.6 billon had been issued in green bonds.

An in-depth analysis of how solar can be scaled up in the aftermath of the Paris deal can be read in the latest edition of PV Tech Power. To read the issue in full, click here.  

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