Renewables investor Excelsior secures US$504m for US solar projects

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Excelsior formed a joint venture with investor Unico last May to develop 250MW of solar projects in the US: Image: Excelsior

Renewable energy investor Excelsior Energy Capital has raised US$504 million in its inaugural funding round to invest in middle-market wind and solar projects in the US and Canada.

The Excelsior Renewable Energy Investment Fund I exceeded its initial target of US$500 million, attracting partner investors from the US, Japan, Europe and the Middle East including asset managers, family offices and pension funds.

Excelsior has invested in 27 solar and wind projects with a total capacity of 192MW since it was launched. The investor targets renewables projects with 20MW capacity or greater that have fixed income from deals such as power purchase agreements with a minimum of 10 years remaining on the contract terms, according to its website.

Last May, the company partnered with solar energy system developer Unico to develop a pipeline of 250MW of commercial and industrial (“C&I”) solar projects located across North America, the first of which broke ground in Q3 2020.

Although specific projects were not cited, Chris Moakley, managing partner of Excelsior Energy Capital, said the funds raised will be used to continue to “execute on our proven strategy of investing in high-quality North American wind and solar projects”.

“We feel incredibly fortunate to have the confidence of some of the most well-regarded limited partners in the world,” he said, “and we look forward to helping them accomplish their investment and ESG objectives.”

Investment in renewable energy projects is predicted to rebound this year following widespread project completion delays brought on by COVID-19 lockdowns. A report from HIS Markit Energy Advisory Service claims that global capex spending on renewables is set to bounce back in 2021, rising 8.5% to US$255 billion – in line with 2019 levels. A separate study from the Solar Energy Industries Association and Wood Mackenzie claims that confidence in the US solar market has “surged back” after months of uncertainty. Around 9.5GWdc of new utility PV power purchase agreements were announced in Q3 2020, according to the research, bringing the contracted pipeline to a record total of 69GWdc.

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