US Solar Fund mulls further capital raises after IPO-funded PV acquisition spree

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US Solar Fund raised US$200 million at its IPO on the London Stock Exchange in April 2019. Source: Flickr, Elias Gayles

London-listed US Solar Fund (USF) has revealed that it has already fully committed the US$200 million raise from last year's initial public offering (IPO), with proceeds funding four US solar purchases totalling 383MW.

The solar investor is considering raising further funds, according to 2019 financial results published on Tuesday, now that all four acquisitions have closed.

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Between April's IPO and the end of the year, USF acquired: A 128MW solar project in Utah with a 25-year PPA; a 39MW, 6-project portfolio of under-construction solar projects in North Carolina with 13-year PPAs; and a further 39MW portfolio of operating utility-scale PV plants in North Carolina, with 10-year PPAs.

On 31 December, the firm's acquisition pipeline “represented a potential cash equity investment of US$1.9 billion and total capacity of 2,036MW,” according to a release that accompanied the company's first ever year-end results.

In January, USF used the last of the IPO's proceeds to purchase a 177MW portfolio of 22 utility-scale solar projects in North Carolina, Oregon and California from Heelstone Renewable Energy.

Gill Nott, chair of the company, said: “With contracted cashflows for an average of more than 16 years with investment grade off-takers, the investment manager is fully focused on delivering the portfolio’s long-term, stable, income objectives.”

Nott noted that the company would be “closely monitoring” the spread of coronavirus, but that “the majority of the equipment required for in-construction assets is either already in the US or is being manufactured there.”

The solar investor's NAV per share stood at US$0.972 on 31 December, compared to US$0.979 on 30 June, a 0.7% drop.

The prospects and challenges of solar's new era in the US will take centre stage at Large Scale Solar USA 2020 (Austin, Texas, on 23-24 June 2020).

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