CleanCapital opens C&I solar portfolio to private investors

In what CleanCapital calls a “first-of-its-kind” clean energy finance opportunity, the company has opened a portfolio of 14 operational solar projects on commercial and industrial (C&I) properties to individual private investors.

John Hancock Life Insurance is leading investment in the portfolio, which totals around 8 MW, with $21 million in senior debt. The 14 plants are all between 25 kW and 2.4 MW, mostly at schools, universities and hospitals, but also a Fortune 100 company and a utility.

Through this portfolio CleanCapital is launching a new business model for the solar industry, in which individual investors can invest in portfolios of solar projects, in a form which the company describes as an alternative to a yieldco. “What differs from a yieldco is that our investors are taking direct equity in these portfolios,” CleanCapital Co-Founder Jon Powers told pv magazine USA.

CleanCapital bills itself not only as an opportunity for individual investors to access the cash flows of solar projects, but also a more efficient process for solar developers to quickly exit their existing distributed generation portfolios, thus freeing up funds for further development.

CleanCapital’s part in this is to identify, screen and manage the projects on behalf of investors. Once a project is taken on board, the company actively monitors the projects, and distributes proceeds to investors.

CleanCapital says that the 8 MW portfolio is the first that it plans to roll out this year, and notes that it already has more than $100 million in operational C&I projects in its pipeline for future investments. The company plans to open up a second, $31 million portfolio of projects this week.