By William Opalka
The New York Green Bank wants to increase its portfolio by two-thirds over the next year, mostly by investing in larger clean energy projects.
In its annual business plan released last week, the state’s clean energy investment arm said it wants to invest $200 million, or $50 million per quarter, in projects that otherwise might not attract enough private capital on their own.
The bank invested $120.5 million in nine transactions over the past year, which was leveraged into a project portfolio valued at $518.3 million. These commitments are expected to result in 128 MW of new capacity.
The Green Bank is administered by the New York State Energy and Research Development Authority as part of the state’s $5.3 billion Clean Energy Fund. (See NYPSC OKs $5.3B Clean Energy Fund.) The bank has a short-term goal of deploying private capital at a rate of 3-to-1 above its own funds, with a longer-term goal of an 8-to-1 ratio when the fund ends in 2025.
The bank is seen as a way to jump-start projects to achieve New York’s goal of obtaining 50% of its energy from clean sources by 2030.
So far, the bank has received $220 million from the state. Now it wants to scale up the project pipeline.
“NYGB has identified two potential opportunities to accelerate market transformation via the creation and introduction of targeted financial products. In both cases, the market is potentially large, but currently suffers from fragmentation, lack of standardization and lack of scale,” the plan says.
Based on input submitted by project developers, financiers and other stakeholders in response to a recent request for information, the Green Bank expects to issue two requests for proposals. Its new targets are commercial real estate and multi-family solar and/or energy efficiency systems that would be owned by the building owner instead of third parties, and ground-mounted solar systems for corporate or industrial end users.
On the same day the business plan was released, the Green Bank closed a $25 million loan for residential solar installer Sunrun. The loan is intended to accelerate construction of more than 5,000 solar projects across the state. It comes on the heels of a separate $25 million loan from the Green Bank in May that was part of a $340 million credit facility Sunrun executed over the past several months.
The bank has been capitalized at $1 billion with support from ratepayer funds and New York’s proceeds from its participation in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative. It has a goal of becoming self-sustaining by 2018 through returns from its project portfolio. (See Project Interest Overwhelms New York’s Green Bank.)