US solar prospects look good to Swiss private asset manager Capital Dynamics AG, which has closed a $282 million US Solar Energy Fund, dedicated to investments in commercial solar projects accross the US.
The company expects to invest in solar projects costing over $500 million, and 60% of that is already committed to 50-plus projects in Massachusetts, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and California, reports Bloomberg Businessweek. The US Solar Energy Fund will likely be fully allocated by early 2013.
Investors in the fund are high net worth individuals and families, and 15 institutional investors from the US, UK, Australia, Germany, Korea and Japan.
"The US solar investment program generated significant interest from a diverse spectrum of global institutional investors, illustrating the increasing appeal of clean energy assets and the diversification benefits they bring to investment portfolios," says Stefan Ammann, CEO of Capital Dynamics.
Recently, we reported on the increasing interest of private investors in solar projects because of their low risk and long term, reliable, high interest returns through 20-year or longer power purchase agreements (utility(s) sign a contract to buy power at a set price for that duration).
Capital Dynamics' existing investments include one of the largest projects in New England, a 5.7 megawatt (MW) ground-mounted installation in Massachusetts due to be finished this summer. The 20,000-panel project will sell power to three municipalities.
In March, the company acquired three solar portfolios consisting of $300 million of projects in California and New Jersey.
One of those projects is the biggest rooftop PV system in the US, a 9 MW project in New Jersey that supplies 80% of the electricity for US Food Inc.'s cold storage warehouse.
Capital Dynamics also invests in wind, biomass, geothermal, small hydro and landfill gas through its Clean Energy and Infrastructure division. It has acquired, built and now manages more than 100 MW of capacity in North America and Europe.
Solar surpassed wind as the top renewable energy investment in 2011, attracting almost $147 billion – twice the amount dedicated to wind.