citybiz+ CleanCapital Raises $500 Million in Round Led by Canada’s Manulife

New York-based clean energy firm CleanCapital has closed on $500 million in a funding round led by Canada’s Manulife Investment Management. It was the biggest funding round for the eight-year-old company that focuses on middle-market solar and storage.

CleanCapital will use the funds to advance early-stage solar and storage development, and to acquire renewable energy assets throughout the United States, as well as to expand partnerships in emerging markets. It has so far raised $1.1 billion from firms such as BlackRock and CarVal Investors, which is now a unit of AllianceBernestein.

“Our team’s climate investing capabilities, combined with our rigorous and highly institutionalized process, have earned the trust of the world’s leading institutional investors,” said CleanCapital co-founder and CEO Thomas Byrne, who was previously a partner and general counsel at True Green Capital Management. “This is our largest raise to date and will enable CleanCapital to play a key role in leading the energy transition to meet our nation’s net zero emissions targets.”

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CleanCapital was founded by Johns Hopkins alum Jon Powers, Byrne and Marc Garrett, a lawyer and photographer, with the goal of accelerating the flow of institutional capital into the middle market solar sector, and to bring innovation to the fight against climate change. Garrett works out of Washington, D.C., most recently serving as CleanCapital’s chief technology officer.

The company initially acquired existing clean energy projects, before establishing projects of its own. Over the past year, CleanCapital surpassed cumulative deployment of more than $1 billion, and made some strategic investments. It acquired BQ Energy, a developer of solar projects on landfills and brownfields. The acquisition has created new opportunities for BQ Energy to more effectively deploy clean energy in high-impact areas. CleanCapital also bought the largest operating solar project on Guam, along with a development pipeline on the island. It also made a corporate investment in Renewable IPP for the development of Alaska’s largest solar project, as well as its pipeline across the state.

Today, CleanCapital has a diverse renewables portfolio of more than 200 distributed generation projects totaling 400 MW, spanning 26 states and one U.S. territory, as well as corporate investments in renewable energy project developers.

“We are proud to announce that we’ve deployed $1 billion into funding the clean energy transition,” said Melinda Baglio, CleanCapital’s chief investment officer and general counsel. “The projects that CleanCapital owns and manages generated 200 GWh of clean energy last year, helping businesses, nonprofits, and municipalities across the country avoid carbon emissions and meet their renewable energy goals.”

This funding, combined with established debt and tax equity facilities, will enable CleanCapital to exponentially grow that impact through our own 1.4 GW development pipeline and future acquisitions and investments, said Baggio.

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Manulife Investment Management is a unit of Toronto-headquartered Manulife Financial Corp. It has more than $600 billion in deployed capital. Ahead of the current round, Manulife had invested $300 million in CleanCapital.

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“We are delighted to continue our partnership with CleanCapital. Distributed solar and storage is a swiftly growing market, and our commitment to investing in assets that support the global shift towards clean energy and GHG reduction remains steadfast,” said Recep Kendircioglu, global head of infrastructure at Manulife Investment. “We view the CleanCapital team as leading the way in the distributed generation solar space and look forward to supporting the company as it continues to grow its asset base and reach across the U.S.”

This year, Manulife acquired Serverfarm. Its portfolio includes PowerFlex Systems, Silicon Ranch and ExteNet Systems.