- While 2021 was the first year the total global installed capacity of solar photovoltaic (PV) cells exceeded that of wind, the difference was even more pronounced in 2022 because more than 190 gigawatts of solar capacity were installed during the year. We expect this trend will continue into 2027 because of the significant incentives for solar installation stemming from the implementation of favorable policies across regions, such as investment tax credits in North America and strong government support in China.
- S&P Global Ratings affirmed its ratings on 31 out of 44 credits (71%) across its combined solar and wind credit portfolios in 2022 (excluding the 13 new projects added during the year). We downgraded nine credits across the combined portfolio (20%), five of which reflect high and volatile market prices, which will have an adverse impact on future remuneration from the government, rather than operational performance. There were four upgrades across the portfolio (9%), two of which reflect the implementation of our new criteria in December 2022.
- In the wind portfolio, we affirmed the ratings on 14 out of the 20 wind credits we rated in 2022 (70%). The remaining 30% of rating changes were split equally between upgrades and downgrades. The three downgrades (including one default) were all concentrated in the Latin America (LATAM) region and driven by weaker performance of wind resources. While there were also three upgrades, two of these resulted from the revision of our project finance criteria.
- Solar PV generation in North America and Europe, the Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) has performed generally in line with, or slightly above, resource forecasts, though projects in India have consistently underperformed. While we affirmed our ratings on 17 of the 24 solar projects in the portfolio (71%), we downgraded six (25%) and upgraded one (4%) in 2022. Overall the asset class is stable nonetheless, with good performance, bearing in mind that the downgrades mainly reflect high market prices in Spain that generated higher-than-expected revenues that in turn will lead to lower remuneration from the government. The upgrade reflects a revised assessment of the project offtaker's creditworthiness.
Solar And Wind Renewables Update
Over the past year, the expansion in the renewable energy market has led to an increase in the number of projects we rate in both the solar and wind sectors. As of March 31, 2023, S&P Global Ratings' solar portfolio stood at 34 credits, which is up substantially from 24 as of Feb. 24, 2022, while the expansion in its wind portfolio was more modest (increasing to 23 credits from 21). The combination of increasing demand for renewable energy, technological advances, and the implementation of favorable policy incentives across regions has set the stage for continued positive momentum over the coming years (see the Policy Overviews section at the end of the article). That said, some challenges to the sectors' expansion remain. This was reflected in the rating actions and outlook revisions we implemented across our solar and wind portfolios during the year: we downgraded about 20% of the combined credits in our solar and wind portfolios (excluding the 13 new projects during the year) and revised our outlooks on about 14% to negative or CreditWatch Developing (excluding the new additions, one project that we no longer assign an outlook, and one credit we changed our outlook on to stable from positive following an upgrade). Specifically, we downgraded six credits and took negative outlook actions on three credits in our rated solar portfolio in 2022. The majority of these rating actions were concentrated in Spain, which reflects the price volatility experienced during the year. Apart from Spain, poor performance was not a significant trend in the rest of the solar portfolio, which saw one upgrade and three positive outlook revisions. The weaker performance of wind resources during the year led to three downgrades (including a default) and three outlook revisions to negative or CreditWatch Developing, which reflects the wind sector's poorer overall performance relative to solar during the year. While we did take some positive rating actions on wind credits during the year, including three upgrades, many of these rating actions stemmed from updated mappings under our new Project Finance ratings criteria, rather than improving performance.
Published Dec. 14, 2022, S&P Global Ratings' updated Sector-Specific Project Finance Rating Methodology includes changes to certain credit factors and assumptions we used in our analysis of power projects. For solar and wind projects that may lack operating track records, our typical base-case assumption for power production probability of exceedance value now considers P75 thresholds in addition to P90 thresholds, which more-favorably reflect their performance when the data is supportive. That said, the analysis of our portfolio's historical production shows that production is usually aligned with P90 thresholds. As the market matures, we are starting to see increasing interest in either partial or pure merchant renewables. Looking further out, we believe this increase in merchant exposure will likely tilt credit profiles towards the non-investment-grade category without sufficient mitigants.
Below we provide a comprehensive overview of S&P Global Ratings' renewables portfolio, with insight into our four market sectors: North America (NA), Latin America (LATAM), Europe, the Middle East, and Africa (EMEA), and Asia-Pacific (APAC). All global ratings data is as of March 31, 2023.
Solar Portfolio Distribution
Solar rating distribution
With a median rating of 'BBB-', the mostly investment-grade portfolio reflects the strong credit factors attributable to solar farms, with only 11 credits rated below the investment-grade categories. For five solar projects in EMEA, we used Standard & Poor's Underlying Ratings (SPURs) in our analysis rather than insured ratings (see Chart 3). We upgraded one project and downgraded six across the regions in 2022. The portfolio demonstrates our view that the overall solar renewables market features strong underlying credit metrics, though the elevated renumeration derived from the high and volatile electricity prices generated in 2021 and 2022 severely impacted the projects we rate in Spain (for further information, see the Credit FAQ "Why Are Record Power Prices Turning Up The Heat On Spanish Renewable Energy Projects?" published on Feb 1, 2022).
Solar outlook distribution
With a median outlook of stable, we have stable outlooks on 71% of our solar portfolio, which reflects our expectation for typically predictable debt service coverage ratios (DSCRs). We derive the credits' DSCRs from their contracted revenue and a combination of their experienced operations and management (O&M) providers and declining operating costs. Charts 4 and 5 demonstrate our view that solar projects have maintained mostly stable performances over the last year. Nonetheless, we placed one project on CreditWatch with negative implications due to construction delays. Of the nine projects we have negative outlooks on, eight reflect the risk of weakening credit metrics due to power price volatility in Spain, while the other, located in Peru, reflects the creditworthiness of the sovereign. We implemented three negative outlook revisions and three positive outlook revisions in 2022. These actions reflected the creditworthiness of the projects' counterparties and guarantors.
Solar regional distribution
Our rated portfolio is focused in LATAM where we rate 18 solar projects, including seven projects added in 2022. LATAM and EMEA account for almost 80% of our solar portfolio. North America and APAC are less represented, with four projects in North America and three in APAC.
While the ratings distribution is fairly even across regions, we rate most of the LATAM projects in the 'BBB' and 'BBB-' categories. As we note in our report "Various Rating Actions Taken On Eight Spanish Renewables Projects On Expected Subsidy Reductions," published Sept. 30, 2022, power prices in EMEA have exceeded forecasts and the solar projects we rate in Spain will likely remain over-renumerated until 2025. We revised our expected stability of cash flows figures for Anselma Issuer S.A., Desarrollos Empresariales Trafalgar S.A., Enersol Solar Santa Lucia S.A., FSL Issuer S.A.U., Hypesol Solar Inversiones S.A.U., and Solaben Luxembourg S.A. because we anticipate a decline in their DSCRs. We expect a reduction of subsidies starting in 2023 to compensate for the over-renumeration; however, according to our recent publication, "Renewable Energy In Spain: Government Has Yet To Finalize Regulatory Subsidies," published April 3, 2023, we anticipate volatile electricity prices will continue to affect the creditworthiness of the Spanish projects we rate.
Solar Rating Changes And Outlook Revisions
In the solar portfolio, we raised our rating for Adani Green Energy and lowered our ratings for a private project in Peru, Anselma Issuer S.A., Desarrollos Empresariales Trafalgar S.A., FSL Issuer S.A.U., Hypesol Solar Inversiones S.A.U., and Sonnedix Finance S.A. As stated in the relevant research updates, these rating changes stemmed from fluctuations in our DSCR calculations, while the private project in Peru was negatively affected by the revision of our outlook on the sovereign.
We revised a significant number of outlooks across the portfolio. Of the six outlook revisions, three were positive and three were negative. The positive revisions reflected a combination of counterparty credit improvements and operational performances that exceeded our expectations for Topaz Solar Farms LLC, Private Project A, and Hypesol Solar Inversiones S.A.U. (we had previously placed our rating on Hypesol on CreditWatch with negative implications). For Enersol Solar Santa Lucia S.A. and Solaben Luxembourg S.A., the negative outlook revisions reflected the risk that their credit metrics would weaken due to the power price volatility in Spain. For a private solar project in Chile the outlook revision stemmed from delays in interconnection and the delivery of equipment.
Solar Debt Service Performance
A typical quality solar project with an operations phase business assessment (OPBA) of '4', the average for the solar portfolio, and a minimum DSCR of 1.175x could map to an operations-phase stand-alone credit profile (SACP) of 'bbb-' per Table 8 of our new general criteria. We note that this mapping differs from Table 5 in our old criteria, under which the lower bound for the minimum DSCR was 1.20x rather than the current 1.175x (a 25 basis point [bps] difference). However, there are some outliers that affect the OPBA and minimum DSCR average (see table 1). For example, we rate Adani Green Energy Ltd. Restricted Group 2's debt 'BB+/Stable' with an OPBA of '3' and a minimum DSCR of 1.27x, which--under the new criteria--maps to a preliminary SACP of 'bbb-'. However, our rating on the project's debt is constrained by the creditworthiness of its weakest counterparty.
Different risk mitigants allow us to assess project risk on a case-by-case basis. Our Spanish solar projects benefit from renumeration agreements with the Spanish government; however, the volatility of electricity prices has caused their renumeration on investment (Rinv) to be about 9% below 2021 levels, which is leading the government to issue new regulatory subsidies. We expect to revise our DSCRs downwards to reflect the fall in Rinv.
|Solar portfolio minimum DSCRs and OPBAs|
|Minimum DSCR range||1.6x-1.18x||1.48x-0.95x|
|Average minimum DSCR||1.34x||1.24x|
|DSCR--Debt service coverage ratio. OPBA--Operations phase business assessment.|
Wind Portfolio Distribution
Wind rating distribution
With a median rating of 'BB' and median outlook of stable, the mostly speculative-grade wind portfolio reflects the weaker credit quality of the projects relative to solar assets. Their poorer performance in 2022 led to three downgrades, including one default, all concentrated in the LATAM region (see Chart 10). The factors that contributed to these rating actions included the weaker performance of wind resources and their greater use of reserve accounts due to operating issues.
Wind outlook distribution
Our outlooks on the wind portfolio are similar to those on the solar portfolio, with 70% of the rated projects having a stable outlook. On the one hand, wind projects benefit from contracted revenue streams and experienced O&M providers with declining expense profiles that ensure cash flow stability. On the other, they have greater exposure to resource risk than solar projects, implying that a weaker performance of wind resources would have a greater negative affect on their performance than a similar decline in solar resources would have on solar projects. Therefore, the lower availability of wind turbines and slower-than-expected wind speeds in some regions in 2022 contributed to a deterioration in the performance of the affected wind projects. See the Rating Change and Outlook Revision Trend section below for additional details.
Wind regional distribution
Over half of our wind portfolio (including project finance transactions and pure-play corporates) is concentrated in the LATAM region. EMEA is less represented at less than 10%, with the remainder split between APAC and North America (each accounting for roughly 20%). , one of the pure-play corporates, has a global portfolio, thus we excluded it from our analysis. Since last year's report card, two projects were added in the APAC region, one project was added in LATAM, and one project was withdrawn in EMEA. The rating distribution suggests a regional concentration, with nearly 60% of projects in LATAM carrying sub-investment-grade ratings. On the other hand, we rate 100%, 60%, and 50% of the wind credits in EMEA, APAC, and North America, respectively, in the investment-grade category.
Wind Rating Changes And Outlook Revisions
In the wind portfolio, we downgraded Chapada do Piaui I Holding S.A. and Desarrollos Eolicos Mexicanos de Oaxaca 1 S.A.P.I. de C.V. because of consistent energy generation deficits and weaker wind resource performance. We downgraded Inversiones Latin America Power Limitada due to issues with its short-term liquidity stemming from delays in its collections and wind resource underperformance.
The wind portfolio also saw three upgrades for Caldeirao Grande Energias Renovaveis S.A., Greenko Energy Holdings, and Parque Eolico Kiyu S.A., two of which stemmed from the revision of our project finance criteria. For Caldeirao Grande Energias Renovaveis S.A., the upgrade reflected the long tail of the project's debt through the addition of a positive future value modifier under the revised criteria. Our rating on Parque Eolico Kiyu S.A. benefitted from the recalibration of the minimum DSCR thresholds under our revised criteria. The upgrade of Greenko Energy Holdings stemmed from the stabilization of its operating performance backed by a larger and more diversified portfolio of assets.
There were three negative outlook/CreditWatch actions in the wind portfolio related to the underperformance of energy generation. We revised our outlooks on Chapada do Piaui I Holding S.A. and Geradora Eolica Bons Ventos da Serra I S.A. to negative from stable and placed our rating on Inversiones Latin America Power Limitada on CreditWatch Developing. The negative revisions accounted for 17% of our wind portfolio (excluding the three new projects during the year, the project we changed our outlook on to stable from positive following an upgrade, as well as the project that defaulted). We did not revise our outlook on any of the credits in this portfolio to positive from stable.
Wind Debt Service Performance
With respect to the project finance portion of the wind portfolio, a typical wind project with an OPBA of '5' to '6' and a minimum DSCR of 1.30x could map to an operations-phase SACP of 'bbb-', per table 8 of our new general criteria, absent a sovereign cap and atypical mitigants. We note that this mapping differs from table 5 in our old criteria, under which the lower bound for the minimum DSCR sat at 1.40x rather than the current 1.30x (a 100 bps difference). As in the solar portfolio, there are some outliers to these rating outcome guidelines. For example, our OPBA score on Hallett Hill, whose debt we rate 'BBB/Negative', is '2'. Hallett Hill is a wind farm near Adelaide in South Australia. The low OPBA score is due to the strong protections from its off-taker AGL Energy Ltd. (AGL), which operates on a 25-year take-or-pay contract (to January 2035) that virtually eliminates its performance risk. AGL also serves as an O&M provider, leading to significantly more operating risk than in other similar projects. These two factors are layered on top of the asset's operations stability assessment of '4', which leads us to apply two notches of uplift to our rating. In addition, we assess its market risk as not applicable (0) because the fixed-price contract with AGL and its lack of wind risk, which--overall--leads it to closely resemble an availability-based contract. With a minimum DSCR of 1.25x, the preliminary SACP comes out to 'a-', though we cap it at 'BBB' to reflect our assessment of AGL's credit quality, which we view as irreplaceable. With the rapid development of renewables over the past 10 years, such contracts are now somewhat rare in the market.
|Wind portfolio minimum DSCRs and OPBAs|
|Minimum DSCR range||1.60x-1.25x||1.22x||1.10x-0.8x||0.80x-0.75x||N/A|
|Average minimum DSCR||1.43x||1.22x||0.95x||0.78x||N/A|
|DSCR--Debt service coverage ratio. OPBA--Operations phase business assessment.|
Global Resource Production And Availability Performance Outcomes
With performance data from both corporate and project finance assets that we rate in North America, EMEA, and India, we observe widely differing outcomes with respect to region-specific trends. For example, many of the solar assets in India and solar thermal in EMEA did not achieve their P90 production levels, while for the U.S. and EMEA solar PV they are generally at or above their P90 levels.
We have a small portfolio of four North American solar credits. In our analyses of these credits, we focus on their availability and generation variance to indicate different trends. Availability is the time a power source is available to generate power, while generation being a measure of the energy output. We use these two metrics measure the difference between the actual and expected figures. The expected figures are based on initial sponsor P90 and P75 one-year forecasts, per our new criteria. The charts below show the variance between the expected figures and actual figures from 2014 until 2021. Chart 17 shows the four projects remained similar across the time horizon. Solar Star Funding LLC suffered an outage-related dip in 2016, which they quickly recovered from the following year. In Chart 18, Topaz's generation variance peaked at just over 15% in 2018 and it remains a group leader, indicating that its generation output its exceeding forecast level. CSolar IV South LLC is at the bottom of the list by generation output, with the project's lowest variance at negative 7.01% in 2021. The project with the highest average generation variance is Topaz at 10.31%, while the lowest is CSolar at negative 2.49%. The average generation of all U.S. solar projects exceeds the P90 forecast and comes out to 1.45%, with availability of 0.10%.
We note that the availability variance and generation variance charts only reflect data as of year-end 2021 due to reporting lags.
S&P Global Ratings' North American wind portfolio contains only two credits. However, focusing again on availability and generation variance using sponsor P90 estimates as benchmarks, the two projects differ with respect to their performance. Continental Wind LLC, a portfolio of wind farms in multiple U.S. states, benefits from its physical diversity, which has supported higher and more-consistent generation output than at Alta Wind (see Chart 21). Conversely, Alta's singular location exposes it to greater resource risk, leading to a more volatile performance. While Continental Wind has exceeded its P90 generation targets by 3.5% on average, Alta Wind only marginally crosses its P90 benchmarks (0.8% higher on average). However, we note that both projects have been exceeding their P90 generation targets by smaller margins over time (see Charts 19 and 20). There is a divergence in trend with respect to their generation variance (see Chart 21). Alta Wind's generation variance, albeit volatile, has been rising over time, reflecting its increasing generation. On the other hand, Continental Wind has been facing declining generation, which has reduced its generation variance. If the weakening trend continues, it could present credit issues for the project.
We again note that the availability variance and generation variance charts only reflect data as of year-end 2021 due to reporting lags.
Most PV plants we rate in EMEA have demonstrated strong operational performance, in line with the technology's track record. Their diversification has enabled the PV projects we rate to outperform the one-year P90 levels we assume in our base-case scenarios by an average of 1.4% since their initial rating. Their performance has been supported by their average availability of almost 99%, though their production has not been uniform over the years, ranging from –6% to +10% for individual projects in a given year relative to our P90 assumptions. Two-thirds of the credits in the EMEA PV portfolio have consistently reached and moderately exceeded their P90-one year production assumptions.
Unlike their PV counterparts, the concentrated solar power (CSP) projects we rate have underperformed their one-year P90 levels in our base case by an average of 7.4% since their initial rating and have displayed more volatility, ranging from –24% to +12% for individual projects in a given year relative to our P90 assumption. The production of the CSPs has been negatively affected by the need to replace blade and rotary joints and make rotor repairs. More recently, their performance has been affected by curtailment and maintenance work on the transmission network. We do not currently anticipate that these issues will impair their production again, at least not to the same extent.
We use the P90-one year and P99-one year assumptions under our base-case forecasts for all of our rated renewable projects in EMEA.
In India, we believe weak operating performances will continue to weigh on the credit profiles of renewable players. The underperformance of wind further widened in 2021 and 2022 from already weak levels, with nearly three in four assets missing their P90 targets. Nearly half the solar projects in India missed their P90 generation targets over the past five years (see "India Renewables: Growth Trumps Deleveraging," published April 18, 2022).
This level of underperformance stands in sharp contrast to the experiences of renewable players globally (and even in other Asian countries), where solar assets have generally performed at their P90 levels or better. Changes in weather patterns, monsoons, and similar uncontrollable factors are often sighted a reasons for the underperformance across wind and solar assets in India. Most issuers' management plans are based on P75 and P50 solar generation levels, both of which they met less than 30% of the time over the past five years. We believe consistent P90 misses across wind and solar assets in India indicate aggressive resource estimation. In our view, the Indian renewable industry needs to recalibrate its generation expectations based on the dismal performance track record of existing assets. For our rated corporates, we generally adopt P90 generation levels for solar, while for wind we apply a further haircut over P90 levels--based on their track record---in our forecasts.
|India renewables actual performance by fiscal year|
|P50 - P75||5||9||10||41||32||21||16|
Detail for each of our ratings and outlooks on solar and wind credits as of publishing date.
|S&P Global Ratings' portfolio of project finance transactions: solar power|
|Project||Location||Rating and outlook||Capacity (MW)||Plant/asset count||Commercial operations date||Panel type||Project summary|
Adani Green Energy Ltd. Restricted Group 2
|India||BB+/Stable||570||10||Early 2018 and August 2019||Photovoltaic||The three issuers collectively own and operate a portfolio of 10 solar assets in two states in India with 570 MW of installed capacity.|
Anselma Issuer S.A.
|Spain||BB+/Negative (SPUR)||35||18||2007-2008||92% crystalline silicon modules and 8% cadmium telluride thin film||ProjectCos generate cash flows by converting sunlight into electricity through 18 PV plants. The plants have a nominal capacity of 35.34 MW.|
CSolar IV South LLC
|Imperial Valley, Calif.||BBB+/Stable||130||1||Nov. 1, 2013||Cadmium telluride||CSolar is a 130 MW alternating-current, fixed-tilt, thin-film solar PV power project in California’s Imperial Valley.|
Desarrollos Empresariales Trafalgar S.A.
|Spain||BB+/Negative (SPUR)||55||23||2008-2011||Crystalline silicon, polycrystalline and thin-film (CdTe)||Desarrollos Empresariales Trafalgar issued €342 million of senior secured notes in 2020 serviced via receivables generated by 23 PV plants that convert light into electricity. The portfolio is closed, meaning that PV assets cannot be added or removed during the tenor of the debt. They have an aggregate nominal capacity of 55 MW.|
Enersol Solar Santa Lucia S.A.
|Spain||BBB/Negative (SPUR)||38||9||2008||Cadmium telluride thin film, monocrystalline, and polycrystalline||ESSL used the proceeds to refinance its debt and pledge security for a portfolio of nine PV plants operational since 2008 in Adalucia in southern Spain. The portfolio (the project) has an aggregate nominal capacity of 38 MW.|
FSL Issuer S.A.U.
|Spain||BB/Negative (SPUR)||65||9||2007-2010||98.5% crystalline silicon modules and 1.5% thin film||The PV plants have an aggregate nominal capacity of 65 MW and benefit from the Spanish regulatory framework for renewable projects for an additional 17-20 years.|
Hypesol Solar Inversiones S.A.U.
|Spain||BB+/Negative (SPUR)||100||2||2012||CSP plants||Newly established limited-purpose entity Hypesol has issued €325.6 million of senior secured notes. It services the notes using receivables from the proceeds it lends to the Helios, which generate their cash flows by converting sunlight into electricity through two concentrating solar power plants. Situated in central Spain and commercially operational since 2012, the plants have a nominal capacity of 50 MW.|
Parampujya Solar Energy Private Ltd. Restricted Group
|India||BB-/Stable||930||25||August 2016-May 2019||Photovoltaic||PSEPL RG owns and operates a portfolio of 25 solar assets in eight Indian states with 930 MW of installed capacity.|
Prime Energia SpA, EnfraGen Spain S.A.U., and EnfraGen Energia Sur S.A.U.
|Chile, Colombia, Panama||BBB-/Stable||1.7 GW (36 MW solar only)||19||Partially still under construction||Photovoltaic||The project will consist of a portfolio of 19 power assets totaling 1.7 GW of installed capacity.|
Solaben Luxembourg S.A.
|Extremadura, Spain||BBB+/Negative||100||2||Summer 2013||CSP plants||ProjectCos used debt proceeds to refinance the debt raised for the construction of two 50 MW solar thermal plants with parabolic trough technology (Solaben 1 and 6) in Extremadura, Spain.|
Solar Star Funding LLC
|Kern County and Los Angeles County, Calif.||BBB/Stable||586||2||July 2015||Monocrystalline silicon||Solar Star is a 586 MW alternating current power project comprising a 310 MW facility (Solar Star 1) and a separate, adjacent 276 MW photovoltaic facility (Solar Star 2) in California’s Kern and Los Angeles counties. Construction was completed in mid-2015, and it initiated operations in July 2015.|
Sonnedix Finance S.A. (Previously Vela Energy Finance S.A.)
|Spain||BBB/Negative||98||42||2008||Crystalline silicon and cadmium telluride||In 2016, Luxembourg-based limited-purpose entity Sonnedix (previously called Vela Energy Finance S.A.) issued three series of notes totaling €404.4 million. Sonnedix Finance S.A. lent the proceeds of the bonds to Sonnedix Equityco S.L. under an on-loan agreement. Sonnedix Equityco S.L. then lent the proceeds to 35 special-purpose vehicles (ProjectCos) that own and operate 42 solar (PV) parks. The portfolio has an aggregate gross generating capacity of approximately 87.7 MW on a nominal basis, with peak capacity of 98.4 MW. The portfolio of PV parks owned by the ProjectCos is closed, meaning PV assets cannot be added or removed during the term of the financing.|
Sweihan PV Power Co. PJSC
|Abu Dhabi||BBB+/Stable||1177||1||April 2019||Photovoltaic-monocrystalline and||Sweihan PV Power Co. is a United Arab Emirates-based limited-purpose entity that owns, operates, and maintains the 1,177 MW (DC) (881 MW [AC]) Noor PV complex in Abu Dhabi. The project covers approximately 7.8 square kilometers and includes approximately 3.2 million JinkoSolar panels and 878 Ingeteam inverters. The panels are monocrystalline and installed in a fixed tilt configuration. The project has been in operation since April 2019 and sells 100% of output to Emirates Water & Electricity Co. under a 30-year power purchase agreement.|
Topaz Solar Farms LLC
|San Luis Obispo County, Calif.||BB/Stable||550||1||Feb. 15, 2018||Cadmium telluride||Topaz is a 550 MW solar power project that achieved commercial operation in October 2014 and was completed in February 2015.|
UEP Penonome II S.A.
|Panama||BB/Stable||215 (40 solar only)||1||2018||Photovoltaic||The transaction is composed of a combined portfolio of 215 MW of wind assets (UEP II) and 40 MW of solar parks (collectively Tecnisol). Tecnisol assets are located over flat land in western Panama with access to one of the highest solar resource-rich areas of the country.|
|Project A||North America||BB-/Stable||250||1||-||Monocrystalline and polycrystalline||-|
|Project G||Chile||BBB-/CW Neg||328||48||-||Photovoltaic||-|
|Project H||Chile||BBB-/Stable||750 (thermal) + 480 (photovoltaic)||1||-||Photovoltaic - monocrystalline||-|
|Project I||Chile||BBB-/Stable||118.6 (solar) +158 (hydro + battery under construction)||9||Photovoltaic|
|Project J||Chile||BBB-/Stable||100||11||Photovoltaic – Bifacial|
|Project K||Chile||BBB-/Stable||80||9||Photovoltaic - Bifacial|
|MW--Megawatts. GW--Gigawatts. SPUR--Standard & Poor's Underlying Ratings. AC--Alternating current. DC--Direct current. PV--Photovoltaic.|
|S&P Global Ratings' portfolio of solar farms: corporate criteria|
|Project||Location||Current rating and outlook||Capacity (MW)||Plant/asset count||Commercial operations date||Panel type||Project summary|
Beijing Energy International Holding Co. Ltd.
|China||BBB+/Stable||5827||128||2013||Photovoltaic||BJEI develops, invests in, operates, and manages power plants and other renewable energy projects. As of the end of 2022, the company owned or invested in 107 solar power plants and 21 wind power plants. These plants had total installed capacity of 4.8 GW and power generation volume of 7,229 gigawatt hours in 2022.|
Greenko Energy Holdings
|India||BB-/Stable||2175||53||2006||Photovoltaic||Greenko operates renewable energy projects across wind, solar, and hydro throughout India. As of March 31, 2022, the company had a total installed capacity of about 5.3 GW.|
Investment Energy Resources Ltd.
|Latin America||BB-/Stable||223 (solar)||14||2004-2020||Photovoltaic||IERL is part of the energy division of Corporación Multinversiones (the CMI group), a family-owned conglomerate founded in 1920. Because of IERL’s significance to the group, we focus our analysis on the company, the main investment of Wind and Solar Holdings, the immediate parent.|
|S&P Global Ratings' portfolio of project finance transactions: wind farms|
|Project||Location||Current rating and outlook||Capacity (MW)||Commercial operations date||Type||Project summary|
Alta Wind Holdings LLC
|California||BBB-/Stable||570||2011||Onshore wind farm||Through its subsidiaries, Alta Wind Holdings LLC owns and operates four wind power projects (Alta Wind Projects II through V) totaling 570 MW in the Tehachapi Pass region of California, about 100 miles north of Los Angeles.|
Caldeirao Grande Energias Renovaveis S.A.
|Brazil||brAA/Stable||189||Mid-2017||Onshore wind farm||The cluster has a total installed capacity of 189 MW, located in northeastern of Brazil (Piaui), distributed through 70 Alstom ECO122 turbines.|
CE Oaxaca Cuatro S. de R.L. de C.V.
|Mexico||BBB/Negative||102||April 8, 2010||Onshore wind farm||CE Oaxaca Cuatro S. de R.L. de C.V. (Oaxaca IV) is a 102 MW wind farm in the isthmus region of Tehuantepec in the state of Oaxaca, 17 kilometers from the Pacific Coast. The wind farm consists of 68 wind turbines.|
CE Oaxaca Dos S. de R.L. de C.V.
|Mexico||BBB/Negative||102||April 8, 2010||Onshore Wind Farm||CE Oaxaca Dos, S. de R.L. de C. V. (Oaxaca II or the project) is a 102 MW wind farm in the isthmus region of Tehuantepec in the state of Oaxaca, 17 kilometers from the Pacific Coast. The wind farm consists of 68 wind turbines.|
Chapada do Piaui I Holding S.A.
|Brazil||brB-/Negative||205||2015||Onshore wind farm||Single wind regime, with seven wind farms in northeastern Brazil (Piaui).|
Continental Wind LLC
|U.S.||BBB/Stable||667||2008-2012||Onshore wind farm||CW is a portfolio of 13 wind power projects with capacity of 667 MW. CW earns cash flow from long-term power purchase agreements and renewable energy credit agreements with utilities, cooperatives, and municipal generators, and from federal production tax credits.|
Desarrollos Eolicos Mexicanos de Oaxaca 1 S.A.P.I. de C.V.
|Mexico||D||90||2012||Onshore wind farm||90MW single wind regime in Oaxaca, Mexico.|
Geradora Eolica Bons Ventos da Serra I S.A.
|Brazil||brA- /Negative||23||2011||Onshore wind farm||23MW single wind regime in northeastern Brazil (Ceara).|
Hallett Hill No 2 Pty Ltd.
|Australia||BBB/Negative||71||2010||Onshore wind farm||HH2 is the owner of the Hallett Hill 2 wind farm, 200 kilometers north of Adelaide in South Australia. The wind farm has a total capacity of 71.4 MW, comprising 34 x 2.1 MW turbines. The wind farm was originally built by AGL Energy Ltd., which sold it in 2008 to Energy Infrastructure Trust, a wholesale unlisted unit trust focused on infrastructure assets.|
Inversiones Latin America Power Limitada
|Chile||CCC-/CW Dvlpg||231||2010-2017||Onshore wind farm||ILAP, a limited-purpose entity, is a single wind regime with two wind farms in Chile and San Juan, and a 184.8 MW facility in Vallenar, Chile (about 650 kilometers north of Santiago). It consists of 56 Vestas V117-3.3 MW wind turbines, which started operating in the first quarter of 2017. Totoral is a 46 MW facility in Canela, Chile (about 300 kilometers north of Santiago) consisting of 23 Vestas V90-2.2 MW wind turbines. It’s been operating since 2010.|
Parque Eolico Kiyu S.A.
|Uruguay||BBB-/Stable||49.2||April 2017||Onshore wind farm||The project consists of 16 Vestas V112 wind turbine generators with a production capacity of 3.075 MW each. Kiyu sells the energy output through a long-term power purchase agreement (PPA) to the state-owned electricity utility. The PPA is for a 24-year period as of the startup of operations at a fixed price. The project also signed an interconnection agreement with UTE and land lease agreements that guarantee the transmission activities and the availability of the area during the notes' term.|
UEP Penonome II S.A.
|Panama||BB/Stable||215||2015||Onshore wind farm||UEP II is situated along the southern shores of Panama to benefit from Caribbean winds. It has 86 turbines (wind turbine generators, WTG) sourced from Goldwind International Holdings (HK) Ltd. (not rated), which also provides a maintenance and service agreement on the WTGs under a five-year agreement, with an extension for three years.|
|Germany||BBB-/Stable||288||2015||Offshore wind farm||WindMW GmbH (the project) owns and operates a 288-megawatt (MW) wind farm that was fully commissioned in February 2015. The plant is in the German North Sea 108 kilometers (km) from the mainland and 23km from its operations and maintenance base on the island of Helgoland, in water depths of 22 to 26 meters. The project is located southwest of a cluster of wind farms, limiting external wake losses given that prevailing winds come from the southwest.|
|Project A||Mexico||BBB-/Stable||306||September 2019||Onshore wind farm||306MW that consists of 85 Vestas V136-3.6 MW turbines.|
|Project B||Chile||BBB-/Stable||609||2011-2020||Onshore wind farm||609MW of renewable portfolio based in Chile. It has a battery plant under construction.|
|MW--Megawatts. Br--Brazil (National Scale Rating).|
|S&P Global Ratings' portfolio of onshore wind farms: corporate criteria|
|Issuer||Location||Current rating and outlook||Capacity (MW)||Initial rating date||Project summary|
China Longyuan Power Group Corp. Ltd.
|China (also in Canada, South Africa, and Ukraine)||A-/Stable||26,699||1993||China Longyuan Power Group Corp. Ltd. Is the largest China-based wind power operator, owning wind and solar power assets across almost all provinces in China, with a small presence in Canada, South Africa, and Ukraine. Its generation capacity sums to 26.7GW, including 23.7GW of wind power, 1.9GW of thermal power and 1.2GW of solar power. The company's strategy is to continue developing wind and solar power, and to maintain its national market share of 7%-8% by installed capacity (for wind power).|
Greenko Energy Holdings
|India||BB-/Stable||3,192||2006||Greenko operates renewable energy projects across wind, solar, and hydro throughout India.|
Hero Asia Investment Ltd.
|Canada, South Africa||BBB+/Stable||344||1993||Hero Asia is a Hong Kong-based offshore investment and financing platform, fully owned by China Longyuan. The company owns and manages 343.6MW of China Longyuan's overseas wind power projects in Canada and South Africa. Hero Asia also co-invested in 6.53GW of Longyuan’s onshore wind power and coal power projects as of Oct. 31, 2022, by holding about 20% equity stakes in those projects.|
Investment Energy Resources Ltd.
|Latin America||BB-/Stable||319 (wind)||2004-2020||IERL is part of the energy division of Corporación Multi Inversiones (the CMI group; not rated), a family-owned conglomerate founded in 1920, which initially operated in the consumer and packaged food industries. Following its expansion into the renewable energy segment, CMI acquired IERL at the end of 2016. We analyze IERL as an independent company in the group structure because it's the main investment of Wind and Solar Holdings (Wind and Solar; not rated), IERL's immediate parent.|
Pattern Energy Operations L.P. (formerly Energy Group Inc.)
|North America||BB-/Stable||5,300||January 2017||Pattern is a privately held independent power producer that owns and operates 25 wind and solar power facilities with a total owned generation capacity of about 5.3 gigawatts (GW). It has facilities in the U.S., Canada, Puerto Rico, Mexico, and Japan.|
Tata Power Co. Ltd.
|India||BB/Stable||1,200||1915||Tata Power is an India-based integrated power company with business diversity in generation, distribution, and transmission. Its generation capacity stands close to 12 gigawatts (GW), with a mix of thermal (including the Mundra plant's 4.2 GW of coal-fired capacity), hydro, wind, and solar power. The company also holds minority stakes in Indonesian coal mines.|
TerraForm Global Inc.
|Global||BB-/Stable||801||2014||GLBL owns and operates contracted clean power generation assets, primarily serving utility, commercial, and residential customers in Brazil, China, India, and Uruguay. As of Dec. 31, 2021, the company’s portfolio had a total capacity of 801 MW. Since 2017, GLBL has been a subsidiary of Brookfield Renewable Partners L.P.|
TerraForm Power Inc.
|North America||BB-/Stable||4,200||2014||TERP is a holding company whose sole asset is an equity interest in TerraForm Power Operating LLC, which owns and operates a portfolio of wind and solar power assets. TERP has a largely contracted solar and wind generation asset portfolio of about 4.2 GW, mainly located in the U.S. and Europe (Spain, Portugal, and the U.K.). Remaining assets are located in Canada, Uruguay, and Chile.|
We continue to see incentives for the development of renewables through various government initiatives and policies globally. In particular, we highlight three specific policies in North America, the European Union, and China.
The Inflation Reduction Act
On Aug. 16, 2022, President Biden signed the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) into law, which represented the largest investment in climate and energy in American history. The bill incentivizes the domestic production of clean energy to support the establishment of domestic clean energy supply chains. We believe the IRA's $370 billion in investments will be a game changer in accelerating investment in clean energy.
Eligible project developers can monetize the full value of the tax credit through a direct payment option for the first five years they are claimed. We believe this will likely spur higher investments in projects because it allows entities to receive a cash refund in the amount of the credit without the need for complex tax equity structuring. The IRA advances the Production Tax Credit (PTC) and Investment Tax Credit (ITC) initiatives to drive the deployment of onshore and offshore wind farms and solar arrays in the U.S. through 2025. Under the PTC, there are tax credits available for the production of battery cells based on capacity up to $35 per kilowatt-hour (kWh) and battery modules based on capacity up to $10 per kWh. We believe the IRA could accelerate the U.S.' transition to greater energy security (see our publication, titled "Inflation Reduction Act Update: Between Cheap, Firm, And Clean Power--Pick Any Two", published Sept. 8, 2022). The green hydrogen PTC could spur the creation of a substantial market for green hydrogen generation by reducing the costs of production by nearly half. Under the IRA, green hydrogen production can benefit from both the green hydrogen PTC and a PTC for solar and wind, which could facilitate the pairing of hydrogen projects with nuclear power stations and make green hydrogen economical a decade earlier than anticipated. The ITC and Clean Electricity ITC offer a 10–percentage point investment credit for qualified solar and wind facilities located in low-energy communities, in addition to the 10-percentage point bonus credit for projects located in an energy community. Additionally, the ITC helps minimize any upfront investment costs for battery energy storage systems or solar PV systems installed during the tax year. These provisions are especially beneficial to high-growth companies, such as NextEra Energy Partners L.P. and AES Corp., who could become even more cost competitive due to the proliferation of installations.
Despite some obstacles, successive EU initiatives--EU Green Deal (2019), Fit for 55 Package (2021), REPowerEU (2022), and the March 2023 proposal--support the acceleration of the bloc's energy transition
The EU's ambitious goal to become the first climate-neutral continent by 2050 has led it to implement a series of policies to reduce its net emissions, as presented under the EU Green Deal in 2019. In 2021, the Fit for 55 package complemented and reinforced the Green Deal with a set of proposals to update the bloc's legislation and implement initiatives to ensure that its policies align with the European Council's and European Parliament's 2030 climate objectives. While the primary goal of the package is to enshrine the reduction of net greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55% by 2030 as a legal obligation for EU countries, the successful implementation of the package will also contribute to the achievement of a related EU climate policy, REPowerEU, which--in many ways--represents an acceleration of Fit for 55. Decided in May 2022, against the backdrop of Russia-Ukraine conflict, REPowerEU lays out additional objectives to phase out the EU's dependence on Russian supplies of crude oil, oil products, and natural gas by 2027 at the latest. On March 30, 2023, the European Parliament and the European Commission reached a provisional agreement for a minimum renewable energy target of 42.5% by 2030 (instead of the previous 32% target). Although short of the initially envisaged 45% level, which--in our view--would be very challenging to achieve, this agreement combines with other policies (including producing 10 million tons of green hydrogen annually by 2030 and the expansion of the GHG emission-reduction goal under the EU Emissions Trading System (ETS) to 62% from 43%) to demonstrate the bloc's strong commitment to meeting its climate goals and accelerating its transition to greener energy sources.
While the shift to greener technologies for power generation has provoked greater investment in renewable energy sources, obstacles remain. As in many other regions, European newbuild renewable projects have faced rising costs amid high inflation and supply chain disruptions. In addition, delays in permitting and grid connections have slowed the deployment of renewable capacity deployment. Higher costs for wind turbines and solar equipment are also increasingly pressuring their profitability, which could limit the growth of the wind and solar sectors. The European Commission believes that it can facilitate the addition of renewable capacity with market-based solutions. In particular, it favors combining long-term power purchase agreements (PPAs) at market prices with two-way contracts for difference (see "EU's Proposed Energy Market Redesign Mitigates Merchant Risks And Accelerates Renewables," published April 3, 2023). The latter, which already exist in several member states and prominently support the U.K.'s offshore deployments, would guarantee a minimum return to promote private investment in renewables while, during price spikes, providing governments with excess funds they would be obliged to return to power consumers. By mitigating these challenges and aiming to improve the visibility of their revenues, the measures put forward by the EU will likely support the creditworthiness of renewable assets and their expansion plans, thus ensuring a smoother energy transition over the medium and long term.
China's fourteenth five-year plan
China accounts for nearly half of the new installed global renewable power capacity we forecast over the next five years. We anticipate the rising capital expenditure at these solar and wind electricity producers will increase their debt levels. China is planning to add at least 1,200 gigawatts of combined wind and solar generation capacity by 2030 (i.e. a nearly 60% rise relative to 2022 over the following eight years) and intends to generate 25% of its primary energy consumption from non-fossil fuel-based sources by 2030. Based on expected average annual growth of about 5%, China would consume 9,500 terawatt-hours of electricity in 2025, of which it would derive about 17% from solar and wind sources per the plan (compared with 13.8% in 2022).
Despite the persistently high spending for capacity additions, declining project construction costs and the recovery in power consumption amid the waning headwinds from the coronavirus pandemic will help support the profitability of solar and wind players in China. Their investment return will likely also remain resilient. Enhanced utilization hours, with less curtailment, and growing market-based trading will also help underpin their earnings, even for grid-parity projects. Moreover, the central government's intention to accelerate the settlement of outstanding renewables tariff subsidies and green-power trading are favorable developments.
China will likely achieve its 2030 renewables targets by 2025, based on the rapid development of its wind and solar generation. Per the country's fourteenth five-year plan (2021-2025) issued June 2022, renewable electricity production (including hydropower) will account for more than 50% of its total electricity consumption in 2025 as it doubles its solar and wind electricity generation capacity relative to 2020. The vast majority of this incremental gross renewable capacity will come from renewable energy mega bases designed to build utility-scale projects in China's northern and western desert areas. The country's transformation to a modern energy system will also entail high spending for grid expansions, including ultra-high voltage, and storage facilities. This will enhance the readiness of China's power system to accommodate the rising volume of intermittent energy and improve cross-regional transmission.
- China's Renewable Developers Can Tackle Spiraling Debt And Capex, April 18, 2023
- EU's Proposed Energy Market Redesign Mitigates Merchant Risks And Accelerates Renewables, April 3, 2023
- Renewable Energy In Spain: Government Has Yet To Finalize Regulatory Subsidies, April 3, 2023
- Asia-Pacific's Different Pathways To Energy Transition, March 29, 2023
- U.S. Inflation Reduction Act Highlights Diverging Approaches With Europe, March 1, 2023
- Gulf Nations Invest To Accelerate Deployment Of Renewable Energy, Feb. 27, 2023
- Various Rating Actions Taken On Eight Spanish Renewables Projects On Expected Subsidy Reductions, Sept. 30, 2022
- Inflation Reduction Act Update: Between Cheap, Firm, And Clean Power--Pick Any Two, Sept. 8, 2022
- Sector Review: India Renewables: Growth Trumps Deleveraging, April 18, 2022
This report does not constitute a rating action.
|Primary Credit Analysts:||Trevor J D'Olier-Lees, New York + 1 (212) 438 7985;|
|Olyvia Gendron, New York;|
|Krista Sillaste, New York +44 2071760841;|
|Gonzalo Cantabrana Fernandez, Madrid + 34 91 389 6955;|
|Julyana Yokota, Sao Paulo + 55 11 3039 9731;|
|Laura C Li, CFA, Hong Kong + 852 2533 3583;|
|Abhishek Dangra, FRM, Singapore + 65 6216 1121;|
|Secondary Contacts:||Vivian Chen, New York +1 2124381897;|
|Emmanuel Dubois-Pelerin, Paris + 33 14 420 6673;|
|Richard Timbs, Sydney + 61 2 9255 9824;|
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