NextEra Energy Partners reaches 1.6 GW of contracted solar PV assets


As part of U.S. power company NextEra’s quarterly result call, this morning yieldco NextEra Energy Partners revealed details of its current activities, including its plans for acquisition of solar PV plants through the end of 2018.

According to general accounting principles, NextEra Energy Partners’ net income fell 20% year-over-year to US$224 million in Q1, but it also gained $55 million from new projects which have come online. The yieldco has reported $38 million of cash available for distribution (CAFD) after debt service, and is planning a quarterly distribution of $0.319 per common unit in May.

?The level of the company’s dividends has increased roughly 55% year-over-year. This is in line with the growth of NextEra Energy Partners’ assets, which are mostly wind plants and have roughly doubled since the company was launched in 2014.

But it is the company’s acquisitions scheduled for this year which are particularly notable. In addition to 2.67 GW of wind, the yieldco is contracted to acquire 1.348 GW of solar PV in 2015 and 2016, with the large majority holding 2016 COD dates.

This includes shares of some of the largest solar plants in operation, such as 250 MW of the massive McCoy solar project in Southern California and another 250 MW in Nevada’s Silver State South.

It also includes projects in the U.S. South, where large-scale solar development is still its early stages. NextEra is slated to acquire a 229 MW from a project identified as “Georgia Solar” in the state of the same name, and the 75 MW River Bend Solar Project in Alabama.

Post-2016, the company has 256 MW of solar contracted but not announced. Overall, in the 2017-2018 timeframe NextEra Energy Partners plans to acquire another 400-1,300 MW of solar projects, which could bring it to 2.6 GW of solar by the end of 2018.

In the call, NextEra cited a number of factors in its acquisitions. While the company holds substantial conventional and nuclear power assets, it states that it believes that renewable energy will be the primary beneficiary of the shift away from coal.

The company cited the increasing economic competitiveness of renewable energy, particularly with the extension of the Investment Tax Credit for solar and the Investment Tax Credit for wind. However, it also notes that renewables are helping the utilities it provides power to meet state and federal mandates, including state-level renewable energy mandates in 29 states.

NextEra says that the trend is for these mandates to increase in intensity in certain states, but that this is part of bigger trends. "Despite the stay of the Clean Power Plan, we continue to think that the regulatory trend will be towards more renewable energy,” noted the company.

NextEra Energy Partners expects a 12-15% annual growth in distributions through 2020.