US: Duke issues $1 billion in inaugural green bond offerings

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From pv magazine USA

U.S.-based Duke Energy Carolinas has upped its financial commitment to renewable energy development, issuing an inaugural investment of US$1 billion in green bonds.

Duke’s issuance is being touted by the company as “one of the largest green bond transactions issued by a utility,” according to the release announcing the investment. The bonds will hold a weighted average coupon of 3.74% between the three-year and 10-year maturities. The transaction closed on November 8 after being priced on November 5, and Duke says that it will “ensure the company’s renewable energy projects continue to be financed on attractive terms to serve Carolinas customers.”

This issuance by Duke came just under a week after Dominion Energy of Virginia closed on its inaugural offering of $362 million in green bonds on November 5. Additionally, in the last six months, DTE Electric in Michigan priced $525 million in green bonds and Credit Suisse launched a 500 million euro green bond issue for American solar development and construction.

Duke Energy Carolinas appears confident that this will further the company’s aggressive forecasted development of utility-scale solar. The company currently boasts 650 MW of built or purchased solar capacity, projecting an additional 1,800 MW over the next five years.

However, it also comes as Duke is asking for the highest fixed charges on its residential customers in South Carolina of any investor-owned utility to date, and the company’s proposed charges of $28-$29 are expected to substantially undermine the economics of rooftop solar in its service area.

By Tim Sylvia