Quebec-based pension fund La Caisse makes another solar investment

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Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (CDPQ) and solar developer Lightsource BP, which is majority owned by British Petroleum (BP), have announced a joint debt investment of £150 million ($194.4 million) to finance Lightsource BP’s solar portfolio.

CDPQ, Canada’s second-largest pension fund, said the sum will initially be used to finance a portfolio of over 100 solar energy assets located across several countries, with an aggregate capacity of around 700 MW. It said it may also make additional investments in Lightsource BP’s pipeline.

“This transaction is perfectly aligned with CDPQ’s willingness to participate in the energy transition, primarily by investing in low-carbon assets, as we have just increased our investment target for these assets by 2020,” said Marc Cormier, CDPQ’s executive vice-president, fixed income.

The Quebec-based pension fund, known in English-language media as La Caisse, acquired a 20% stake in Indian solar company Azure Power for $75 million in January 2017. In addition, it agreed to provide U.S. solar installer Sunrun with $40 million in November 2017, just months after providing Canadian rooftop solar specialist Potentia Renewables with $83 million.

In May 2018, CDPQ took a majority stake in U.S.-based Invenergy Renewables. Last October, it also increased its stake in Azure Power to 40% through a $100 million contribution to the company’s recent capital raising.

In March of this year, La Caisse said it had raised its 2020 target for low-carbon assets under management from $26 billion to $32 billion. The company described the target as part of its strategy to address climate change and capture opportunities from the transition to a low-carbon economy.