IMPACTASSETS 50™

An Annual Showcase of Impact Investment Fund Managers

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An Annual Showcase of Impact Investment Fund Managers

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ImpactAssets 50: A Global Landscape of Impact Investment Fund Managers
The ImpactAssets 50 (IA 50) is the first open-source, publicly published database of experienced private debt and equity impact investment fund managers.
https://www.impactassets.org/impactassets-50

ImpactAssets 50

An Annual Showcase of Impact Investment Fund Managers

IA 50 2023 PROFILE

Greenbacker Renewable Energy
Company LLC

Total Assets Under Management: $1B or more
Asset Class: Private Equity
Primary UN Sustainable Development Goal: 7 – Affordable & Clean Energy
Clean Technology, Alternative Energy & Climate Change
Natural Resources and Conservation
Job creation and workforce development

Firm Overview

Category: Real Assets - Infrastructure

Greenbacker Renewable Energy Company is an independent power producer (IPP) and a leading climate-focused investment manager (IM), bringing clean energy opportunities to market so that individual investors can participate in the energy transition. Greenbacker’s IPP business segment acquires, owns, and operates a fleet of over 450 income-producing clean energy infrastructure assets diversified across size and power source (e.g., solar, wind, energy storage) in communities across the country. These projects sell power under long-term contracts to high-credit-quality counterparties, including utilities, municipalities, and corporations. Within Greenbacker’s IM business segment, Greenbacker Capital Management (GCM) provides fund formation, capital raising, asset acquisition, financing, consulting, and development capabilities, and is registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission as an investment adviser. As of 2023, GCM serves as the registered investment adviser to five climate-focused funds, including Greenbacker Development Opportunities Fund I, LP, which provides growth capital and best-in-class guidance for growth-stage clean energy companies.

Firm Headquarters: US & Canada
Years of Operation: 10 years or more
Total Assets Under Management:
$1B or more
Total Number of Investors: More than 25
% of Capital from Top 3 Investors: Less than 25%
Investment Thesis:

Greenbacker invests in and operates a portfolio of income-producing renewables and energy transition infrastructure assets and also manages a number of climate-focused investments funds, leading the transition to a clean energy economy.

Investment Overview:

Greenbacker's objective is to generate attractive risk-adjusted returns consisting of both income and long-term capital appreciation by acquiring, financing, and investing in renewable energy infrastructure projects and other sustainable infrastructure businesses. As an independent power producer (IPP) and investment management business, we function as both long-term owner/operators of our renewable energy assets and financial asset managers of our investments. Our goal is to make direct investments into real assets, specifically sustainability-focused assets and companies, and provide an avenue for investors to access these clean energy businesses that would otherwise only be available at an institutional scale. We pair our best-in-class investment skillset with our world-class technical asset management to ensure that we’re not only investing in the best possible assets but that we then operating them to the highest possible standard and, in turn, produce the greatest amount of renewable energy to power a sustainable future.

Company Differentiator:

1) Greenbacker invests in assets that are small and medium in size, as we believe that US power generation and consumption will continue to move toward a distributed generation model, rather than remaining reliant on singular monolithic power plants that are located far from the end consumer. This greatly cuts our competition. Further, most of our deals are repeat bi-lateral transactions and we have worked with some developers for a number of years, which results in a natural and larger pipeline.

2) Greenbacker’s in-house team of engineers and technical asset management staff provide unique and integral expertise to our origination and ongoing asset management, as well as significant cost savings compared with third-party vendors. This team is involved in the due diligence process and allows our deal team to evaluate a larger pool of deals. This team also provides world-class asset management, monitoring our sites and keeping the fleet performing to a top-tier standard.

Investment Example

Turquoise Solar is a 61 MW ground mounted solar site located in Nevada. Greenbacker acquired this asset in March of 2019 as a pre-operational, shovel ready, asset. Our technical asset management (TAM) team worked with the developer to bring the site online in December 2020. Turquoise Solar sells power to one of Apple's data centers and has a 25 year contract. This asset is a great example of the influence our TAM team has on origination and management of the portfolio. Much of the turquoise project is located on rocky desert terrain with steep slopes. Our team worked with the EPC contractor and design and engineer the site. They determined that it would be safest and most efficient to use a fixed racking system that has ground screw foundations that drill into the difficult terrain. This asset has produced more than forecasted since being turned on. 

Leadership and Team

Cumulative Leadership Experience in Impact Investing:
30 years or more
Cumulative Impact Experience of Top Three Firm Leaders:
30 years or more
David Sher – Co-CEO More Info

David oversees all strategic business development efforts as President of Greenbacker Capital Management. Prior to co-founding the firm in 2011, he was a senior adviser at Prospect Capital, a leading publicly traded business development company. He has been a serial entrepreneur in the financial services industry, having co-founded ESP Technologies—a leading provider of financial software and services to institutional asset managers and hedge funds—as well as two other companies, ElephantX dot com and Lafayette Capital Management. He also worked at Bear Sterns, developing trading strategies for institutional and brokerage correspondent clearing customers. David graduated from Rutgers University with a BA in Political Science and received his MIA from the School of International Public Affairs at Columbia University.

Charles Wheeler – Co-CEO More Info

Charles oversees all strategic business development efforts as CEO of Greenbacker Renewable Energy Company. Prior to joining the company in 2011, he held various senior positions in his 24-year career with Macquarie Group, including Head of Renewables for North America. In that role, he evaluated a wide variety of renewable energy companies and projects across the US in the wind, solar, geothermal, waste-to-energy, and biomass spaces. Before moving to the US in 2007, Charles was a Director in the Financial Products Group in Australia, responsible for the development, distribution, and management of a wide variety of retail financial products. Charles graduated from Sydney University with a Bachelor of Economics and is a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Australia.

Matt Murphy – COO More Info

Matt is the firm’s Chief Operations Officer, overseeing operation and maintenance, fleet performance, and technical due diligence on transactions. He joined the firm in 2016, coming from Borrego Solar, where he served as Director of O&M. In this position, he oversaw a 500-megawatt fleet of solar power plants across 11 states, managed a national O&M team, and was responsible for the highest level of escalation in the department. Prior to that, he worked at the electrical contracting company Peck Electric, where he was instrumental in creating and running Peck’s solar photovoltaics (PV) division. While there, Matt oversaw the design, developments, construction, and maintenance of solar PV capacity totaling over 5 megawatts. Matt also has five years of experience teaching PV construction and troubleshooting to electricians in several states and is certified by the North American Board of Certified Energy.

Percentage of Investment Professionals who identify as women:
25% to less than 50%
Percentage of Investment Professionals who identify as people of color:*
25% to less than 50%
Percentage of Senior Management Team who identify as women:
25% to less than 50%
Percentage of Senior Management Team who identify as people of color:*
25% to less than 50%
*People of color include: Black, Latinx, Asian, Native American/Alaskan Native, Pacific Islander, Middle Easterm and multi-racial Americans

Financial Performance

Target Financial Returns Relative to Benchmark:
Market Rates
Actual Performance of Impact Products/Funds Relative to Target Financial Returns in the Past Three Years:
In line with initial target returns
Financial Reporting Frequency to Investors or Donors
Quarterly

Impact Performance

Percentage of Total Assets Under
Management that are Impact Investments:
100%
Primary Impact Outcomes:
Addressing climate change and environmental issues
Secondary Impact Outcomes:
Creating jobs
Value-added Services Offered:
None

Investments systematically target companies where social and/or environmental impact is integral to the product/service being created:

Greenbacker only invests in renewable energy project companies and sustainable infrastructure development companies. As a result, environmental impact is core to the business model of all target investment assets and companies. 

Investments systematically include social and environmental sustainability practices in the due diligence process:

When making investments into renewable energy project companies there is no intrafirm consideration to take place. However, when our private equity structure invests in sustainable developers, the deal seeks to ensure that all portfolio companies comply with all applicable environmental, social, and governance requirements laid out in that fund's ESG policy. DEI is also strongly considered and promoted among portfolio companies. Fair compensation is important to GDEV and the team requires management and employee incentive plans in all equity investments. 

Impact Tracking and Monitoring

Impact is Tracked:
Yes
Impact Verified by an Independent Third-Party:
No
Social and/or Environmental Impact is Reported to Investors and Donors:
Yes – to the public
Third Party Validations:
Member of Impact Capital Managers
Impact Frontiers Cohort Participant
Implement recommendations from Task Force on Climate Related-Financial Disclosure
Net Zero Assets Managers Initiative
Utilizes standardized impact metrics (e.g. IRIS+, GIIRS, etc.)
Participant on steering committees or leadership roles within impact industry associations
Publisher or contributor to industry white paper or other research in impact investing
None

Learn More

Key Contact Name: Corey Brennan
Phone: 914-708-7024
Mailing Address:

230 Park Ave., New York, NY 10169 USA

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