PGGM plugs €200m into SolarCity

The Dutch pension manager says investing in the US’s largest rooftop solar provider will give it access to a 275MW portfolio and put it in ‘virtual contact’ with 38,000 households.

PGGM has acquired a stake in SolarCity, a company owned by South African-born business magnate Elon Musk that is also the US’s largest rooftop solar provider.

The €205 billion Dutch pension manager did not disclose the amount of its investment, but a PGGM spokesperson said the deal’s value stood at the low end of its usual €200-€500 million range.

The institution is investing on behalf of several clients including Pensioenfonds Zorg en Welzijn, the Netherlands’ €187 billion pension for the healthcare sector. These are set to receive stable income from the stake for at least 20 years, said Erik van de Brake, PGGM’s head of infrastructure.

“This return comes from the regular payments by American homeowners for the use of the solar panels installed for them by SolarCity,” he added. “This transaction means that PGGM infrastructure investments now cover almost the entire spectrum of current sustainable energy production and consumption.”

SolarCity is PGGM’s first investment in decentralised power generation assets, after the institution backed wind farms and solar parks in recent years. It had initiated this direct investment strategy by deploying capital in Walney, a 367MW offshore wind farm in the Irish Sea.

PGGM has also invested in heating company Ennatuurlijk finances, as well as several smart meter businesses.