The Dh3.2-billion Noor Abu Dhabi solar plant 01
The Dh3.2b Noor Abu Dhabi solar plant located at Sweihan is a joint venture between the Abu Dhabi Government and a consortium of Japan’s Marubeni Corp and China’s Jinko Solar Holding. Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: The Abu Dhabi utility giant TAQA in alliance with Emirates Water and Electricity Co. (EWEC) has set the pricing for its Dh2.6 billion ($700 million) ‘green bond’ from its solar power operator Sweihan PV Power Company. The $700 million placement is the largest green bond issued in the region to date.

The bond will refinance existing debt on Sweihan’s books. Issued at a 3.625 per cent coupon rate, the green bond will mature on January 31, 2049. The bonds are expected to receive BBB+/Baa1 ratings from S&P and Moody’s, and were 1.8 times oversubscribed with local, regional and international investors placing total orders of $1.26 billion.

Green bonds relate to debt instruments issued with specific sustainable or climate change project targets. Sweihan PV Power is the project company incorporated to build, own and operate Noor Abu Dhabi, the world’s largest single-site solar project currently in operation.

Stakeholder gains
The green bond transaction generates "significant value" for shareholders of Sweihan PV Power Co. and for EWEC as procurer through an extension to the debt maturity by five years. This comes on the back of a 5-year Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) extension to 2049, which was secured with the support of the Abu Dhabi Government.

Following presentation of its 'Green Bond Framework', the SPPC’s bonds were certified under the International Capital Markets Association standards. This ensures the project meets the requirements of the Green Bond Principles.

Proceeds of the bonds will be used primarily to refinance loans arranged in 2017 for the construction, operation and maintenance of Noor Abu Dhabi.

“Noor Abu Dhabi has helped set the benchmark for the UAE’s ambitions to build a green economy," said Abdulla Al Kayoumi, CEO of Sweihan PV Power Company. "Issuing the first long-term green bond in Abu Dhabi to refinance the project speaks to our ability to deliver renewable energy competitively and reliably and is a testament to our commitment to the economic growth and sustainable development of Abu Dhabi.”

Over the next 10 years, we will continue to deliver on our objectives for sustainable growth and returns with a steadfast commitment to ESG to become the recognized low carbon power and water champion of Abu Dhabi

- Jasim Husain Thabet, Group CEO and Managing Director of TAQA