First Solar Bonds Financing $4.6 Billion U.S. Panel Boom

Bloomberg. By Andrew Herndon. Underwriters from Bank of America Corp. (BAC) to Credit Suisse AG and Citigroup Inc. (C) for the first time are close to converting sunlight into cash to pay bond investors. Similar to asset-backed securities that finance everything from car purchases to college tuition, solar bonds will help fund rooftop power projects that Bloomberg New Energy Finance estimates will need to raise about $4.6 billion next year.

U.S. solar installations, including rooftop and utility- scale projects, may jump at least 75 percent to exceed 3,200 megawatts this year, enough to supply about 700,000 California homes, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association trade group. Developers are seeking new sources of funding after a U.S. tax incentive expired last year. They may have to pay higher interest rates than more established asset-backed bonds to attract investors.