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US Solar names potential new manager

US Solar Fund

The board of US Solar Fund (USF) has today announced its preferred candidate to replace New Energy Solar Manager, USF’s outgoing investment manager, proposing Amber Infrastructure Group as its successor. The selection of USF’s new manager will still require shareholder approval, with consultations expected to be announced shortly.

Amber is a specialist international infrastructure investment manager with approximately £5bn of funds under management, including a track record built over the past 15 years in UK investment company management. Supported by its affiliate Hunt Companies, Amber’s US team is headquartered in New York with offices throughout the US and has collectively been responsible for over 3GW of US solar projects including acquisitions, greenfield development, asset management, and divestments. This includes the asset management of large-scale commercial rooftop arrays, utility-scale installations, and co-located battery storage projects.

UK investors will best know Amber from its management of the £3bn International Public Partnerships trust, a member of the AIC infrastructure sector.

[QD comment: It seems that US Solar’s board played it safe, picking a reputable and experienced infrastructure manager in Amber, a good outcome for investors. One would hope that the trust’s excessive discount will narrow, now that the uncertainty around the manager has been removed. Ideally, this would narrow to such an extent that the fund could issue new shares and grow, but this could take some time and doesn’t seem likely in the near term (as the prevailing macroeconomic policy and broader market sentiment seem to be working against USF and the wider sector for that matter). USF would certainly benefit from the additional scale and there is without doubt a huge opportunity to grow the renewables space in the US. However, this is unlikely to be straight forward as the structural issues pervading the renewable sector still prevail, and a simple change in manager may not be sufficient to overcome these. Nonetheless, with the transformative public policy in the US providing a significant tailwind to the renewables sector, the prospects for the US renewable sector may have never been better, even if this isn’t fully reflected in USF’s discount.]

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