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CEO Spotlights: Inspiring Change from the Top Down

Responsible CEO of the Year: ESG Leadership

Autumn 2019

From CR Magazine

Jeff Eckel launched his personal and professional mission more than 35 years ago. He had read the 1971 book by Frances Moore Lappé, A Diet for a Small Planet, which in part resonated with Eckel for its description of the global meat industry as a major contributor to food scarcity worldwide. What struck Eckel most about Lappé’s book, however, was its point that the food industry was highly inefficient.

“I’ve since done business all over the world, and that notion of efficiency has never left me,” Eckel told CR Magazine.

Eckel has been eating a sustainable diet ever since, part of his lifelong commitment to the environment that also includes working to eliminate emissions by implementing technology and business innovations within the power generation sector.

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"EARTH" with John Holden Explores How Hannon Armstrong is Investing in Climate Solutions

Originally aired September 29, 2019 on Fox Business Network

Based in Annapolis, Maryland, Hannon Armstrong is the first U.S. public company solely dedicated to investments that reduce carbon emission or increase resilience to climate change. They have been in business for more than 35 years and publicly traded for the last six. Hannon Armstrong invests in climate change solutions by funding projects to make buildings more energy efficient, and wind and solar projects to power American homes and businesses free from carbon emissions…

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Beyond Climate Week: Why Environmental Literacy Matters to Your Company

Hannon Armstrong has emerged as a climate action leader in the U.S. business community is because of its laser focus what it describes as “environmental literacy.”

September 25, 2019

From Triple Pundit – By Leon Kaye

With Climate Week in full swing, companies are stepping over themselves to prove they have the climate action chops needed to help the world avoid catastrophe. But while many corporations mostly talk about goals and aspirations, a company based in Annapolis, Maryland stands tall with its actions and performance. And a key reason why Hannon Armstrong has emerged as a climate action leader in the U.S. business community is because of its laser focus what it describes as “environmental literacy.”

Hannon Armstrong is the first U.S.-based public company with a business model centered around investing in projects that either reduce carbon emissions or bolster resilience to climate change. The company has grown largely by offering capital to companies in the renewables, energy efficiency and sustainable infrastructure industries.

An environmentally and economically strong business model

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Solar Investing Across All Market Segments: An Interview with Marc Pangburn of Hannon Armstrong

In this interview Marc Pangburn, managing director and private investment team lead at Hannon Armstrong, talks about the unusual breadth of his company’s participation in renewable energy and energy efficiency finance – as well as some of its unique advantages.

June 26, 2019

From PV Magazine – By Christian Roselund

pv magazine: So, for our readers, can you give me an overview of Hannon Armstrong’s participation in the renewable energy, energy storage, and energy efficiency spaces, and what it is that you do?

Marc Pangburn: Hannon Armstrong has been in business for 38 years, and we went public six years ago. We focus on three asset classes: behind-the-meter, grid-connected, and other sustainable infrastructure investments. Those are primarily composed of energy efficiency, renewables and resiliency plays, including water and transmission lines. We are a financial investor with two core aspects to our strategy I would highlight for your readers. One is that we invest in climate change solutions – and we’re proud to be the first U.S. public company solely dedicated to this kind of investment approach. Every investment we make has some sort of carbon offset, sustainability, or resiliency play.

The second is that we have a vendor finance model. I always like to tell people we seek partners, not projects. We build relationships with top-tier clients and then provide any sort of financial products they need within our mandate. That could be common equity, preferred equity, senior debt, subordinated debt, or even somewhat esoteric products like our land investments. We’ve been successful because we’ve been able to establish trusted and programmatic relationships with the premier renewable energy developers and engineering companies, helping them grow and allowing us to earn more of business over time. That approach provides the scale and higher-quality investments for our clients as well as our shareholders.

The press release we issued at ACORE REFF-Wall Street about a follow-on investment with SunPower is an excellent example of our partners, not projects approach. We initiated a relationship with SunPower five and a half years ago, and since then have funded a range of diverse projects under all of their major business lines and employing varied financial products. That culminated in the creation of a joint venture called Sunstrong that occurred in the fourth quarter of last year. And then we have been expanding that joint venture through financing both their projects and third-party investments as well.

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Renewable Energy Sector Hails New York State's New Climate Plan

June 20, 2019

From Reuters – By Dave Gregorio

Investors, developers and users of renewable energy at an industry conference in New York this week were buzzing about the state’s ambitious plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to zero by 2050. “New York is leading a path forward with public policy that signals to the capital markets and developers to deploy projects to achieve its ambitious goals,” Susan Nickey, managing director at Hannon Armstrong Sustainable Infrastructure Capital Inc, said on Wednesday. New York state lawmakers passed the legislation early Thursday morning.

If Governor Andrew Cuomo signs the bill into law as expected, New York would become the second U.S. state to aim for a carbon-neutral economy. California Governor Jerry Brown signed an executive order last year to make that state carbon-neutral by 2045.

“It’s great to have California and New York competing to see who can cut the most carbon,” said Gregory Wetstone, president and chief executive officer of the American Council on Renewable Energy, sponsor of the REFF-Wall Street conference in Manhattan.

Wetstone, whose group includes investors, developers and other professionals involved in renewable energy, noted that New York and California are the two most populous U.S. states, “and that matters. The grid will be changing more quickly and that’s exciting.”

The plan “creates new opportunities for investors in renewable energy that is grid connected but especially ‘behind-the-meter’ solutions like green roofs, distributed solar, advanced lighting and controls, onsite storage and battery storage projects,” said Nickey, whose company invests about $1 billion a year in the sector.

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Hannon Armstrong CEO: It's Time We Price Carbon. It's Never Been Done

Hannon Armstrong CEO Jeff Eckel tells Jim Cramer it’s time that companies “privatize the cost of the impacts of carbon.”

April 9, 2019

From CNBC’s Mad Money with Jim Cramer

Hannon Armstrong Sustainable Infrastructure Capital is a real estate investment trust that dedicates its money to fighting climate change, one of the biggest political topics today.

Responding to a question about the Green New Deal championed by New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and fellow Democrats, CEO Jeff Eckel told Cramer he’s pleased that discussion about climate change has picked back up since the President Donald Trump pulled the United States from the Paris Climate Accord nearly two years ago.

“I’ve been a student of public energy policy for 40 years and I think it’s time we did the one thing we’ve never done, which is price carbon,” Eckel said. “Don’t let the government get it, get the money back to citizens, but start to capture the—start to internalize the socialized cost that fossil fuel interests are spreading out to everybody through climate change and other problems and internalize it. Let them privatize the cost of the impacts of carbon.”

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Hannon Armstrong CEO on Growth in Sustainable Investing

Jeff Eckel, CEO of Hannon Armstrong, joined Cheddar to discuss how investors can embrace climate change solutions without sacrificing returns.

February 26, 2019

From Cheddar Media

Sustainable investing is on the rise as investors seek opportunities to boost both the environment and their bank accounts. The value of ESG funds totaled $12 trillion at the beginning of 2018, more than a quarter of professionally managed assets in the U.S., according to the U.S. SIF Foundation.

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Climate Change Pushes Companies to Buy Renewables

Corporate buyers are leading the growth in spending on wind and solar, analysts say, and touting green credentials in marketing.

January 30, 2019

From The Wall Street Journal – By Timothy Puko

Corporations are fueling record investment in U.S. wind and solar power, seizing an
opportunity to show consumers their environmental stripes while also taking advantage of plunging costs and favorable tax breaks.

Spending on wind and solar grew 13% in 2018 from the year before, rising above $16 billion, according to consulting firm Wood Mackenzie. It expects growth will more than double in 2019.
Corporate buyers are leading that growth, analysts say, and are also touting their support of alternative energy in marketing campaigns.

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What the Climate Change Report Means for Investors, According to Hannon Armstrong CEO Jeff Eckel

November 28, 2018

From Barron’s – By Leslie P. Norton

The alarming government report on the impact of climate change will raise the profile of a number of companies engaged in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, including Hannon Armstrong Sustainable Infrastructure Capital (ticker: HASI). Hannon invests in sustainable infrastructure, measuring and tracking greenhouse gas emissions and investing only when emissions are neutral to negative.

“They are superb in attacking a large and growing industry with a terrific niche,” said Shawn Kravetz of Esplanade Capital, a Hannon investor.

Barron’s checked in with Jeff Eckel, Hannon’s CEO since 2000, about what the report means for investors and for his company. Here’s what he said.

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Sustainable Energy Investor Hannon Armstrong: ‘The Equity Tide Is Coming In Our Direction’

Oct 9, 2018

From Forbes – Peter Kelly-Detwiler, Contributor

The last decade has seen the sustainable energy industry make significant strides in the United States and across the globe. Supply chains for technologies such as LED lighting, solar panels, and batteries have become far more efficient, and costs have fallen dramatically with developing economies of scale. This, in turn, is a function of increased financial flows moving into the space and driving more projects.

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Eckel on Investing in Sustainable Energy

Aug 2, 2018

Bloomberg Radio – Paul Brennan

Jeff Eckel, CEO of Hannon Armstrong, on investing in sustainable infrastructure projects. He speaks on Bloomberg Markets with Pimm Fox and Bob Ivry.

Running time 07:36

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Too Small to Move the Needle? Not So Fast, Managers Argue

Jul 30, 2018

Institutional Investor – Julie Segal

As infrastructure projects get smaller and localized, asset managers are securitizing and bundling their way into major institutions’ portfolios.

Infrastructure projects are downsizing in scale, leading boutique managers to create alternative financing options and to bundle projects into funds.

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Hannon Armstrong Shows Growth in Going Green

Jul 16, 2018

REIT Magazine – Poonkulali Thangavelu

Climate change is one of the defining issues of the day, and that means ample growth opportunities lie ahead by enabling the world to go green, says Jeffrey Eckel, president and CEO of Hannon Armstrong Sustainable Infrastructure Capital.

Hannon Armstrong provides financing to the sustainable infrastructure markets. The firm’s financing enables projects that help cut down on greenhouse gas emissions. Hannon Armstrong also sees investment and services opportunities in infrastructure assets that help manage and mitigate the impact of climate change.

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Lending Competition Spurs Green Financing Mart

Jun 7, 2018

Real Estate Finance & Investment – Sondra Campanelli

Driven by a competitive lending environment, commercial real estate financiers are starting to provide energy efficiency financings in order to…

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Clean Energy Requires New Financing Models: Q&A with Hannon Armstrong CEO Jeff Eckel

May 9, 2018

Bloomberg Sustainable Finance Brief

Financing the clean energy economy requires new models and there aren’t a lot of companies that have stepped up to do it yet, according to Jeffrey Eckel, CEO of Hannon Armstrong, a renewable energy financing company. He spoke to Emily Chasan and Brian Eckhouse about how the industry can scale up. Comments have been edited and condensed.

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