Top Public Pension Funds Shun Solar Stocks

April 30th, 2009
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A recent Public Pension Fund Study has revealed that top funds have limited exposure to leading US-listed Solar companies. While US politicians have been touting a clean-energy future, very little public pension investment dollars are being funneled into the most promising solar companies. Overall, the 11 pension funds reviewed by the study managed $227,226 million in US equities and only held a paltry $182 million in the Solar Sector as of 12/31/08.

The majority of the assets, over $121 million, were held in First Solar Inc (FSLR), the largest US-listed Solar company by market capitalization. The only other companies with top pensions as investors included SunPower Corp (SPWRA) with $47.2 million, Energy Conversion Devices (ENER) with $10.3 million, Evergreen Solar Inc. (ESLR) with $2.3 million and Suntech Power (STP) with $1.3 million. The New York State and Local Retirement Systems had previously held approximately $1 million each in Trina Solar Ltd. (TSL) and LDK Solar Co. Ltd (LDK), but liquidated those positions over the 4th Quarter of 2008. The other four solar companies that had no top pension investors were all foreign small-cap companies with US-listings. These included Canadian Solar Inc (CSIQ), Solarfun Power Holdings Co (SOLF), Yingli Green Energy Holding (YGE) and JA Solar Holdings Co. (JASO).

The top solar investors were CalPERS (Total of $51mn in FSLR, SPWR, ENER, & ESLR), State Teachers Retirement System of Ohio (Total of $30mn in FSLR, ENER, & ESLR), the Teacher Retirement System of Texas (Total of $24mn in FSLR & SPRWA), and Florida State Board of Administration (Total of $23mn in FSLR, SPRWA & ENER). Notably, the New York State Teachers\' Retirement System was the only pension fund that had no exposure to any of the solar companies in the study.

The analysis looked at 11 pension funds from some of the US’s most populous states, including: CalPERS, CalSTRS, NY State and Local Retirement Systems, NY State Teachers\' Retirement System, Florida State Board, Ohio Public Employees ERS, State Teachers Retirement System of Ohio, Teacher Retirement System of Texas, Texas Permanent School Fund, ERS of Texas and the State of Wisconsin Investment Board. The analysis also looked into the pension fund’s exchange traded fund (ETF) holdings and none of them had any exposure to the leading clean energy funds.
For Detailed Investor Profiles on these Investors, click below:
Related People: Jack Ehnes
Related Entities: California Public Employees' Retirement System; CalPERS Equities; CalPERS Investments; The California State Teachers Retirement System
Related Article Tags: Green, Socially Responsible, ESG and Sustainable Investmenting Hedge Fund News; Featured Reports

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