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Wells Fargo Announces Leadership Changes in Renewables Finance Group

June 24, 2019, 09:05 AM
Related: Wells Fargo

Wells Fargo announced that renewable-energy-finance pioneer Barry Neal will retire July 1, and Philip Hopkins will assume sole leadership of the company’s Renewable Energy & Environmental Finance business, which is part of Wells Fargo Commercial Capital. For more than a decade, Neal and Hopkins jointly led the group, building the business into one of the largest and most consistent tax-equity investors in the U.S.

Under Neal’s and Hopkins’ direction, Renewable Energy & Environmental Finance has grown to more than 30 experienced professionals who are responsible for evaluating, negotiating, and managing equity investments in wind, solar, and other renewable energy projects. The team also works closely with other Wells Fargo business groups to provide a wide array of products and services to the renewable energy sector.

To date, Wells Fargo has funded more than $7.5 billion into more than 400 wind and solar projects throughout the U.S. In fact, Power Finance & Risk information service recently named Wells Fargo “Bank Sector Tax Equity Investor of the Year” in its 16th Annual Deals and Firms of the Year Awards.

“Over the past 13 years we’ve thoughtfully and strategically built our reputation as a quiet but significant contributor to the advancement of U.S. renewable energy,” Hopkins said. “I’m excited about the opportunity to continue building upon this solid foundation.”
Neal said, “I’m very proud of the work our team has done in making Wells Fargo a leader in financing projects that help propel the U.S. toward a low-carbon economy. It’s been a joy to bring people with similar vision and passion around this sector together, creating a collaborative culture that will continue to make a positive impact on renewable energy and the environment in the future.”

Prior to joining Wells Fargo in 2005, Neal spent 37 years in the energy and environmental sectors. He joined Wells Fargo in 2006 after spending more than 20 years in project development, consulting, and investment management, including as managing director of Energy Investors Funds Group, a private equity firm in the independent power sector.

“Barry has been instrumental in helping the company develop and advance our leadership in sustainability,” said Mary Wenzel, head of Sustainability & Corporate Responsibility at Wells Fargo. “He leaves a legacy of passion, hard work, and wise counsel that has helped shape Wells Fargo’s commitment to and leadership in sustainable finance.”

Between 2012 and 2017, Wells Fargo invested and financed more than $83 billion in renewable energy, clean technology, greener buildings, sustainable agriculture and other environmentally sustainable businesses. In 2018, the company announced it would provide $200 billion in financing to sustainable businesses and projects by 2030, with at least half of the pledged amount going to transactions that directly support the transition to a low-carbon economy, including renewable energy, green bonds, and alternative transportation.

In the first year of the commitment, Wells Fargo provided $23 billion in sustainable finance, with 63% of that directly supporting the transition to a low-carbon future. Hopkins was director of strategy and business analysis at Mirant Corporation in Atlanta, where he also steered a large acquisition of shares in a German utility as a business development director. Earlier, Hopkins worked for the New England Power Company as a senior engineer and as a field engineer for Schlumberger Well Services.

He earned a master’s degree in nuclear engineering and a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, (MIT) and during that time, he was a Nuclear Regulatory Commission-licensed senior reactor operator at MIT’s Nuclear Reactor Laboratory.

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