CFO, Yellow Door Energy
1. Please describe your role at Yellow Door Energy and expertise in the sector?
As the CFO of Yellow Door Energy, I am responsible for driving the company’s finance strategy, which includes the development, implementation and oversight of control, accounting and reporting policies. This entails optimizing the group’s capital and tax structures, as well as improving the company’s budgeting and financial planning process. In addition, I oversee Yellow Door Energy’s fundraising efforts and investor relations.
While I am relatively new to the renewable energy sector, I am not new to the finance world. In fact, I have over three decades of experience across financial services and the corporate sector. During my career, I have orchestrated over $40 billion in value across various financings and Mergers & Acquisitions (M&A) in the U.S., Europe and Asia. I started my career in project finance and now I am back to managing a company heavily focused on project finance.
Regarding my formal education, I obtained my MBA degree in finance from the Anderson School of Management at UCLA, and my Bachelor of Arts (with honors) in economics and creative writing from Middlebury College in the U.S.
2. How did your story in solar begin and your opinion, how much has it changed since then, if at all?
Yellow Door Energy was founded in 2015 by Jeremy Crane, who has been a pioneer in the development of solar projects for over two decades. The company has evolved significantly over this time from being a developer of solar power to becoming a champion of sustainable energy solutions, which includes hybrid, EV, lighting and other energy efficiency measures.
For me, my involvement in what I call “socially conscious” work started about a decade ago in the healthcare sector. A desire to work in the MEA region and remain in a socially conscious sector resulted in my move to Yellow Door earlier this year. That said, while the provision of sustainable energy solutions is a somewhat new sector for me, raising capital, optimizing capital structures and managing the reporting function is a culmination of three decades of experience in this field.
I started my career in project finance a long time ago and after a “random walk” across three continents and an equal number of sectors, joining Yellow Door is indeed a homecoming of sorts!
3. Why is sustainable finance gaining importance? What should people know about sustainable finance?
At its root, sustainable finance involves the allocation of capital, taking into account Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance (ESG) factors. From a capital provider’s perspective, this would mean calibrating return expectations based on the viability and Internal Rate of Returns (IRRs) of the underlying projects, understanding renewable energy contracts and gaining comfort with longer duration financing.
As the world comes to grips with understanding the meaning of “net zero”, sustainable finance becomes an important catalyst in achieving the objective of net zero emissions. This is because designing and developing energy efficient solutions, be they solar, wind or hybrid, are capital intensive in nature and require substantial amounts of both equity and debt capital.
In addition, financing sustainable, or “green”, projects enables the provider of capital to achieve its own net-zero targets. Therefore, in order for companies, governments and indeed individuals to move closer to adopting sustainable forms of energy, sustainable financing needs to come to the forefront.
An encouraging example of this is the UN Net-Zero Banking Alliance. This is an industry-led, United Nations-convened initiative that brings together leading banks which commit to aligning their lending and investment portfolios with net-zero emissions by 2050. To-date, there are 79 banks in the alliance, with $55 trillion of total assets, which is 36% of the global banking assets. (Learn more: https://www.unepfi.org/net-zero-banking/members/).
4. What could you tell us about Yellow Door Energy’s growth opportunities in the region?
Yellow Door Energy has experienced exponential growth since the company was founded in 2015. The company is a leading provider of sustainable energy solutions to C&I companies in the UAE, Jordan, Bahrain, Pakistan and KSA. As a business, we are experiencing rapid growth both from a geographic expansion perspective and a product perspective.
We are monitoring the African market for expansion opportunities.
With regards to products, currently we are able to offer a full suite of sustainable energy solutions, such as solar, hybrid and EV charging stations. As well, we are always monitoring the market to look for the latest technology applications to enhance to our product portfolio.
What does MESIA’s collaboration mean to you and YDE?
We fully support MESIA and its mission to empower solar across the Middle East. We have been a proud member of MESIA since the beginning, and we continue to support the association in bringing knowledge and insights across the region.
Research and Content Manager