Renewable Energy Tax Credits Extension May Make Now a Good Time to Consider a Project

Morton Goldfein

March 24, 2016

In December, Congress extended the Internal Revenue Code's 30% Investment Tax Credit ("ITC") for capital investments in renewable energy facilities which was due to expire at the end of 2016. This long term extension has calmed the concerns of solar/wind developers, lenders and investors.  These macro developments are also having an impact at state and local levels because New York offers incentives which are better than those available in most other states.

For larger projects, owners of industrial, commercial and multi-family buildings should be protecting their position with carefully-crafted roof leases, power purchase agreements that can generate additional cash flow and insurance policies that will indemnify against potential loss to tenants' contents, etc.

Consumers are finding their mail and email boxes filled with attractive financing opportunities and projections of how energy bills can be reduced.  One aspect that gets everyone's attention is "net metering"  which  requires that  when the amount of energy generated exceeds the usage at a consumer's home, utilities are obligated to purchase the surplus—making it possible for  the electric company to owe you money!

Additionally, a "Solar Equipment Tax Credit" can reduce state tax obligations by up to $5,000 or 25% of a customer's total solar energy expense—even without capital expense if the change is accomplished through a roof lease or power purchase agreement.  Through the state's "Megawatt Block Incentive Structure," regional utility rates will be reduced for residential and small commercial customers.

Of course, while caution should be applied before signing up with a contractor for any addition to a home or business, standard installations are being offered at prices that can be amortized over reasonable time periods, making such an installation more economically feasible.

I've been involved in assisting clients with single family installations, structuring agreements for large retail and industrial buildings, as well as in the acquisition and financing of utility-scale projects in our region and the Southwest.  If you are thinking about a renewable energy project I'd be happy to have a conversation with you to help you determine its economic feasibility, and to advise you on proper structuring and financing vehicles.   


About the author:   

Mort Goldfein's nearly 50 year legal career spans work on environmental law and regulations while he served as Deputy Attorney General of New Jersey, to serving as chief counsel for one of the region's largest real estate developers, to his current work in private practice at the firm, where he focuses on real estate finance, renewable energy, not-for-profit governance and mid cap corporate transactions.