Tax incentives and other government subsidies play a large role in the development of clean energy projects in the United States.
For many U.S.-based projects the tax benefits of facility ownership are a critical component of project economics, supplementing the revenue generated by sales of power and renewable energy credits. Federal income tax benefits, in the form of tax credits and accelerated depreciation, are particularly important, but state and local tax incentives are also significant in encouraging investment in renewable energy. Other types of public finance - such as loan guarantees, subsidized energy financing, rebates, grants and feed-in tariffs - are also key in moving forward important infrastructure projects. (For more information on government grant and loan financing, see Government Financing Resource Center and Government Financing practice). Economic recovery legislation enacted in 2009 has increased our opportunities to leverage the value of government funding in certain renewable energy projects.
Cooley attorneys help clients structure domestic renewable energy projects to secure and maximize the financial benefit of these incentives. We have worked on behalf of developers and investors with interests in wind, solar, biomass, geothermal and waste-to-energy facilities located throughout the United States. Cooley's Clean Energy & Technologies practice offers a wealth of experience in the flow-through and leasing structures that enable developers and investors to share appropriately in the risks and rewards of project ownership while efficiently monetizing the value of government incentive programs. We have a deep appreciation of project asset types and are well positioned to offer clients comprehensive advice on property, sales and other excise tax aspects of project siting and construction. The breadth of the firm's clean energy and carbon expertise has been of particular value to those of our clients experiencing very rapid growth in both the U.S. and worldwide markets.
We work closely with our Washington policy partners with respect to the evolution of new energy legislation, advising our clients on important Congressional developments in all areas related to tax policy, climate change and carbon management. Likewise, at the agency level we routinely communicate the interests and concerns of our clients in the clean energy space.
Our transactional tax and finance experience includes the following:
- U.S. Developer – For large U.S. commercial solar developer: structuring and implementation of sale/leaseback transactions that monetize tax benefits of portfolio of dozens of rooftop projects.
- U.S. Developer – For large U.S. wind developer: design and documentation of "partnership flip" tax equity monetization transaction with U.S. banks, monetizing tax benefits of wind farm portfolio valued at approximately $500 million.
- Non-U.S. Turbine Manufacturer – Counseling with respect to the development of federal renewable energy tax legislation in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, including on the renewable energy manufacturing tax credit.
- U.S. Public Utility – Design and implementation of solar leasing program offered to ratepayers in New Jersey.
- U.S. Investor – Represented client in both acquisitions and sales of open-loop biomass plants; tax due diligence and negotiation of purchase and sale agreements.
- U.S. Investor – Structuring advice on partnership flip monetization valued at over $100 million, for major financial institution investing in rooftop solar projects.
- U.S. Investor – Represented client in acquisition of 100% of several solar project companies; tax due diligence, review of power purchase agreements and other project assets, and advice on project acquisition methods.
- U.S. Developer – Structured first-ever retail solar leasing program funded by public/private partnership; Connecticut solar program coupled tax equity monetization with state lending.
- U.S. Developer – Tax advice on solar power purchase agreements and related agreements entered with California public school district.
- U.S. Developer – Acquisition advice on purchase of landfill gas assets.
- U.S. Energy Lab – Advised developer of "Berkeley FIRST" municipal solar program, funding capital cost of residential and commercial solar installations with special city real estate assessments.
- U.S. Think Tank – Advised on tax policy matters and proposed legislation relating to natural gas and natural gas motor vehicles.
- U.S. Developer – Design of large-scale residential solar financing program for new construction in Arizona, funded by federal tax incentives and state grants.
- U.S. Non-Profit – Design of public financing and government relations strategy for green education organization.