Maintaining its momentum of rapid growth in recent years, the renewable energy industry is poised for further expansion with the December 2015 passage by Congress of the long-awaited multiyear extension of solar and wind tax credits, together with one-year extensions for a range of other renewable energy technologies. Renewable Energy Tax Credits (“RETC”) finance solar and fuel cell transactions, and wind and biomass facilities.
Blank Rome’s attorneys have significant experience in the tax credit industry, including tax incentives available for renewable energy projects and related requirements, such as Production Tax Credits (“PTCs”), Investment Tax Credits (“ITCs”), and the U.S. Treasury Grant. Drawing upon our attorneys’ years of experience working on historic rehabilitation tax credits, our RETC team is agile in not only applying similar solutions to structure, negotiate, and close wind, solar, and bioenergy projects, but also in proficiently balancing the goals of lenders, tax equity (direct and fund) investors, and developers.
Our RETC team routinely:
- assists in strategic planning for projects, including the evaluation of renewable portfolio standards, federal incentives, and the potential for sale of state renewable energy credits;
- advises developers through the zoning and permitting process;
- assists developers and lenders in the financing of renewable energy developments, including reviewing financing documents, obtaining stimulus funds and other federal financial incentives, and issuing required legal opinions;
- drafts contracts for the construction of utility-scale energy facilities and evaluates associated licensing and technology transfer agreements; and
- negotiates, structures, documents, and closes renewable energy tax credit transactions, including residential, ground-mounted, and utility-scale solar facilities, and wind and bioenergy, as well as transactions that involve multiple tax subsidies.
Select Representative Engagements
- Represented an investor with respect to several portfolios of ground and roof-mounted utility photovoltaic electricity generating systems in North Carolina that qualified for solar investment tax credits.
- Represented PECO Energy Company, a unit of Exelon Energy Delivery and Pennsylvania’s largest utility, in PECO Energy Company v. Commonwealth, in which the Pennsylvania Super Court unanimously reversed the en banc Commonwealth Court and granted PECO a refund of $55 million of Public Utility Realty Tax Act ("PURTA") taxes. The case involved the interplay between the Electric Competition Act and the Tax Reform Code.
- Represented New Jersey Natural Gas Company in the New Jersey Tax Court, in which Presiding Judge Joseph C. Small urged the Legislature to modernize the “regular place of business” requirement, which generally requires taxpayers that do not maintain out-of-state offices to allocate 100 percent of their worldwide income to New Jersey. On December 19, 2008, the New Jersey Legislature repealed the “regular place of business” requirement.
- Represented a large public utility on the state income tax treatment of the disposition of noncore business assets and represented the utility in state tax litigation concerning the taxation of the gain on such disposition.
- Advised on tax and legal issues associated with the internal restructuring of a renewable energy company, which realigned its activities into three distinct business segments.
- Provided strategic tax advice and restructuring alternatives to several Fortune 500 energy companies related to the integration of newly-acquired businesses and disposition of assets.
- Assisted clients in evaluating sales tax and gross receipts tax aspects of power purchase agreements.
- Obtained a favorable private letter ruling for an energy equipment manufacturer.
- Developed models to assist energy companies in tracking their trading and the corresponding tax treatment of emissions credits and allowances.
Experienced Attorneys, Recognized in Their Fields
Blank Rome’s renewable energy tax credit practice is comprised on creative lawyers, who have experience as CPAs, as state and federal governmental officials, and in the national energy practice of a “Big Four” firm. As a result, we analyze our clients’ issues from a variety of perspectives to deliver value.