Renewable Energy Tax Credits News Briefs - April 2015

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

On March 11, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issued a notice to update beginning of construction guidance for the renewable energy production tax credit (PTC) or investment tax credit (ITC). Notice 2015-25 provides that if a facility is placed in service before Jan. 1, 2016, the facility will be considered to satisfy the continuous construction test for purposes of satisfying the physical work test, or the continuous efforts test for purposes of satisfying the safe harbor. If a taxpayer begins construction on a facility before Jan. 1, 2015 and places it in service before Jan. 1, 2017, Notice 2015-25 says the facility will be considered to satisfy the continuous construction test or the continuous efforts test, regardless of the amount of physical work performed or the amount of costs paid or incurred within that time frame. The notice is available at www.energytaxcredits.com.

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The IRS released Notice 2015-12 Feb. 3 regarding new clean renewable energy bonds (CREBs). The notice solicited allocation applications for approximately $1.3 billion in new CREBs. The bonds, authorized by the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 and the American Recovery Reinvestment Act of 2009, would provide a volume cap of $2.4 billion. The notice also provides guidelines and deadlines for the applications. Notice 2015-12 is available at www.energytaxcredits.com.

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The New Mexico Renewable Energy Production Tax Credit (H.B. 242) was introduced Jan. 27 by Rep. George Dodge, Jr. The bill would raise the state’s renewable energy production tax credit (PTC) caps. It would increase the production caps for wind, biomass and geothermal projects to 3 million megawatt-hours and double the solar energy tax credit cap to 1 million megawatt-hours. H.B. 242 would allow the credits to be claimed over a period of 10 years and it would make geothermal energy a qualified energy source. At press time, H.B. 242 was awaiting approval by the House Ways and Means Committee. The text of the bill is available at www.energytaxcredits.com.

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The Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) and GTM Research released the report, “U.S. Solar Market Insight 2014 Year in Review” March 10. The report provides data, forecasting and policy analysis for the U.S. solar market. The report found that solar accounted for 32 percent of the nation’s new generating capacity in 2014. In addition, the U.S.’s utility, commercial and residential segments installed more than one gigawatt (GW) of PV. It was also noted that the U.S installed 6,201 megawatts (MW) of solar PV in 2014, a 30 percent increase over 2013. The report is available at www.seia.org.

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On March 4, the Duke Center on Globalization, Governance and Competitiveness released the report, “The Solar Economy, Widespread Benefits for North Carolina.” Research was conducted to assess the three issues related to North Carolina’s utility-scale photovoltaic solar investments, which are the conditions of the solar market, the amount of utility-scale solar in the world and the economic footprint of utility-scale solar in North Carolina. The report found that North Carolina is fourth in the United States for installed solar investment, and that the state has more than 450 companies involved in the solar industry. The report also found that there has been $2 billion in direct solar investment in the state. The report is available at www.energytaxcredits.com.

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The U.S. Department of Energy announced Feb. 13 the completion of the first training class under the SunShot Initiative, a solar job training pilot program. The program involves a partnership with three military bases to prepare service members for careers in the solar industry as solar photovoltaic system installers, sales representatives, system inspectors and other solar-related jobs. The program at Camp Pendleton in California, Fort Carson in Colorado and Naval Station Norfolk in Virginia teaches service members the necessary skills to size and install solar panels, safely connect electricity to the grid and interpret and comply with local building codes.

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