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Renewable Energy Tax Credits News Briefs - December 2013

The Interstate Renewable Energy Council Inc. (IREC) released its annual updates and trends report in October. Entitled, “IREC: Shaping Our Future with Clean Energy,” the report includes information on costs and benefits of net energy metering and standard valuation methods. Also included are interconnection policies, workforce development, new planning strategies and energy efficiency instructors and training programs. The report is available at www.energytaxcredits.com.

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The Public Utility Commission of Texas released a Competitive Renewable Energy Zone (CREZ) progress report on Oct. 7 stating that the $7 billion CREZ project is close to completion. This CREZ initiative is an effort to connect West Texas to growing cities that demand more wind power. CREZ projects in general are designed to move electricity generated by renewable energy sources from remote parts of Texas to the more populated areas of Texas. Once complete, the project will span almost 3,600 miles and will be able to send more than 18,000 megawatts (MW) of wind power across the state. Currently, grid operators are reviewing almost 21,000MW worth of new wind projects. New projects include a 1,100MW wind farm near Lubbock. The projects are expected to exceed the capacity of the region’s new transmission. The progress report is available at www.energytaxcredits.com.

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On Oct. 9, the North American Development Bank (NADB) announced the closing of four loan agreements totaling $50.8 million for the construction of four solar energy parks. The parks, located in northwestern San Diego County in California, will generate a total capacity of 19.5MW. The electricity generated by the projects will be purchased by San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E), a subsidiary of Sempra Energy. The Macquarie Infrastructure Company Solar LLC will develop the projects for SDG&E. Two of the projects have a generation capacity of 10.2MW will be built on a 46-acre lot in Valley Center. The other projects have a generation capacity of 9.3MW and will be built on a 45-acre parcel of land in the community of Ramona. All four projects will be executed under engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contracts. The solar parks are estimated to produce adequate electricity to power more than 5,000 households.

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Vivint Solar, a residential solar integrator, announced Oct. 7 its plans to expand into Orange County, Calif. with a regional office. Expansion plans include the hiring of 60 employees at the Santa Ana office.

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On Oct. 10 Silver Ridge Power LLC, formerly known as AES Solar, and Google Inc. announced that Google became a partner and will invest approximately $103 million in Silver Ridge Power’s 265.7MW Mount Signal Solar project in Imperial County, Calif. Also known as Imperial Valley Solar 1, the project is a utility-scale solar photovoltaic (PV) generating plant. The plant will sell its output to the San Diego Gas & Electric Company (SDG&E) under a long-term power purchase agreement. Mount Signal Solar was co-developed with 8minutenergy Renewables LLC. Development is expected to be completed in 2014.

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On Oct. 21, the Western Governors’ Association (WGA) sent a letter to the Senate Committee on Finance and the House Ways and Means Committee urging Congress to modify the Section 48 renewable energy investment tax credit (ITC). WGA wants Congress to determine eligibility by using a “commence construction” standard instead of the current “placed-in-service” standard. In the letter, WGA states that changing the ITC to a commence construction standard would allow stakeholders to make full and effective use of the 30 percent ITC for the duration of the existing authorization and will allow them to attract further investment. Authorization currently expires on Dec. 31, 2016. Under a commencement construction standard, WGA says the credit could still not be claimed until the project is placed in service – providing important protection of taxpayer dollars, and that a project would be eligible for the ITC only if the strict Internal Revenue Service rules for commence construction are met. WGA also says that the ITC has been effective in catalyzing economic growth in western states, and that by changing the Section 48 ITC to a commence construction standard, Congress can support continued domestic energy production and job creation in the west.

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GP Renewables & Trading, an energy services company, announced in October its plan to attain up to $15 million in operating commercial solar photovoltaic (PV) projects in New Jersey and Maryland by the end of the year. Projects will be acquired from system owners who worked with the 1603 payments for specified energy property in lieu of tax credits. GP Renewables & Trading will work with investors through a power purchase agreement (PPA). They will acquire the investors’ equipment and sell the power back to the investor at a discounted rate.

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On Oct. 22 the DOE announced it will provide $60 million for solar energy research and development to cut carbon pollution and to support clean energy innovation across the United States. This funding is part of the department’s SunShot Initiative, a national effort that motivates innovation to make solar energy cost-competitive with traditional energy sources by the end of the decade. The awards would further reduce soft costs such as permitting, installation and interconnection toward the goal of seamless grid integration.

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On Oct. 18, Churchill Stateside Group LLC (CSG), a privately owned real estate and energy financial services company, announced the completion of the Churchill Stateside NC Tax Credit fund LLC. The $34.3 million North Carolina state renewable energy tax credit fund will be combined with other funding to build 32.5MW of solar energy farms throughout the state. The solar farms will cover nearly 40 acres. Construction is expected to create more than 350 direct jobs. Once the solar farms are operational, they will provide close to 135,000 solar panels and will generate more than 47,000MW hours of electricity per year.

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On Nov. 4, EDF Renewable Energy announced that it reached an agreement with Renewable Energy Systems Americas Inc. (RES Americas) to acquire the 200MW Longhorn Wind project in Texas. Located on 14,000 acres, the Longhorn Wind project spans Floyd and Briscoe counties. The wind project will make use of the CREZ transmission lines, which will transfer wind generating capacity across the state. Construction is expected to begin by the end of the year.

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On Oct. 23, SolarCity and Hawaiian Electric Company announced that SolarCity was selected through a competitive procurement process to build a 15MW PV system for the electric company to provide clean energy to O’ahu residents. The solar project will be constructed on 50 acres of undeveloped land at the Kahe Generation Station that is subject to public utilities commission (PUC) approval. The system will be owned and operated by Hawaiian Electric. Hawaiian Electric anticipates that over the life span of the project, it would reduce the cost of generating electricity on O’ahu by $64 million. The project is anticipated to be operational by the end of 2015.

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SolarCity Corporation and Zep Solar Inc. announced on Oct. 9 that SolarCity will acquire Zep Solar Inc. for nearly $158 million. Zep Solar will operate as an independent business unit of SolarCity, which provides clean energy directly to homeowners, businesses and government organizations. After the close of the acquisition, SolarCity and Zep Solar plan to market and sell Zep Solar PV mounting and grounding products in Australia, Germany, Japan and the United Kingdom. The purchase price is payable in shares of SolarCity common stock. The number of shares to be issued in the transaction is based on the final purchase price and the volume weighted average price per share of common stock for the ten trading day period. The transaction is anticipated to be completed in December.

Journal Category:

Renewable Energy Tax Credits

Authors:

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