Renewable Energy Tax Credits News Briefs - June 2015

Monday, June 1, 2015

On March 19, Dan E. Arvizu, director and chief executive of the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), announced his intent to retire at the end of September. Arvizu, who has held the roles since January 2005, expects to retire as president of Alliance for Sustainable Energy LLC at the same time. Alliance manages NREL on behalf of the DOE. Arvizu is also the chairman of the National Science Board, which governs the National Science Foundation and advises the president and Congress on science policy. Arvizu also serves other boards, panels and advisory committees, including the American Council on Renewable Energy Advisory Board. Before joining NREL, Arvizu was a chief technology officer with CH2M HILL Companies Ltd.

***

On March 31, the U.S. Court of Federal Claims in RP1 Fuel Cell LLC and UTS SJ-1 LLC v. United States held that the plaintiff, RP1 Fuel Cell LLC and UTS SJ-1 LLC, was entitled to a Section 1603 renewable energy cash grant as a qualified fuel cell property, despite a decision by the U.S. Department of Treasury. Under the ruling in RP1 Fuel Cell LLC and UTS SJ-1 LLC v. United States, the gas conditioning equipment located at RP1 and SJ-1 fuel cell facilities in California are part of a fuel cell power plant and thus are eligible for the grant. The Treasury Department originally ruled that the fuel cell facilities failed to qualify. The ruling is available at www.energytaxcredits.com.

***

Xcel Energy announced March 12 a plan to add 140 megawatts (MW) of photovoltaic solar energy to its Texas-New Mexico system. The company signed two 25-year power purchase agreements with affiliates of NextEra Energy Resources LLC in order to acquire two of the three planned systems that will be located near Roswell, N.M. Xcel Energy expects to add the solar energy capacity in 2016.

***

Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) announced its commitment of having 50,000 veterans working in solar by 2020. The Joining Forces initiative, launched by first lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden, supports U.S. service members, veterans and their families. The first lady shared the news at an event hosted by Micron Technology Inc. in Manassas, Va., April 23. Veterans are working with military bases across the nation to certify service members under guidelines established by the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP). Rhone Resch, president and chief executive officer of SEIA, said in a press release that he is excited about bringing more and more veterans into SEIA’s ranks and applauds the efforts of Ms. Obama, Dr. Biden and Joining Forces.

***

U.S. Bancorp and ORIX USA Corporation announced the closing of U.S. Bancorp’s first renewable energy syndication March 16. The syndication, which is expected to finance more than $100 million in solar projects, will enable SolarCity to install approximately 2,500 solar power systems at homes and businesses in nine states: Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Maryland, New Jersey and New York. The installations will produce more than 350 construction and installation jobs and will generate $76 million in economic impact from salaries, equipment purchases, construction materials and secondary spending.

***

SEIA released April 21 a response to the Stanford Graduate School of Business’s study, “The U.S. Investment Tax Credit for Solar Energy: Alternatives to the Anticipated 2016 Step-Down.” The study found that the anticipated investment tax credit (ITC) step-down would render the solar PV uncompetitive by early 2017. Rhone Resch, president and chief executive officer of SEIA, said in a press release that solar employs nearly 175,000 Americans, with 150,000 of those jobs created since the ITC was implemented. He also said solar pumps nearly $20 billion a year into the U.S. economy. Resch said that even though the report touts the solar industry’s dramatic growth, it called for a phase down of the ITC without any examination of the current and past tax treatments of established energy sources. Resch said discussion in Congress should be about extending the ITC, not ending it.

Journal Category: