On August 30, 2016, the US Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) finalized regulations that clarify the definition of real property for purposes of the real estate investment trust (“REIT”) provisions under Section 856. The final regulations generally are consistent with the proposed regulations that were released in May 2014. (See our earlier update, “Proposed Regulations Provide REITs a Framework for Solar Energy Property,” from May 14, 2014.) Certain solar industry participants were advocating for solar to be a REIT-eligible asset class in an effort to create a new market for solar projects in the event that the investment tax credit (“ITC”) declined to 10 percent after 2016. In December 2015, Congress extended the ITC with a gradual phase-down. (See our earlier update, “Certain US Energy Tax Credits Extended, But Phaseout Dates Scheduled,” from December 28, 2015.) The extension made the need to make solar a viable asset class for REITs a less pressing issue. It is fortunate for the solar industry that it does not have to rely on REITs, as the new regulations only enable REITs to own solar projects in limited situations.

The final regulations keep the facts and circumstances framework, as opposed to bright-line rules, for determining whether property is real property for purposes of Section 856. Therefore, all of the specific facts of a particular solar energy property will need to be analyzed to determine its REIT classification. The final regulations apply for taxable years beginning after August 31, 2016.
Continue Reading As Expected, Final REIT Regulations Offer Little Help for Solar

Hannah Hawkins, Attorney-Advisor in the office of Tax Legislative Counsel of the United States Treasury was a panelist at the Renewable Energy Finance Forum in New York on June 21 and commented on investment tax credit (“ITC”) related guidance that Treasury is working on.

With respect to the solar version of the “start of construction” guidance for determining tax credit eligibility that parallels what was issued for wind in Notice 2016-31, Ms. Hawkins stated that “it is the next thing on our plate.  We hope to have guidance in the fall [or] winter.”
Continue Reading Treasury Attorney Discusses Pending ITC Guidance at REFF

First Published in May 2014 in North American Wind Power

Many wind developers regularly require additional capital infusion and keep their eyes peeled for opportunities to raise it. Three recent trends in public equity transactions for developers are yieldcos, listing on the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX) and the declining use of real estate investment trusts