Category: Solar

1
Teresa A. Hill Named to National Law Journal’s “Energy & Environmental Trailblazers”
2
New Treasury Guidance Significantly Expands Field of Renewable Energy Projects That May Qualify for the PTC or ITC
3
Next Steps for Community Solar After the Passage of Oregon’s Landmark Clean Energy Legislation
4
Winds of Change for Alternative Energy Tax Incentives in 2016
5
OPUC reschedules Community Solar Workshop 2 for September 22, 2015
6
Duke Energy Issues RFPs for Distributed Energy Resource Program
7
OPUC Seeks Public Comment by September 1 in Its Community Solar Program Docket
8
Georgia Allows Third Party Ownership (TPO) of Solar
9
Proposals for Community Solar Programs in Oregon due Friday, August 7, 2015
10
A new model for clean energy: Community solar gardens

Teresa A. Hill Named to National Law Journal’s “Energy & Environmental Trailblazers”

K&L Gates is pleased to congratulate our partner Teresa A. Hill on being named to the National Law Journal’s “Energy & Environmental Trailblazers.” The National Law Journal recognized lawyers across the country that have moved the needle in the energy or environmental space through devising new strategies, pioneering technological advancements, litigating landmark cases, and other innovative initiatives.

Teresa was honored for her work in the cutting edge area of corporate energy sourcing, which helps corporate customers develop and implement sustainability and carbon reduction goals through their energy strategy.

In addition to her work spearheading the K&L Gates Corporate Energy Sourcing Initiative, Teresa focuses her practice in the areas of energy and infrastructure projects and transactions with an emphasis on on wind, solar, biomass, geothermal and hydroelectric power.

Click here to read the National Law Journal feature

New Treasury Guidance Significantly Expands Field of Renewable Energy Projects That May Qualify for the PTC or ITC

On May 5, the U.S. Treasury Department released Notice 2016-31 to address certain changes made to the Production Tax Credit (“PTC”) and Investment Tax Credit (“ITC”) in the Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes (“PATH”) Act of 2015, Pub. L. No. 114-113, Div. Q.  The Notice generally extends the application of the “beginning of construction” and “continuous construction” requirements set forth in Notices 2013-29, 2013-60, 2014-46, and 2015-25, and also favorably modifies several key factors of both requirements.  In addition, on May 18, the U.S. Treasury Department released a revised version of Notice 2016-31, which states that the provisions of Notice 2016-31 apply to any project for which a taxpayer claims the PTC or, via Code Section 48(a)(5), the ITC, that is placed in service after January 2, 2013.

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Next Steps for Community Solar After the Passage of Oregon’s Landmark Clean Energy Legislation

Oregon’s landmark “Clean Electricity and Coal Transition Plan,” Senate Bill 1547 (SB 1547), was recently signed into law by Governor Kate Brown. Among other things, the new law increases Oregon’s renewable portfolio standard to 50 percent by 2040 and requires Oregon’s investor-owned utilities to eliminate coal-fired resources from the electricity allocated to Oregon’s ratepayers by 2030.  We will be posting an analysis of the new law shortly, but in this post we wanted to focus on the part of SB 1547 that will establish a community solar program in Oregon.

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Winds of Change for Alternative Energy Tax Incentives in 2016

Congress has some unfinished business on alternative energy policy, which may provide unusual legislative opportunities in an election year. While tax credits for wind and solar power received long-term extensions in the year-end omnibus legislation enacted at the end of 2015, other types of alternative energy were left out — reports have suggested unintentionally — spurring some in Congress to seek a remedy in 2016. Additionally, the Department of the Treasury (“Treasury”) and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) initiated a rulemaking process to further define and clarify the types of property qualifying for the investment tax credit (ITC) under section 48 of the Tax Code. These developments, along with ongoing congressional interest in comprehensive energy policy legislation, could make 2016 a pivotal year for stakeholders in the alternative energy industry.

Read the full alert on K&L Gates HUB

OPUC reschedules Community Solar Workshop 2 for September 22, 2015

The second workshop in the Oregon Public Utility Commission (the “Commission”) Docket No. UM 1746 (HB 2941 Community Solar Program Design) has been rescheduled from Wednesday, September 23rd to Tuesday, September 22. The workshop was rescheduled in order to accommodate stakeholders who observe Yom Kippur and to encourage stakeholder participation.

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Duke Energy Issues RFPs for Distributed Energy Resource Program

Duke Energy Carolinas and Duke Energy Progress (collectively, Duke) recently issued two requests for proposals (RFPs) as part of the implementation of Duke’s Distributed Energy Resource Program (DERP). The DERP, which was developed pursuant to South Carolina’s Distributed Energy Resource Act of 2014 (Act 236), was approved by the South Carolina Public Service Commission earlier this year. (See more information about Duke’s program.)

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OPUC Seeks Public Comment by September 1 in Its Community Solar Program Docket

In an email sent to interested stakeholders on August 14, 2015, the Staff of the Oregon Public Utility Commission (the “Commission”) provided further guidance on the public comments due in Docket No. UM 1746 on September 1, 2015, and released a revised docket schedule. As we reported in our August 6, 2015, blog post, the Commission opened UM 1746 to examine a range of possible community solar programs and requested that stakeholders submit proposals for community solar designs by August 7, 2015. Seven stakeholders filed proposals or comments, including Oregon’s investor-owned utilities; Citizens’ Utility Board of Oregon; joint nongovernmental organizations (NWSEED, Oregon SEIA, RNW, Portland Bureau of Planning & Sustainability, Oregonians for Renewable Energy Process, and NWEC); Northwest & Intermountain Power Producers Coalition; Oregon Department of Energy; and Vote Solar. Some of the proposals described specific community solar designs, while others proposed a preferred set of community solar attributes.

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Georgia Allows Third Party Ownership (TPO) of Solar

Recently, Georgia Governor Nathan Deal signed into law House Bill 57, known as the Solar Power Free-Market Financing Act of 2015 (the Solar Power Act). The Solar Power Act, which both houses of the state’s General Assembly passed unanimously, allows homes and businesses to install solar technology under third party ownership (TPO). Although it sailed through the General Assembly, the Solar Power Act is the product of detailed negotiations and compromise between lawmakers, electric service providers, and consumers. The introduction of TPO through the Solar Power Act is expected to provide a significant boost to the residential and commercial solar markets in Georgia. Read More

Proposals for Community Solar Programs in Oregon due Friday, August 7, 2015

Under Section 3 of Oregon’s recently enacted HB 2941, the Oregon Public Utility Commission has opened Docket No. UM 1746 to examine a range of community solar programs that allow individual customers to share in the costs and benefits of solar facilities, focusing on the attributes of different community solar program designs. The Commission is required to submit a recommendation on program design to the legislature by November 1, 2015.

In order to meet the November 1, 2015 deadline, the Commission has created a non-traditional process and accelerated timeline to obtain stakeholder input and finalize the Commission’s recommendation. The Commission has requested that interested parties submit proposals for community solar program designs by this Friday, August 7, 2015, in advance of the first staff workshop scheduled for August 11, 2015. Read More

A new model for clean energy: Community solar gardens

Declining prices for solar equipment and generous government incentives have broadened the appeal of community solar gardens. Community solar gardens, which are arrangements in which multiple users invest in and benefit from a solar array, provide a simple and cost-effective means for power consumers to acquire clean energy without having to bear the entire cost of purchasing or leasing a solar array. According to GTM Research, the community solar market is forecasted to grow fivefold in 2015.

For a variety of reasons, most energy consumers cannot own or lease a solar array—for example, they may not control the rights to their roof or their roof may be physically unsuitable. Community solar gardens offer these consumers the opportunity to invest in an offsite, local solar array in exchange for reductions in their energy bills. This new model expands consumer access to solar energy while also conferring a host of ancillary benefits.

This alert outlines the foundation of community solar gardens and describes their main legal considerations. While this alert cannot describe all the legal issues of community solar gardens nationwide, it covers common federal and state law issues that individuals involved with community solar gardens should anticipate.

Read the full alert here on K&L Gates Hub.

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