Full Title: §1603 Treasury Grant Expiration: Industry Insight on Financing and Market Implications
Author: Michael Mendelsohn
Publisher(s): National Renewable Energy Laboratory
Publication Date: 6/2012
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In the United States, the growth of the renewable energy sector is dependent on the U.S. tax code and the availability of “tax equity.” Investments in new commercial and utility-scale renewable power production facilities are fostered by tax credits (the production tax credit and investment tax credit) and accelerated depreciation benefits. However, distinct from many industries receiving tax support, most renewable energy developers do not have significant tax liability internally to monetize the tax credits and depreciation benefits. Rather, they must rely on specialized, third-party investors (e.g., financial institutions)—known as tax equity investors—to finance projects in return for the tax benefits. This need for such specialized investors constrains the availability of private capital for renewable energy projects, particularly for projects that are developed by entities that are smaller, have less development experience, or that seek to deploy new or less-proven technologies.