Full Title: Using Governmental Incentives to Finance Solar Renewable Energy Projects: Alternative Investments for High-Net-Worth Individuals
Author(s): Michael Cole
Publisher(s): Journal of Energy Law and Resources
Publication Date: November 1, 2012
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Federal and state renewable energy programs have dramatically lowered the cost differential between photovoltaic, or solar, energy production, and available energy provided by third- party utility companies. Solar property installations, such as solar panels, are rapidly rising across the country and increased by 85% between the first quarter of 2011 and 2012. Possible investment opportunities may exist for high-net-worth individuals seeking diversification through properly structured Solar Renewable Energy Projects (hereafter “REP”). Tangible after-tax monetary benefits are available when investing in REPs, as a part of a diversified portfolio. Financial, tax, and legal planning are desperately needed to maximize the available governmental and economic benefits of REPs. Notwithstanding the inherent complexities of structuring REPs, the financial feasibility of solar energy production can be a viable investment option when designed to monetize tax and other governmental incentives. To provide a solar client with the best advice, legal facilitators must understand the following: the stakeholders to the transaction and their goals; how to calculate and evaluate the return on their client’s investment; how to structure the transaction; and the common tax limitations that could pose as roadblocks to unsuspecting investors.