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SPOTLIGHT SERIES: ANNIE AMRHEIN

Foss & Company is comprised of a group of experienced tax credit professionals, representing a depth of knowledge within their respective fields. In this blog series, we highlight different Foss & Company team members to shine a light on the diverse and dedicated people that help make us who we are.  As the Vice President of Renewable Energy Investment Operations on the Renewable Energy and Sustainable Technologies team, Annie Amrhein is focused on facilitating and managing all closing aspects related to the financing of solar and carbon capture investments. Prior to joining Foss & Company, she worked as a paralegal in commercial real estate where she supported attorneys in the acquisition, construction, and refinancing of multifamily housing and healthcare facilities. Annie graduated from the University of Virginia with a BA in Environmental Science and completed her Master of Public Administration with a specialization in Energy, Technology, and Climate Policy from University College London.   To learn more about Annie, read our latest Spotlight blog series installment:   How did you get started in the tax credit investing industry?    My first exposure to tax credit investing was during my first day working for at Foss & Company. Prior to joining the renewables team, I had worked in the legal space where I was exposed to real estate and financial services management with my academic background rooted in environmental science and policy. This role at Foss has provided me with an opportunity to not only apply my professional and educational skillsets, but also expose me to an entirely new industry of tax credits, project finance and investment management. It has been extremely interesting to learn about renewable energy financing as this wasn’t necessarily a component highlighted in my academic courses, so I’ve been able to broaden my knowledge base in an unexpected, yet…

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The Texas Hailstorm: A Catalyst for Change in the Solar Industry

The Texas Hailstorm: A Catalyst for Change in the Solar Industry By: Bryen Alperin, Partner and Managing Director of Renewable Energy & Sustainable Technologies, Foss & Company In the wake of the recent Texas hailstorm, which inflicted considerable damage on a 350-MW solar farm, stakeholders across the renewable energy spectrum are reevaluating the implications of hail risk for future projects. Foss & Company is still excited to invest in regions such as Texas, and believes these transactions can be low risk if structured appropriately. This event has not only highlighted the need for investors to structure around extreme weather risks, but has also sparked a broader conversation about resilience, insurance, and innovation within the renewables industry. This blog will outline some of our initial takeaways and recommendations. Strategic Recommendations for Investors The recent hailstorm event in Texas serves as a critical lesson for investors in the renewable energy sector, particularly those involved with solar projects. To mitigate risks and safeguard investments against similar incidents in the future, we offer the following specific recommendations: Mandate Hail Stow Protocols: Investors should consider requiring solar projects in their portfolios to operationalize hail stow protocols. These protocols are essential measures designed to protect solar panels during severe weather events, thereby minimizing potential damage and associated losses. Ensuring that these practices are not only in place but also rigorously adhered to, is a crucial step in enhancing the resilience of solar investments. Closely Manage Insurance Coverage: A comprehensive risk management strategy should include a well-structured insurance portfolio that combines natural catastrophe insurance and tax insurance. Investors should do ongoing compliance monitoring to ensure that insurance policies are renewed, and coverage does not lapse. Furthermore, investors should understand exceptions to their coverage, and ideally have a strong sponsor guaranty that covers any gaps. Incorporate Rebuild Covenants: Tax investors should…

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SPOTLIGHT SERIES: JENNIFER HUA

Foss & Company is comprised of a group of experienced tax credit professionals, representing a depth of knowledge within their respective fields. In this blog series, we highlight different Foss & Company team members to shine a light on the diverse and dedicated people that help make us who we are. As Associate Vice President of Investments for Renewable Energy and Sustainable Technologies, Ms. Hua manages the closing and diligence process for renewable energy and sustainability funds and participates in the screening of potential new investments. Prior to joining Foss & Company, Ms. Hua worked in Business Development and led utility-scale solar and battery originations. Her experience includes corporate development and risk management roles at The Williams Companies. Ms. Hua holds an MBA from The University of Tulsa and a BBA from The University of Oklahoma. She is based out of our Denver office.  To learn more about Jennifer, read our latest Spotlight blog series installment: How did you get started in the tax credit investing industry?     I was first introduced to tax credit investing during my tenure at The Williams Companies, where I held various roles over seven years. During my time in Corporate Development, I built dynamic models for capital projects covering solar, battery and natural gas. Williams was not a corporate taxpayer at the time, requiring us to explore alternative routes to monetize Investment Tax Credits. This experience provided me with key knowledge in tax credit structures. The knowledge and expertise I gained from this exercise has been invaluable in my contributions at Foss & Company.  When did you join Foss & Company and what interested you about the company?    I joined Foss & Company in August of 2023 and was drawn to the organization’s rapid-paced environment and talented professionals. The tax credit industry is ever evolving,…

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Strategic Moves: Navigating Transferability-Flips for Institutional Investors

Strategic Moves: Navigating Transferability-Flips for Institutional Investors In the ever-evolving realm of institutional investment, savvy investors are turning their attention to innovative strategies to enhance portfolio returns. As the transferability market gains momentum, institutional investors are strategically leveraging Transferability Flip Transactions, or “t-flips,” to unlock latent value in their tax equity investments. In this landscape, partnering with a seasoned fund sponsor, such as Foss & Company, becomes not just a choice but a strategic imperative.  The Institutional Advantage in the Transferability Market:  Institutional investors are well-positioned to capitalize on the increasing activity in the transferability market. As regulatory landscapes shift and market dynamics evolve, institutions can leverage their scale and expertise to navigate the complexities of t-flips for optimal portfolio performance. Investors interested in making equity investments may enhance their after-tax returns by utilizing the t-flip structure to invest in renewable energy and sustainable technology projects. Investors interested in buying tax credits on a transferable basis can may find that a t-flip structure offers risk mitigation benefits when compared to a “direct purchase” of tax credits.  Understanding T-Flips:  A Transferability Flip Transaction is similar to the Partnership Flip structure that the industry has used for billions of dollars of transactions, but instead of having the tax credits allocated based on ownership in the project, the tax credits are transferred to a third-party buyer. There is still a tax equity partnership at the project level which can monetize the depreciation benefits of the project and establish a “step up” in the tax credit eligible cost basis to a fair market value.   Working with Experts:  Institutional investors and tax credit buyers seeking to capitalize on the transferability market’s potential are wise to align with a reputable fund sponsor like Foss & Company. Foss & Company, with its proven track record, not only…

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SPOTLIGHT SERIES: PETER BROWN

Foss & Company is comprised of a group of experienced tax credit professionals, representing a depth of knowledge within their respective fields. In this blog series, we highlight different Foss & Company team members to shine a light on the diverse and dedicated people that help make us who we are. As National Sales Director, he leads our capital raising efforts, working with institutional investors and large corporations to direct investment capital into high-impact, tax credit-generating projects in renewable energy and real estate. Prior to joining Foss & Company, Peter spent over twenty years in asset management and wealth management. His experience includes leadership roles focused on business development at Bank of America, Wells Fargo and Bank of Montreal. Peter’s other experiences include commercial banking, alternative investments and commercial real estate. He graduated from the University of Dayton with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications. To learn more about Peter, read our latest Spotlight blog series installment: How did you get started in the tax credit investing industry?     Tax credit investing has always represented an extraordinary opportunity. My first introduction to the tax credit investing industry has been with Foss & Company, however I’ve always been interested in the space and have several friends that have been in the business for some time.  When did you join Foss & Company and what interested you about the company?    I joined Foss & Company in November of this year as the National Sales Director. Foss & Company’s entrepreneur spirit and drive to do what’s best for the client is what interested me about the company. There is a “can do” attitude here at Foss that you don’t see across other organizations, and they are know for putting their clients first. What originally interested you about this industry?      I’ve worked in asset…

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Colors of Hydrogen

By: Dawn Lima, Vice President of Renewable Energy & Sustainable Technologies, Foss & Company    Shades of Gray, Blue, Green – Why do we need a color wheel to describe hydrogen and what do the colors mean? If you have been following the headlines and reading recent articles about the future of energy, you’ve likely read about hydrogen and the many colors used to describe it. Green, blue, gray, yellow, pink, etc. Why does a naturally colorless gas have so many colors? Hydrogen is a very promising energy source in a decarbonized future as it does not emit carbon dioxide (CO2) when burned. Hydrogen energy could have many uses, particularly to decarbonize heavy vehicle transportation and construction. What these Colors Mean So, why are there so many colors to describe hydrogen? The different colors of hydrogen refer to how the hydrogen is made: mainly the source of the hydrogen molecule and the source of the power used to generate the hydrogen. The most common colors include gray, blue and green. Gray Hydrogen: About 80% of hydrogen produced is currently gray.  To make gray hydrogen, natural gas is burnt in a process called steam methane reform (SMR) and carbon dioxide is released into the atmosphere, not captured and sequestered.  The power to generate the hydrogen is typically the local grid (not necessarily renewable energy) so the source mix will depend on the location of the plant and now decarbonized the grid in the region is. Blue Hydrogen: Around 1% of hydrogen produced.  Blue hydrogen is slightly less environmentally harmful than gray.  Blue is produced in the same way as gray, but the carbon dioxide is captured and sequestered, not released into the atmosphere.  The power to generate the hydrogen is typically the local grid (not necessarily renewable energy). Green Hydrogen:  Green…

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Preserving the Past: Unpacking Historic Tax Credits

Preserving the Past: Unpacking Historic Tax Credits Historic preservation goes beyond the architectural beauty of a building. It is an important way to transmit the understandings of the past to future generations and preservation of the history helps tell these stories. The federal government realized the importance of these historic sites and implemented the Federal Historic Preservation Tax Incentives program that will encourage private sector investment in the rehabilitation and re-use of historic buildings. At a state-level, 37 states have adopted the state historic tax credit program and are transforming underutilized historic buildings to create more inclusive and resilient communities. What are Historic Tax Credits? Historic Tax Credits (HTC) are a federal tax credit program that provides investors with a 20% credit against the costs of rehabilitating eligible historic structures. This program was established in 1978 and has facilitated the rehabilitation of over 42,000 certified historic buildings. Administered through the National Park Service, Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and State Historic Preservation Offices, it has created over thousands of jobs and turned out to be the nation’s most successful and cost-effective community revitalization program. At the state-level, Historic Tax Credits complement the federal program by providing additional incentives, leading to even greater financial benefit for property owners. 70% of states have adopted some form of historic tax credit incentive to support building reuse and the preservation policy. What Does This Mean for Property Owners, Developers and Investors? Let’s take a look at HTCs on a federal level. Property owners can claim tax credits for up to 20% of qualified rehab expenses and this can offset the cost of rehabilitation to make projects financially viable for owners. As for developers, HTCs will incentivize developers to renovate, restore, and reconstruct the historic buildings. No other tax credit provides as much incentive to preserve…

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SPOTLIGHT SERIES: ANDREW MURO

Foss & Company is comprised of a group of experienced tax credit professionals, representing a depth of knowledge within their respective fields. In this blog series, we highlight different Foss & Company team members to shine a light on the diverse and dedicated people that help make us who we are. As the Vice President of Renewable Energy Portfolio Management, Andrew is in charge of all aspects of investment performance, working with sponsors on project compliance and tax credit investors on fund management. Prior to joining Foss & Company, he created a solar investment vehicle and managed its day-to-day operations. For 12 years prior to that he worked with top-tier solar or renewable energy companies, either financing assets or developing premier asset and portfolio management talent and processes globally. He has overseen some of the largest solar and wind farms in North America, as well as solar sites in Chile, Italy, Spain, England, and Canada. His education credentials include an MBA from ESADE in Barcelona, and a BA from UC Santa Barbara. To learn more about Andrew, read our latest Spotlight blog series installment: How did you get started in the tax credit investing industry?    In 2006, while working on Wall Street doing CleanTech sell side equity research, I came across an opportunity to develop a financing platform for a residential solar company in San Luis Obispo (SLO), CA. I packed up my Prius and drove from Manhattan to SLO, excited for the new opportunity to help a growing company focused on solar. We had some success developing and implementing home equity loans for solar and the team sold the first SunRun PPA deal, which was effectively a tax equity investment. From there I joined a structured finance desk with a solar developer raising tax equity in 2008. I haven’t…

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Capture the Carbon, Capture the Message!

By: Dawn Lima, Vice President of Renewable Energy & Sustainable Technology, Foss & Company   I recently attended the Carbon Capture, Utilization and Sequestration (CCUS) Summit in League City, TX, and the Carbon Capture Coalition’s Annual Meeting in Denver, CO. These events were very successful as well as insightful and I left feeling energized and motivated. It’s always enjoyable to be surrounded by like-minded professionals while making many new connections. I wanted to share some key takeaways from both events. Capture the CO2: CCUS Summit I was very impressed with the active participation from stakeholders across the CCUS industry. There is incredible excitement around CCUS right now, fueled in part by the passing of the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) in 2022, but mainly due to a motivation to decarbonize our energy sector and achieve climate goals. During the CCUS Summit, we had participants join all the way from Canada, Asia, Europe and South America. The US’ carrot versus stick approach to incentivizing investments through tax credits has certainly captured the attention of other nations and companies. This is evident as we have seen an increase in investment in US-based projects to capitalize on the US tax credit incentives. What was clear during this event is that innovation and collaboration is critical to reaching our climate and net-zero goals. What Are My Thoughts? As we sat down with industry leaders, during our discussions there were some interesting questions that had come up, include: Is the CCUS industry innovating equally in both important areas? Does the 45Q tax credit incentivize both sequestration and utilization equally? Are we – as a CCUS industry – working on CCU projects as well as CCS projects? The short answer? No. In its current form, the 45Q tax credit does not incentivize CCU equally compared to enhanced oil…

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Treasury/IRS Propose New Rules for Implementing Section 48 Energy Tax Credits

By: Bryen Alperin, Partner and Managing Director of Renewable Energy & Sustainable Technologies, Foss & Company   The U.S. Treasury Department and IRS have recently announced the release of proposed regulations (REG-132569-23) for publication in the Federal Register. These regulations are set to amend the existing rules under section 48, incorporating modifications from the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 (IRA), previous legislative changes, and various administrative guidelines. The Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) extends over 127 pages and aims to provide both clarifications and updates concerning the energy tax credit. Initial Foss Takeaways: Key Points for Investors Uncertainty for Biogas Equipment: In a surprising outcome, the proposed rules indicate that “gas upgrading equipment necessary to concentrate the gas into the appropriate mixture for injection into a pipeline through removal of other gases such as carbon dioxide, nitrogen, or oxygen is not included in qualified biogas property”. However, it emphasizes the eligibility of costs associated with essential components of biogas projects, such as equipment for cleaning and conditioning the gas. This has caused confusion and uncertainty in the RNG industry, as many projects feature equipment that both cleans and concentrates the gas. The implication of the proposed rules is that investors will need to do a detailed review of the process flow diagrams and determine which costs are associated with equipment which cleans or conditions gas versus equipment that concentrates gas. Depending on the determination, large portions of existing RNG projects may not qualify for the ITCs they thought they would. The industry will be lobbying to have this definition changed, or further clarified. New “Placed in Service” Criteria: The NPRM proposes a new definition of “placed in service” for Section 48, replacing long-relied-on Section 46 regulations. The definition is as expected and states that projects generating tax credits are considered…

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Investing in a Sustainable Future: Uniting Tax Equity, RECs and Corporate Savings

Did you know the key to a sustainable future lies within Renewable Energy Credits (RECs), corporate savings and tax equity investments? The dynamic synergy between these three showcase how corporations can strategically leverage tax equity to not only address their tax liabilities but also advance their commitment to sustainability.   What are Renewable Energy Credits?  With the federal government taking strong action on climate change, corporations are analyzing their carbon footprint and realizing that investing in Renewable Energy Credit (RECs) agreements and tax equity transactions can lead to being more environmentally responsible while helping improve their bottom line. Now, not all renewable energy sources come strictly from energy systems like solar panels or wind turbines. RECs are created as long as one megawatt-hour (MWh) of electricity is generated from a renewable energy source and delivered to an electric grid. Once it’s generated, corporate customers are able to purchase RECs, therefore allowing the use of renewable energy without installing renewable energy systems.  How do Tax Equity Investments Tie In?   Tax equity investments help fund viable renewable energy projects by enticing investors with a combination of tax savings and cash returns. As for developers, it provides a way to get new projects off the ground. Tax credits are government subsidies for projects like renewable energy, but many developers lack the tax liability to fully use them. That’s where tax credit investments come in. Companies with large tax liabilities can invest and receive tax credits, depreciation benefits and cash flows. RECs bolster the renewable energy market and are a cost-effective, environmentally friendly and decentralized method of carbon reduction.   What Role Do RECs Play in the Tax Equity Market?  RECs and REC markets play a key role in driving new renewable energy deployment and projects by guaranteeing an income stream for new…

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SPOTLIGHT SERIES: MICHAEL YAGER

Foss & Company is comprised of a group of experienced professionals, representing the best in class within their respective fields. In this blog series, we highlight different Foss & Company team members to shine a light on the diverse and dedicated people that help make us who we are.     Michael joined Foss & Company in April 2023. As Vice President of Investments, he works with institutional investors and large corporations to direct capital that is set aside for federal and state taxes into high-impact, tax credit-generating projects with a focus on renewable energy and carbon capture. Prior to joining Foss & Company, Michael spent 10 years developing an all-electric, zero emission freight transportation system. During this time, he expanded the company into three new markets, sourced over a billion dollars of debt and equity capital, and garnered offtake agreements with Fortune 500 companies throughout the United States. Michael graduated from Texas A&M University with a B.S. in Aerospace Engineering and M.Eng. in Industrial and Systems Engineering. Get to know Michael in the latest Spotlight Series Blog:  How did you get started in the tax credit investing industry? Originally, I came from an entrepreneurial background in supply chain and logistics. As an engineer, I spent years developing a new freight transportation system and I then started working to commercialize the technology, so I saw firsthand how much effort went into getting large infrastructure projects financed. Since then, I wanted to move more directly into finance. I was excited at the opportunity to join Foss & Company in a role that allows me to help bring meaningful projects to completion while adding value to the corporations investing in them. When did you join Foss & Company and what interested you about the company? I joined Foss & Company in April 2023 in…

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Debunking the Myths About Transferable Tax Credits

Repost of the original article in the Novogradac Journal of Tax Credits, which can be found here. As the renewable energy market continues to grow, the popularity of transferable tax credits as a way to fund projects and reduce corporate tax liabilities is on the rise. Following the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act, provisions enabling the transfer of tax credits have become hot topics for both developers and investors. In this article, we’ll discuss several common misconceptions regarding transferable tax credit transactions. Transferable Tax Credits Overview Transferable tax credits are a valuable financial instrument that allows businesses to reduce their tax liabilities by investing in projects that generate economic, social or environmental benefits. These tax credits can be sold or transferred between taxpayers, enabling companies with little or no tax liability to monetize the credits and create a new revenue stream. As attractive as this financial tool may seem, it’s essential to understand the associated risks. Myth #1: Transferable Tax Credit Buyers Have No Risk When speaking to project developers or prospective investors, we often hear transferable tax credits compared to state certificated tax credits which have almost no risk associated with them. Unfortunately, there are some risks associated with transferable tax credit transactions and it is important for investors to understand those risks. The risks associated vary across the different types of tax credits eligible for transferability. For example, clean energy investment tax credits (ITCs) are subject to recapture risk for five years following the project being placed in service. Carbon sequestration tax credits are subject to a three-year recapture period and the triggering events for recapture are quite different. Clean energy production tax credits (PTCs) are not subject to recapture, but do face volume risks which could lead to under delivery of tax credits in some years.…

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