Opportunities in the Transferability of Renewable Energy Tax Credits

By Kimberly Carlini, Senior VP, Investments and Bryen Alperin, Managing Director  This blog is the first in a series that will explore the opportunities in the transferability of renewable tax credits for investing in renewable energy and reducing tax liability.  The Inflation Reduction Act, signed into law on August 16, 2022, has created new opportunities to invest in a sustainable future. There are many options, but one of the more promising is new transfer provisions which allow for the transfer of renewable energy tax credits between taxpayers. With these new transfer provisions, a taxpayer can purchase a tax credit generated from an eligible project, for example, at $0.90 per $1 of tax credit and then apply the credit to reduce required tax payments to the IRS by the full $1.  Transferable credits allow taxpayers to access credits free of ongoing ownership interests and related accounting effort. Tax credit investing isn’t new, but some investors prefer not to account for a longer-term investment to access them. The purchase of transferred tax credits may be the solution.  These tax credits can also offer benefits to the renewable energy projects themselves. By allowing credits to be transferred, it opens the pool of potential investors and can increase the amount of funding available for these types of projects. This can help to accelerate the transition to renewable energy and contribute to the goal of reducing carbon emissions.  The ability to transfer renewable energy tax credits provides flexibility. For example, a company that has a high tax liability in a particular year may not have the ability to fully utilize all the credits that it generates. By being able to transfer those credits to another taxpayer, the company can still receive some value for the credits and the other taxpayer can use them to offset…

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drew goldman

Spotlight Series: Drew Goldman, Vice President, Investments

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.    Drew Goldman, Vice President of Investments for Foss & Company, spent 18 years in financial services and held roles including equity syndication, strategic M&A, global investment banking, corporate lending, and commercial real estate before joining Foss & Company in 2019. Drew has an MBA from Emory University’s Goizueta Business School and earned his BBA from The University of Texas at Austin.  Get to know Drew in the latest Spotlight Series blog:   How did you get started in the tax credit investing industry?    After working in the corporate finance and investment banking industries, I moved “back home” to Atlanta in 2005 and found myself in charge of business development for an apartment management company; a large portion of the third-party units were in the Low-Income Housing sector, so I learned a lot about tax credits by absorption.   With 2008 – and the “Great Recession” an opportunity to raise capital for a large LIHTC syndicator presented itself. I then transitioned into tax equity. Since then, I have migrated from Housing into Renewable Energy and Historic Preservation.  When did you join Foss & Company and what interested you about the company?    I joined Foss in January 2019 with a growing interest in financing Renewable Energy and other Sustainability-focused initiatives. Foss has a highly entrepreneurial culture, and a flexible approach to our evolving marketplace.   What do you find important or interesting about tax credits?    I have been in financial services since the 1990s – tax credit equity is well-proven for mobilizing private sector capital into…

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Incentives for renewable energy have been a hot topic in the U.S. lately, especially with new provisions geared towards implementing recently developed technologies that aim to fight climate change. The Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), signed into law in August of this year, contained significant adjustments to several climate and sustainability solution incentives. Widely regarded as landmark legislation, it was one of the most extensive environmental policies in decades. It laid the groundwork for incremental change through increases in tax credit incentives for projects like Carbon Capture, Utilization and Sequestration (CCUS), battery storage, and solar Investment Tax Credits (ITCs). Under the IRA, institutional investors may now see higher tax credit returns on their investment and new opportunities through ITC adders. The U.N.’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) offer a blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all. They address the global challenges we face, including poverty, inequality, climate, environmental degradation, prosperity, and peace and justice. No one action can address all 17 goals at once but using the SDGs as guidelines can help inform corporations of processes that can help tackle some of the most pressing issues of our time. The adjustments made to policies under the IRA align in many ways with the SDGs including those made to solar ITCs. ITCs are calculated as a percentage of the cost that solar developers spend on solar power production equipment while constructing a project. Before the IRA, ITCs were set to reach 10% by 2024, but under the IRA, they now have a base rate of 30% locked in for the next ten years. The law also includes certain adders that can increase the total amount to 60%. The increased incentives can help move solar projects forward despite the recent high interest and inflation rates. These adders include, but are not limited to: 10% for projects located…

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Carbon Capture, Utilization and Sequestration (CCUS) is the process of capturing carbon oxide (can be either carbon monoxide or carbon dioxide, but most commonly we speak of carbon dioxide or CO2) from emission sources for the purpose of preventing it from reaching the atmosphere, which would amplify greenhouse heating. Typically, the CO2 is permanently stored deep underground, but it can also be utilized in other ways, so long as the CO2 never reaches the atmosphere. CCUS and the related 45Q tax credit provides a unique opportunity for tax equity investors to invest in an Environmental, Societal, and Governance (ESG) friendly tax credit. The process of CCUS typically involves the following steps: Locate a predictable and constant source of carbon dioxide emissions: Most combustion processes create CO2, a few examples are coal/natural gas plants, power plants, and ethanol production. Capture the CO2: The process involved in capturing the CO2 depends on the concentration or purity levels of the source emissions. High purity emissions of CO2 (>95% by volume), such as the CO2 emitted from the biorefining of ethanol requires minimal, off-the-shelf-technology to separate out the CO2. Low purity emissions (<95% by volume), such as the CO2 emitted from a coal power plant require advanced technology and various chemical processes to separate out the CO2. Find storage site: A suitable storage site is required to permanently sequester the CO2. Currently, the most suitable sites may be a saline aquifer or in a depleted oil reservoir as is the case in enhanced oil recovery (EOR).  Other means of permanent storage are being pursued, for example permanent sequestration in concrete during the manufacturing process. Transfer the CO2 to the sequestration site: In some instances, producers (emitters) of CO2 may be conveniently located on or near a suitable storage site. In all other instances, pipelines are used to transport the CO2 from the emitters to the…

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Spotlight Series: Tony Pucci, Director, Real Estate Investments & Portfolio Management

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.   Tony was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, earning his bachelor’s degree from UC Berkeley and his law and business degrees from Santa Clara University. After spending years as an attorney, he joined Foss & Company in 2017. As Director of Real Estate Investments & Portfolio Management, Tony oversees the underwriting and asset management of Foss Historic Tax Credit (HTC) investments, working closely with real estate developers, institutional investors, and industry partners.   Get to know Tony in the latest Spotlight Series blog:   What originally interested you about the historic rehabilitation industry?   I have always been interested in real estate development, especially projects that have a meaningful impact on the community. I also like old buildings and historic architecture. I would much rather see a building repurposed than demolished. The rehabilitation of a building is an interesting process, and more challenging than new construction. In the end, a valuable resource is being conserved and enhanced, and that’s a great benefit for all.    When did you join Foss & Company and what interested you about the company?  I joined Foss in January 2017. I was looking for new opportunities and when I learned about Foss, I did a lot of research on the company and the tax credit industry. The more I learned, the more excited I was about joining the company. I wanted to be a part of financing historic rehabs by monetizing tax credits. It’s a great business, and it’s rewarding to be a part of the rehabilitation…

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BY ALEJANDRO SANTA CRUZ, CFA, VICE PRESIDENT OF INVESTMENTS Federal investment tax credits (ITCs) are government-endorsed, social-engineering tools designed to create a “partnership” between the government and the private sector, providing financial incentives to encourage corporations to deploy capital investments in areas that are considered important or strategic for the country. These areas include affordable housing, new market development, historic rehabilitation and renewable energy among many others. The government is simply not in the business of, or does not have the capacity to, properly assess the risk and evaluate these types of projects, so it turns to the private sector to lead the charge and recognize the opportunity presented the financial, social and environmental benefits of investment tax credits. All companies that are U.S. federal taxpayers should consider tax credit investing. Banks and insurance companies are the most common players to-date, and while corporations have become more active in recent years, tax investing overall remains underutilized. It is estimated that only a short list (less than 10%) of the qualified tax paying companies actively participate in the ~$20 billion annual tax credit market. This low participation rate has resulted in billions of “less than efficient” income tax payments to the U.S. government that could have otherwise generated value for companies, shareholders, and communities. Given the large number of mature, cash-flowing companies in the US seeking earnings enhancements, cash or tax management improvements and lower expense ratios, these are eye-opening statistics. So why are tax credits not more widely used by corporate America? While there may not be a clear-cut answer to this inquiry (or perhaps it is a combination of factors), here are some possible, common explanations: Too Good to be True – When companies first learn about tax credits, they think they are “too good to be true,” and…

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