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Wind Energy Tax Equity Financing

Wind energy tax equity financing is a method of raising capital for wind farms in which investors provide funding to the project and receive federal tax incentives as compensation.

The tax equity financing structure allows developers to raise capital for wind projects, and investors offset their tax liabilities by investing in those projects.

The tax equity financing structure is a popular way to finance renewable energy projects. It allows developers to raise capital without giving up a significant portion of ownership or requiring the equity to be subordinated.

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory has found that the majority of wind energy projects in the United States have been financed with a combination of debt and tax equity. NREL found that tax equity accounted for about 20-25% of the total capital structure for wind projects. NREL found that the median size of a tax equity investment was $20 million, and that the average wind project used about $30 million in tax-equity financing (about 15% total capital costs).

This model is different than traditional project financing, in which developers may be required to give up a portion of ownership as collateral for loans. Another advantage of tax equity financing is that it can help to de-risk a wind energy project for investors. The tax incentives are only available if a project is profitable, which gives investors an extra incentive to do everything they can to make sure the business succeeds.

However, tax equity financing can be complex and time-consuming to arrange. According to a study by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, the process of arranging tax equity financing can take up to a year, which can delay the construction of a wind energy project. Additionally, the study found that the cost of arranging tax equity financing can be significant, with costs ranging from 1-2% of the total project cost.

Despite these challenges, tax equity financing has been a key driver of wind energy development in the United States. According to a study by the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA), tax equity financing has been a key factor in the growth of the wind energy industry, with the use of tax equity financing increasing from less than 10% in the early 2000s to more than 60% in the late 2010s.

This financing structure allows developers to raise capital for wind projects and offers investors a vehicle through which they can offset their tax liabilities. Tax-equity financing has been critical to the growth of wind power in the United States, though it is complex and time consuming.

Key Elements of Wind Energy Tax Equity Partnership Agreements

I. Introduction

  • Explanation of wind energy tax equity financing

  • Purpose of the agreement

II. Parties Involved

  • Identify the developer and the investor(s)

  • Description of their respective roles and responsibilities

III. Project Description

  • Description of the wind energy project, including location, size, and estimated cost

  • Description of the project's expected production and revenue

IV. Tax Incentives

  • Description of the tax incentives available for the project, including the federal Production Tax Credit (PTC) and the federal Investment Tax Credit (ITC)

  • Explanation of how the tax incentives will be allocated between the parties

V. Financing Structure

  • Description of the financing structure, including the amount of capital provided by the investor(s)

  • Explanation of how the capital will be used to fund the project

VI. Project Operations

  • Description of the project's operations, including maintenance, repairs, and any other ongoing expenses

  • Explanation of how the project's revenue will be used to cover these expenses

VII. Exit Strategy

  • Explanation of how the investor(s) will exit the agreement and recoup their investment

  • Description of any contingencies or contingencies that may affect the exit strategy

VIII. Representations and Warranties

  • Representations and warranties made by the developer and the investor(s) to ensure that the project is viable and financially sound

  • Explanation of how any breaches of representations and warranties will be handled

IX. Governing Law and Dispute Resolution

  • Identification of the governing law for the agreement

  • Explanation of how disputes will be resolved, including any arbitration or mediation provisions

X. Signatures

  • Signatures of the developer and the investor(s) to indicate their agreement to the terms of the agreement.

Please note that this is a general outline and the content of the agreement may vary depending on the specific project and the parties involved. It's always important to seek legal advice before signing any legal agreement.


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