Shedding Some Light on the State of Renewable Energy in the Northeast

As a full service tax and accounting firm with a specialized renewable energy and clean technology practice serving "green" clients throughout the U.S., we'd like to provide our version of 2017 year in review and share some insight on the state of the solar, wind and biogas industries in the Northeast.

This year began with our Green Team attending Solar Power Northeast in February, where we addressed a wide variety of conference attendees' questions at length. Among those most frequently asked were: What costs qualify for the Investment Tax Credit? How will the new tax laws impact me? And, what are the current depreciation tax laws?

In May, we held the first of three "Solar Roundtable" sessions for solar developers, installers and investors throughout the region interested in raising the profile of solar energy, deepening the understanding of changes in the industry and sharing ideas on best practices. Our third and final Solar Roundtable for the year was held in November, and was attended by more than 40 in the industry.

Our Roundtables covered topics both broad and specific, ranging from the complexity of the Solar Massachusetts Renewable Target (SMART) Program and the feasibility of the Investment Tax Credit (ITC Study) for various developers, to tax reform, energy storage, Tesla's battery wall, structuring tax equity deals, tax modeling, what is going on in the financing industry and more.

Our Green Team also had the pleasure of attending Northeast Clean Energy Council's (NECEC) 10th Annual Green Tie Gala.  And this year, partner Kathy Parker, CPA, MST, was guest speaker for several renewable energy conferences and financial forums across the U.S., including BioCycle REFOR17 the official conference of the American Biogas Council held in Portland, OR. Kathy spoke on the topic of "What Do Investors Seek?" sharing her expertise on current tax law, how it applies to Biogas, cash flow, rate of return, tax incentives, and infrastructure.

Kathy also spoke at two IEEE conferences: IEEE Green Energy and Smart Systems Conference 2017 workshop held at California State University, Long Beach, CA on the topic of "What’s New in the Tax Laws For The Green Energy Space? Incentives, Rebates and Opportunities"; and she spoke at the 5th Annual IEEE Conference on Technologies for Sustainability (SusTech 2017) in Phoenix, AZ on the topic of "Green Incentives & Green Company Positioning for Funding and Growth".

To wrap up our news, partner Thomas Astore, CPA, JD was appointed to the Northeast Sustainable Energy Association (NESEA) Board of Directors.

State of Renewables in the Northeast

2017 has been an interesting year. We're seeing new technologies and initiatives that are driving innovation to make solar energy cost competitive. That, along with the growing number of companies committing to clean energy and procuring electricity from renewable sources such as solar and wind is a promise of a brighter renewable energy future.

We're also keeping a very close watch on the tax reform bill, and in particular the impact the final version may have on green and renewable energy projects. How will it affect renewable energy developers and investors in a sector of the economy that has relied on federal tax credits and accelerated depreciation? We'll be sure to keep you up to date on any changes.