The solar industry is reeling from an announcement made by the US Department of Commerce (“DOC”) this week that the agency has decided to initiate country-wide anti-circumvention inquiries regarding crystalline silicon photovoltaic cells from Cambodia, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam, to determine whether imports into the US from those countries using parts and components from China are circumventing the antidumping and countervailing duty orders on solar cells and modules from China.
Continue Reading Department of Commerce Initiates Tariff Investigation on Imported Photovoltaic Panels, Rocking Solar Industry

Last week’s blog post on NEPA and renewable energy development discussed how NEPA intersects with legal challenges brought against wind and solar projects.  On March 9, 2022, concerned residents from the Town of East Hampton, New York filed suit to overturn the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management’s (BOEM) and Army Corps of Engineers’ (Corps) approval of the South Fork Wind Farm Project (South Fork Project).  In Mahoney v. Dept. of Interior, No. 2:22-cv-1305, plaintiffs allege violations of the National Environmental Policy Act, Clean Water Act, and Outer Continental Shelf Leasing Act by BOEM and the Corps.
Continue Reading Property Owners Lodge a NEPA Challenge to the South Fork Offshore Wind Farm Project

Under current law, there are significant tax benefits for renewable energy projects in the United States.  These benefits include nonrefundable ITC and PTC tax credits and depreciation deductions.  From the perspective of a renewable energy developer, however, such tax benefits may be difficult to use effectively.  Currently, ITC and PTC tax credits are nonrefundable, meaning that developers with tax liability lower such credit will face difficulties effectively utilizing such excess credit.  Developers face a similar problem with depreciation deductions, as these will only operate to reduce taxable income.  If a developer does not have enough taxable income to utilize these depreciation deductions, it will be difficult to effectively utilize such excess.
Continue Reading Direct Pay Proposals in the Build Back Better Act and Observations from Industry Insiders

2021 witnessed a new but familiar competition among stakeholders for the use and enjoyment of the Outer Continental Shelf.  Last year, interested parties initiated five lawsuits against the first federally approved offshore wind farm, Vineyard Wind I (located off the coast of Nantucket).  And 2022 has so far continued the trend with a new challenge to the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management’s (BOEM) designation of Wind Energy Areas in the New York Bight in late January.  These legal challenges echo the arguments marshaled in numerous lawsuits across the Nation to delay or prevent oil and gas development on public lands.  Developers seeking to participate in the energy transition can learn from the experience of oil and gas development on federal lands.
Continue Reading Legal Challenges to Renewable Energy Development, and How NEPA Can Help

Tax considerations are one of the main drivers for renewable energy projects. This fall, Husch Blackwell’s Energy and Natural Resources team hosted a webinar that explored the available federal and state credits, abatements, incentives, and in some cases, specialty taxes that affect the profitability of renewable energy projects. During the program, we received a number of questions worth sharing with our blog subscribers that are navigating tax issues on their renewable energy projects. This article addresses those questions.
Continue Reading Digging Deeper: Tax Considerations for Renewable Energy Projects

At the beginning stages of a solar project, developers must be aware of oil and gas operations on or near the project area. However, operations that occur near but not directly on a site plan are often overlooked. If overlooked, these oil and gas operations can cause significant delays and costs when developing and financing a new project. However, some initial research and due diligence at the beginning of a greenfield development project can usually protect the project from the types of issues and costs associated with oil and gas operations located near but not directly on the site plan, which will allow the project to stay on schedule and budget.
Continue Reading The Implications of Drilling Units Created by Pooling on Solar Development

Farm leases are a common occurrence on land being developed for solar and wind energy projects, due to the size and rural nature of land sought for development. While title searches will discover written leases that are made of record with the county clerk, farm leases are often verbal “handshake” agreements, meaning they go undetected during a standard title search. It is always recommended to conduct a site visit and inquire as to the existence of any grazing or crop operations when entering into a real estate contract for land intended for development. If a farm tenant is leasing a portion of the project property, such lease may need to be terminated, particularly in the context of a solar energy project that will require more surface use of the land.
Continue Reading Terminating Oral Farm Leases

Renewable energy accounted for 11% of all energy generated in Illinois last year. That may sound low at first glance, but that percentage ranks Illinois second in the Midwest for installed renewable energy power and fifth in the nation for installed wind power with almost 4,000 MW of wind and 60 MW of solar. Nonetheless, the State of Illinois needs to increase the pace of renewable development and generation if it wants to maintain its reputation as a renewable energy leader in the U.S.  The State took steps last week to do just that.  On Wednesday, September 15, Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker signed SB 2408, known as the Climate and Equitable Jobs Act (“Act”), establishing one of the most comprehensive state-level renewable energy initiatives to date. The Act’s highlights include $580 million a year for wind and solar development to increase Illinois’ renewable energy standard to 40% by 2030 and 50% by 2045.

Continue Reading New Illinois Climate and Equitable Jobs Act Adds Fuel to Renewable Energy Development in Illinois

The Texas legislature recently passed Senate Bill 760 (“SB 760”). SB 760, which takes effect on September 1, 2021, relates to the decommissioning of solar power facilities.  Under the new law, solar companies must now comply with similar decommissioning requirements as those previously imposed on wind companies during the 2019 legislative session.  SB 760 requires solar power facility agreements to now provide that the grantee is responsible for removing its solar power facilities from the landowner’s property.
Continue Reading Texas Legislature Expands Decommissioning Requirements to Solar Power Facility Agreements with Enactment of SB 760

The colocation of energy storage facilities with solar and wind projects has emerged as a popular trend within the renewable energy field. Many Independent System Operators have reported an increase in hybrid resources projects in their interconnection queues in recent years. For example, CAISO (California Independent System Operator) reported that hybrid projects constitute two-thirds of all solar projects in its interconnection queue.

Continue Reading Real Estate Concerns for Hybrid Renewable Energy Projects