Foley attorneys Darin Lowder and John Dunlap recently hosted a Foley Energy Webinar with panelists Ben Cooper from KeyBank, Eric Barr from U.S. Bancorp, and Jared Donald from Amp Solar to discuss recent trends in financing community solar projects. Highlights of the webinar are listed below, and the full webinar is available here.
The webinar provided a survey and overview of the community solar projects market in the United States. Community solar projects deliver electricity to a local utility, which in turn allocates net metering or bill credits to retail energy customers (referred to as "subscribers") in accordance with individual subscription agreements entered into between the subscribers and the project owner. The subscribers pay the project owner, rather than the utility, for their allocated share of the credits.
Community solar programs are developed by states and utilities with a focus on community benefits, which may include the redevelopment of brownfield sites and incentives to include low to moderate income (“LMI”) subscribers in the programs to make the benefits more widely accessible.
Three established, key programs discussed in the webinar include the Massachusetts SMART program, the Minnesota program and the New York program (including New York’s VDER scheme for valuing net metering credits). Additionally, our firm continues to monitor newer, emerging programs in a variety of states, including those shown in Figure 2, which have implemented or proposed programs.
The panel discussed financing considerations applicable to both debt and tax equity, which sponsors and financing parties should address, including: