IRS Releases Guidance on Performance and Quality Standards for Small Wind Energy Property

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The IRS recently released Notice 2015-4 (the Notice), which provides performance and quality standards that small wind energy property (defined under section 48(c)(4) of the Code as property utilizing a “qualifying small wind turbine” with a nameplate capacity of not more than 100 kilowatts (kW)) must meet to qualify for the section 48 investment tax credit (ITC).

ITC eligible small wind energy property acquired or placed in service after January 26, 2015, must now meet the performance and quality standards set forth in either:

(1) American Wind Energy Association Small Wind Turbine Performance and Safety Standard 9.1-2009 (AWEA); or

(2) International Electrotechnical Commission 61400-1, 61400-12, and 61400-11 (IEC).  Continue reading this entry

Department of Commerce Proposes New Solar Tariff on Chinese Panels

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On January 2, 2015, the Department of Commerce (“DOC”) announced its preliminary decision regarding crystalline silicon photovoltaic cells, whether or not assembled into modules, from the People’s Republic of China (“Chinese solar cells”). The decision relates to an administrative review by the DOC of Chinese solar cells imported from May 25, 2012 through November 30, 2013. The original antidumping case was brought by SolarWorld Americas Inc., a German-owned, Oregon-based company, as well as various exporters and U.S. importers. This administrative review covers two mandatory respondents, Yingli Energy Company Limited (“Yingli”) and Wuxi Suntech Power Co., Ltd. (“Wuxi Suntech”).

In determining what rates would apply to Yingli and Wuxi Suntech, the DOC first preliminarily determined that while Yingli would be eligible for its own separate rate, Wuxi Suntech would not be eligible for its own separate rate, and thus would be given the “China-wide” rate, that is, the rate given to all Chinese companies who were not mandatory respondents and either failed to apply or unsuccessfully applied for a separate rate. The DOC based its Wuxi Suntech decision on its determination that Wuxi Suntech is sufficiently controlled by the Chinese government, such that the Chinese government either controls or has the potential to control Wuxi Suntech.    

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Department of Commerce Reaches Affirmative Determinations on Certain Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaic Products from China and Taiwan

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On December 16, 2014, the Department of Commerce (“DOC”) reached affirmative final antidumping determinations relating to certain Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaic products from the People’s Republic of China (“China”) and Taiwan. The DOC also reached an affirmative final countervailing duty determination regarding the same product from China.

The ITC is scheduled to make its final injury determinations on or about January 29, 2015. If the ITC makes affirmative final determinations that imports of certain crystalline silicon photovoltaic products from China and/or Taiwan materially injure, or threaten material injury to, the domestic industry, DOC will issue antidumping and countervailing duty orders, as applicable. If the ITC makes negative determinations of injury, the investigations will be terminated.

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Production Tax Credit Extended for Renewable Projects Beginning Construction in 2014

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On December 19, 2014, President Obama signed into law the Tax Increase Prevention Act of 2014 (H.R. 5771).  H.R. 5771 includes a retroactive one-year extension of the section 45 renewable electricity production tax credit (PTC) for wind and other renewable energy facilities including geothermal, biomass, landfill gas and certain hydropower and marine hydrokinetic energy projects. Taxpayers may alternatively elect to claim the section 48 investment tax credit (ITC) in lieu of the PTC.

Projects now have until December 31, 2014 to begin construction in order to claim the PTC. (See our prior blog post here summarizing recent IRS guidance (Notice 2014-46) explaining what it means to begin construction for purposes of the PTC and ITC.)

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SCE Selects Suppliers for 261 MW in Energy Storage

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Southern California Edison (SCE) announced the suppliers and projects it has selected for the largest grid-connected energy storage purchase in U.S. history. This energy storage procurement is more than five times greater than SCE’s minimum authorization of 50 MW, pursuant to a California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) ruling. SCE will purchase 261 MW of energy storage resources, pending approval by the CPUC.

This procurement effort marks the first time SCE has used a competitive solicitation to obtain bids for energy storage projects. Once deployed, the energy storage systems will provide a number of services to SCE’s power grid, including ensuring adequate available electrical capacity to meet peak demand.  Continue reading this entry