The United States has used tax credits and accelerated deprecation since the 1960s as an inducement to companies to invest in areas in which the US is trying to direct capital. Few project developers can use these benefits, and so a core financing tool for industries in which such tax benefits are on offer is using the tax benefits to raise “tax equity” to help fund new projects.
Our projects and project finance lawyers have been handling tax equity transactions since the 1960s. We were heavily involved from the 1960s through the 1990s in tax equity for airlines, railroads and power, mining, telephone, trucking and shipping companies. During this period, we helped develop many new structures and worked on a number of cutting-edge deals, including municipal, cross-border double-dip, C-FSC, O-FSC and turbo-FSC leases and sale-in-lease-out, lease-in-lease-out and service contract transactions.
Since 2004, most of the activity has been in the renewable energy sector. We are widely viewed as one of the leading tax equity firms in this sector, serving as counsel in 17 of the 18 wind tax equity transactions in 2007 and handling more than 60 master tax equity facilities for rooftop solar installations. Term sheets and deal papers our lawyers drafted for use in partnership flip and master inverted lease transactions are now standard documents for use in such transactions. Likewise, our lawyers wrote separate manuals on tax issues and solar deal structures for the Solar Energy Industries Association and the Solar Electric Power Association.
We represent both sponsors and tax equity investors across multiple asset classes, including solar, wind, geothermal, biomass, fuel cells, and refined coal. Because deals in this market are sensitive to small changes in government policy, it is imperative that clients work with a team that keeps its ear to the ground in Washington, DC. A significant portion of our projects and project finance team is based in Washington, where they regularly talk to US Treasury and IRS officials and the tax staffs on Capitol Hill, as well as playing a role in policy discussions.