An important bit of reporting from Bloomberg:
Google Inc. (GOOG) plans to ramp up its $750 million investment in clean energy projects by taking advantage of tax rules to channel more funds into wind, solar and other renewable power sources.
All except two of the company’s investments in clean energy projects were structured as tax-equity financing, tapping government incentives that encourage large companies to back promising projects that often have yet to generate income, said Rick Needham, Google’s director of green business operations.
“It’s part of our culture to try and find ways that we can make things better,” Needham said in an interview at Google’s headquarters in Mountain View, California. Each deal, he said, is an opportunity “to support something that we think is important, which is deployment of more clean energy and doing it at a scale and in places where it can eventually lead to a lower cost of clean energy.”
Google’s goal is to promote technologies and new financing arrangements that will give a boost to the industry and diversify its sources of earnings. Rivals may follow its lead. “A lot of us are hopeful that they will bring more investors into the market,” said Mark Regante, a partner at Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy LLP, a New York law firm that represented lenders for a project Google now backs.
“Part of their motivation is to basically try to lead more of corporate America,” Regante said in an interview. “Right now the tax benefits are a significant element of getting to the targeted yields that” potential investors want.
Selling Tax Credits
Renewable energy plants qualify for tax credits that they typically can’t use until they are selling power and generating profits that can be taxed; once complete, many don’t have enough taxable profit to use the entire benefit. By selling these credits, developers receive funds to back their projects, and the large corporate buyers can apply the credits to their own tax bills....MORE