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White Papers

  • Renewable Energy Finance, Market & Policy Overview
    (April 2014) This detailed market overview aggregates the numerous policy mechanisms affecting renewable energy projects in the U.S. and provides an analysis of the impact these policies have had on private sector investment in the industry. The paper also looks at innovative financing mechanisms the industry has recently developed including Securitization, YieldCo, and Green Bonds.

  • MACRS Depreciation and Renewable Energy Finance
    (December 2013) The Tax Code’s current depreciation system – known as MACRS – is essential in driving private sector investment for the renewable energy industry. The paper illustrates the importance of MACRS to renewable energy development and the negative impact on the industry should MACRS be eliminated or radically scaled back.

  • US-PREF Tax Reform Comments to House Ways and Means
    (April 2013) Comments provided to the House Ways & Means Committee tax reform working group . Provided in response to their invitation for input from the industry on tax reform as it could apply to the energy industry.

  • Clean Energy Policy Driving Private Capital Investment
    (Updated March 2013) The renewable energy market experienced record level growth in 2012, accounting for more than 49% of all new power generation capacity in the U.S. This trend leads to dramatic cost reductions as deployment increases. This paper provides an overview of market trends in the past several years, and illustrates the importance of federal and local policy support of the renewable energy industry.

  • Paid in Full An Analysis of the Return to the Federal Taxpayer for Internal Revenue Code Section 48 Solar Energy Investment Tax Credit (ITC)
    (July 2012) The Federal Investment Tax Credit (ITC) program for solar projects has sharply accelerated the growth of the U.S. solar industry while providing a positive return to taxpayers.  This paper seeks to analyze the economics of the expanded ITC program and demonstrate the potential return for the government.  Moreover, it discusses the ancillary benefits of the program, including job creation, lessened dependence on fossil fuel, and improved public health.

  • Ramping Up Renewables – Leveraging State RPS Programs (Summary)
    (June 2012) Executive Summary and key highlights for RPS Programs white paper.

  • Ramping up Renewables – Leveraging State RPS Programs amid Uncertain Federal Support
    (June 2012) In the past several years, support for renewable energy demand has come chiefly from states in the form of Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) mandates. Currently in place in 29 states and Washington DC, RPS mandates have driven creation of 1/3 of current US non-hydro renewable electricity. Going forward, consideration can be given to how to best coordinate transitional, supply-focused federal tax incentives with longer-term, demand-focused RPS programs as part of an integrated renewable energy strategy for America.

  • US PREF Tax Equity Market Observations (235K)
    (Updated December 2011) In response to a request from the DOE and multiple Congressional contacts, US PREF compiled an analysis of the tax equity market for renewable energy projects. This updated analysis focuses on the tax equity capacity for these projects from 2005-2011, and provides an estimate on the state of the market in 2011-2012 absent the 1603 Treasury Cash Grant Program. US PREF gathered this data by surveying 100% of the leading tax equity market participants in 2011. Absent the grant, the available tax equity is expected to shrink to $3.6B in 2012, an almost 50% decline from the expected tax equity deployment at the end of 2011.

  • Alternative Energy Projects Affected by 1603 Expiry 2011 (September 2011) This analysis estimates that at least $20 billion of the renewable energy pipeline could be affected by the expiry of the PTC and 1603 programs.

  • Estimate of Renewable Energy Jobs Created by Section 1603 Grant (September 2011) US PREF found that approximately 115,000 U.S. jobs have been created through the 1603 Treasury Cash Grant program since the program's inception in 2009. To gather this data, US PREF utilized the NREL Job and Economic Development Impact (JEDI) models and data from the US Treasury.

  • Tax Credits, Tax Equity and Alternatives for Clean Energy Financing (September 2011) The 1603 cash grant has proven to be a more efficient, lower cost approach to spur additional private sector investment in renewable energy. Continuation of the 1603 cash grant, or its replacement with a new program that avoids the limitations of the tax equity market, will continue to make efficient use of capital and promote lower cost development of renewable energy in the domestic market.

  • RENEWABLE ENERGY POLICY SUPPLY CHAIN ONE-PAGER V2.2.PDF (353K)
    November 2010; Updated April 2011 Illustrates the complementary nature of current renewable energy policies including 48c Tax Credit, DOE Loan Guarantee Program, PTC/ITC/1603 Cash Grant tax incentives, Renewable Portfolio Standards.

  • Clean Energy Moves Toward Grid Parity Chart
  • CEDA ANALYSIS V2.2
    (July 2011) This paper presents how the establishment of new independent administration within the DOE, the Clean Energy Deployment Administration (CEDA), would take over the existing Loan Program–which has demonstrated success over the past few years–and improve upon it.

  • THE IMPORTANCE OF THE DOE LGP IN FINANCING INNOVATIVE RENEWABLE TECHNOLOGIES V2.3.PDF (471K)
    (Originally published November 2010; Updated February 2011) This paper analyzes the importance of the Department of Energy's Loan Guarantee Program in helping innovative renewable energy projects cross the "valley of death." As of January 2011, the loan program has provided conditional commitments to 11 innovative renewable energy projects. Though this marks significant progress, the program is only now starting to fulfill its potential. With its scheduled September 2011 expiration, the loan program will soon lose much of its effectiveness – and the U.S. will lose a main tool for developing important innovative energy technologies.

  • INTERIM GOVERNMENT SUPPORT TO BRING DOWN COST OF CLEAN ENERGY V2.0.PDF (401K)
    (February 2011) The objective of this paper is to explain how government support has been critical to the success of all generation technologies, and to show how government incentives have driven technological innovation and scale in emerging industries. This will result in a continued decrease in the cost of clean energy technologies so that they will soon reach grid parity.

  • US PREF VENTURE CAPITAL WHITE PAPER VERSION V2.1 (198K)
    (April 2010) This white paper describes the venture capital industry, its role in the development of a U.S. renewable energy sector, and the aspects of government policy that have the greatest impact on venture capital investing in renewable energy.

  • U.S. RENEWABLE ENERGY TAX EQUITY INVESTMENT AND THE TREASURY CASH GRANT PROGRAM (186K)
    (April 2010) This white paper describes tax equity, how regulatory uncertainty has impacted renewable energy development, the stimulative impact of the cash grant program in the midst of the financial crisis, and the potential impact extending this program has on renewable energy deployment.

  • PTC ITC AND SECTION 1603 GRANTS V2.2.PDF (476K)
    (April 2010, Updated February 2011) Compare and Contrast: This white paper provides an analysis of the different tax credits that were made available to qualified renewable energy projects through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 ("ARRA").