Inflation Reduction Act opportunities – and questions – were at the forefront with solar industry leaders at this year’s event.
The Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) Finance, Tax & Buyers Seminar examines the biggest challenges and opportunities impacting the clean energy industry. We joined more than 300 tax, finance, business, and legal leaders at this year’s event in New York to explore trends in commercial and industrial clean energy growth.
Tom Myers, Vice President of Business Development at Concord, hosted a panel discussion focused on providing access to rooftop solar energy for low- and moderate-income (LMI) markets via Power Purchase Agreements (PPA) and lease financing. The SEIA event was an important opportunity for Concord to help drive the discussion around a clean energy future. Here are a few of our key takeaways:
An abundance of IRA opportunities – and questions
The clean energy tax incentives in the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) are fueling substantial opportunities for growth in the solar market. But questions abound regarding oversight, as the Department of Energy and the Environmental Protection Agency have not yet released clear rules on future funding regulations for tax equity investors. These were some key topics of discussion we heard at the conference:
- The transferability or sale of tax credits
- Tax insurance considerations
- Financing opportunities for hybrid projects
- Developer and utility scale project benefits
- Federal guidance for Energy Communities
Key takeaway: The IRA is driving substantial new opportunities for expanding equity and access in the solar market. But federal guidance on specific rules and regulations is long overdue, and installers, investors and funders need clarity to fully leverage these opportunities moving forward.
Growth potential for solar in the LMI market
Scaling residential rooftop solar creates meaningful environmental and economic benefits, particularly for the underserved LMI market. Investors and other stakeholders have an opportunity to leverage the Solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC) benefits from the IRA to create a win-win scenario for all. How? By using Third-Party Owner (TPO) solar leases and PPAs. This bridges a critical gap for LMI homeowners who may not qualify for ITC benefits.
In the event panel discussion Concord hosted on this topic, we discussed several issues that stakeholders should consider, including:
- LMI market demand for affordable solar solutions
- How PPAs or leases can help to meet this demand
- Pros and cons of various solar financing arrangements
- Increasing solar penetration in the LMI market
- Capital structure of PPA funding (tax equity investors)
Key takeaway: With high demand and low market penetration, the LMI sector is ripe for growth in residential solar. PPAs and leases are an ideal way to leverage new solar ITC benefits. As a leading loan servicer for the solar market, Concord has unique capabilities to facilitate and scale these high-volume tax equity transactions.
We walked away from the SEIA conference with some valuable insights on tax updates, financing and procurement trends, and policy developments for the solar market. One thing is clear: the success of the clean energy movement will depend on how well the industry can leverage debt, equity and new sources of capital on a much larger scale. Concord is well-positioned to help drive these financing solutions, and we’re excited to support the future of clean energy.