each type of plant (which is not tied to the amount of power they generate). This payment, based on investment (in €/MW of installed capacity), is supplemented (in cases of technologies with running costs in excess of the pool price) with an operating payment (in €/MWh produced).
Government Incentives and Legislation
Each of the countries in which we operate has established various incentives and financial mechanisms to reduce the cost of renewable energy and to accelerate the adoption of solar and wind energy. These incentives include tax credits, cash grants, favorable tax treatment and depreciation, rebates, RECs or green certificates, net energy metering programs, feed-in tariffs and other incentives. These incentives help catalyze private sector investments in renewable energy and efficiency measures. Changes in the government incentives in each of these jurisdictions could have a material impact on our financial performance.
Federal government support for renewable energy
The U.S. federal government provides an investment tax credit that allows a taxpayer to claim a credit of 30% of qualified expenditures for a solar generation facility. The U.S. government’s enactment of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (the “Tax Act”) did not make any changes to the existing laws surrounding tax credits for renewable energy. The ITC is currently scheduled to be reduced to 26% for solar generation facility construction that begins on or after January 1, 2020 and to 22% for solar generation facility construction that begins on or after January 1, 2021. A permanent 10% ITC is available for non-residential solar generation facility construction that begins on or after January 1, 2022.
Certain wind facilities are eligible for production tax credits, which are federal income tax credits based on the quantity of renewable energy produced and sold during the first ten years of production, or ITCs in lieu of PTCs. These credits are available only for wind power plants that began construction on or prior to December 31, 2019 but are reduced over time. The wind PTCs (and ITC in lieu of PTC) are 100% (of the amount otherwise available) in the case of a facility for which construction began by December 31, 2016, 80% (of the amount otherwise available) in the case of any facility for which construction began in 2017, 60% (of the amount otherwise available) in the case of a facility for which construction begins in 2018, and 40% (of the amount otherwise available) in the case of a facility for which construction begins in 2019. ITCs, PTCs and accelerated tax depreciation benefits generated by constructing and operating renewable energy facilities can be monetized by entering into tax equity financing agreements with investors that can utilize the tax benefits, which have been a key financing tool for renewable energy facilities. Based on our portfolio of assets, we will benefit from the ITC, PTC and an accelerated tax depreciation schedule, and we will rely on financing structures that monetize a substantial portion of these benefits and provide financing for our renewable energy facilities.
U.S. state government support for renewable energy
Many states offer a personal and/or corporate investment or production tax credit for renewable energy facilities, which is in addition to the ITC or PTCs. Further, more than half of the states, and many local jurisdictions, have established property tax incentives for renewable energy facilities that include exemptions, exclusions, abatements and credits. Certain of our renewable energy facilities in the U.S. have been financed with a tax equity financing structure, whereby the tax equity investor is a member holding equity in the limited liability company that directly or indirectly owns the solar generation facility or wind power plant and receives the benefits of various tax credits.
Many state governments, utilities, municipal utilities and co-operative utilities offer a rebate or other cash incentive for the installation and operation of a renewable energy facility. Capital costs or “up-front” rebates provide funds based on the cost, size or expected production of a customer’s renewable energy facility. Performance-based incentives provide cash payments to a system owner based on the energy generated by their renewable energy facility during a pre-determined period, and they are paid over that time period. Some states also have established FIT programs that are a type of performance-based incentive where the system owner-producer is paid a set rate for the electricity their system generates over a set period of time.
A majority of states have a regulatory policy known as net metering. Net metering typically allows our customers to interconnect their on-site solar generation facilities to the utility grid and offset their utility electricity purchases by receiving a bill credit at the utility’s retail rate for energy generated by their solar generation facility that is exported to the grid. At the end of the billing period, the customer simply pays for the net energy used or receives a credit at the retail rate if more energy is