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Renewable Energy

Client and Industry Challenges

Concerns about energy security, availability and costs have resulted in an increased focus on renewable and alternative energy sources. While consumer demand and government incentives have provided ample opportunity for development and growth in the renewable energy sector, increased scrutiny and regulation also give rise to unique and often complex legal and business challenges.

Snell & Wilmer's renewable energy lawyers have extensive experience in renewable energy transactions. We are committed to being a leader in providing legal services to the renewable energy and clean technology industry, and to being at the forefront of many of the developments emerging from the renewable energy sector.

Clients We Serve

Our clients include lenders, tax credit investors, independent power producers, developers, power offtakers, construction contractors, entrepreneurs, venture capital and private equity firms, and strategic investors that concentrate in this industry. For our clients, we provide a comprehensive range of legal services tailored to suit the scope of their business and legal needs. We represent clients in various sectors within the renewable energy and clean technology industries, including:

  • Biofuels
  • Biomass
  • Cogeneration
  • Energy Storage
  • Geothermal
  • Solar
  • Wind
  • Various other alternative energy technologies

Why Clients Select Us

Breadth and Depth of Experience: Our firm's numerous practice groups work together to provide interdisciplinary representation to our clients in the renewable energy industry, and our attorneys have a diverse array of practice focuses applicable to emerging and established renewable energy companies. Additionally, our network of offices and professionals are ideally located in many of the areas experiencing the strongest growth in renewable energy and clean technology development.

Experience

Our renewable energy attorney practice extends to and beyond the following areas:

Project Finance

We have represented numerous parties in financing renewable energy projects. This includes representing lenders with respect to making nonrecourse loans to project level entities secured by equipment and revenue streams. We have also represented developers and independent power producers in obtaining financing (including tax equity financing) to construct and operate a project.

Project Development and Infrastructure

As a firm, we have significant experience in the siting and construction of energy generation facilities and transmission infrastructure. Our experience includes land acquisition and leasing, environmental regulation, the negotiation of power purchase agreements, engineering, procurement and construction agreements, asset purchase and sale agreements, and other energy industry specific contracts.

Regulatory Matters and Legislative Support

The firm represents clients in a variety of regulatory proceedings, including numerous matters pertinent to the renewable energy industry, such as the development of renewable energy portfolio standards, contract approvals, distributed generation rules and net metering standards. We are also active in policy and legislative strategy relating to legislation and laws that are of concern to the renewable energy industry.

Venture Capital, Private Equity and M&A

Our corporate practice is well-equipped to handle the diverse needs of companies spanning from emerging businesses to seasoned public companies in the renewable energy industry. Our venture capital group represents companies of various stages that may be looking to raise funding or explore exit strategies or other strategic alternatives. Our mergers and acquisition group handles transactions of all sizes related to both private and publicly-held companies.

Indian Country

We are uniquely positioned to provide counsel to companies developing renewable energy generation facilities on Indian land. Attorneys in our Indian law practice have been involved in Indian law issues throughout the western United States and have extensive experience working with Indian tribes and tribal enterprises, the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the Department of the Interior. Our practice includes negotiation and counseling in federal and tribal law dealing with economic development, utilities and natural resources, private and public financing, tribal water rights, land and boundary claims, commercial leasing, development of tribal codes, ordinances, and regulations, tax issues, and drafting and advocacy related to federal and state legislation.

Intellectual Property

Our renewable energy lawyer team is experienced in protecting the proprietary technology of renewable energy companies. Should the need arise we are well-equipped to engage in dispute resolution or litigation to protect the interests of our clients.

Tax

Our tax team advises renewable energy companies, independent power producers and developers on issues related to project development and have experience in structuring projects and transaction in connection with, among other things, tax equity financing for renewable energy projects.

Representative Transactions

Project Finance

  • Represented lender in connection with $25 million line of credit to solar developer to finance residential solar leases in Arizona and California.
  • Represented regional bank in its tax equity investment (using sale-leaseback model) in numerous residential solar leases and equipment.
  • Represented solar developer in its development and financing of 20 MWs of distributed generation solar projects in the Midwest.
  • Represented lender in connection with $30 million nonrecourse loan to solar developer to purchase 12 MWs of distributed generation solar facilities in Arizona.
  • Represented solar contractor/developer in negotiation of the construction and development of 5 MWs solar facility in the Midwest.
  • Represented lender in making nonrecourse loans to solar developer engaged in a tax equity financing using the inverted lease model for the development of 5 MWs of distributed solar projects.
  • Represented lender in connection with $20 million nonrecourse loan to developer to finance 10 MWs solar facilities located in Arizona, California and Colorado.
  • Represented large utility in structuring a community solar model by using Investment Tax Credits as a major source of its financing.
  • Served as tax counsel to manufacturer of wind turbines for the creation of a financial model to expand project development opportunities.
  • Represented lender in the financing of a geothermal generation facility.

Project Development

  • Represented investor-owned utility in negotiating a Power Purchase Agreement for a utility-scale solar thermal generation facility with a nameplate capacity of more than 250 MWs.
  • Represented project developer in negotiating Power Purchase Agreement for 5 MWs solar thermal energy facility.
  • Represented solar developer in the negotiation of a joint development agreement with respect to projects totaling more than 200 MWs of nameplate capacity.
  • Represented independent power producer in negotiating Solar Services Agreement and Site License Agreement for a distributed generation photovoltaic solar facilities generating minimum of 20 MWs of electricity.
  • Represented distributed generation developer with respect to regulatory issues before the local utilities commission.
  • Represented offtaker in negotiation of largest solar photovoltaic distributed generation project within a state.
  • Represented developer of solar energy in land acquisition for the development of utility-scale solar photovoltaic generation facility.
  • Represent independent power producer in a project pipeline acquisition totaling more than 100 MW of nameplate capacity.
  • Represented purchasers of energy generation facilities in obtaining all necessary state and local permits and approvals, including air, water and land use permits.
  • Represented renewable energy developer with large PV solar projects including negotiating the power purchase agreement, structuring the tax credit financing and obtaining the necessary entitlements.

Miscellaneous

  • Served as lead tax counsel to a large residential solar integrator in obtaining groundbreaking IRS private letter ruling regarding the tax treatment of the sale of renewable energy credits (RECs).
  • Represented a solar technology manufacturer in the negotiation of a joint research agreement with a state university.
  • Represented wind turbine manufacturer in three venture capital rounds involving several prominent alternative energy venture capital funds.
  • Represented investor-owned utility in its investments in various alternative energy companies.
  • Represented corporate investor in a venture capital financing of a company focusing on implementing biotechnology based process to convert oil, shale and coal to natural gas.
  • Patent prosecution for various alternative energy technologies, including solar, advanced energy storage methods, fuel-cells and hydrogen fueling stations.