Transferable Tax Credits and the 2022 Inflation Reduction Act
The EPA has described the energy transition provisions of the Inflation reduction Act (“IRA”) as “the most significant climate legislation in U.S. history”.
The IRA directs nearly $400 billion of federal funding to clean energy, with the goal of substantially lowering the nation’s carbon emissions by the end of this decade. The majority of the spending is in the form of tax credits. Corporations are the biggest recipient, with an estimated $216 billion worth of tax credits. These are designed to catalyze private investment in clean energy, transport, and manufacturing.
Perhaps the most impactful provision of the IRA is that it radically changes how green energy developers can monetize their tax credits. Now, instead of having to enter into complex partnership flip transactions, developers can simply sell these federal credits to unrelated C Corp taxpayers.
Most of the current renewable tax equity investors will continue to operate in the $16-20B traditional tax equity markets. Because of this, there is going to be a need for a substantial amount of transfer tax credit buyers starting in 2023 and lasting for at least the next 10 years.
Tax credit buyers will require indemnification from the transferors on a variety of factors including credit eligibility (technology, wage and apprentice rules, bonus adders, in service date, etc.), ITC recapture risk, ITC eligible basis, confirmation of the output for qualifying Production Tax Credits (PTCs) has been realized. Indemnification for these risks can be provided by either a creditworthy transferor or tax credit insurance.
We anticipate that market pricing will evolve along a spectrum where large scale projects, with proven technology and creditworthy sponsors standing behind the indemnities will secure the best pricing while smaller projects with newer technology and thinly capitalized developers may have to offer steeper discounts.
You can learn more about the legislation through the following links: