$100 Trillion for Solar Investment Revealed at Intersolar North America


QDOTS imagesCAKXSY1K 8To get into the marketplace, solar needs “a tradable liquid product.”

Herman K. Trabish: July 12, 2013

 

 

There is $100 trillion looking for a good solar investment, according to NREL Senior Finance Analyst Michael Mendelsohn. The only obstacle is perceived risk.

Fund money — pension funds, insurance funds, mutual funds, sovereign wealth funds, private equity funds, hedge funds, exchange traded funds (ETFs), and private wealth — isn’t coming to solar and other renewable energies because “we need a tradable liquid product,” Mendelsohn said in an opening day session at Intersolar North America 2013 in San Francisco.

Risk is an obstacle for solar, explained New Oak Founder/CEO Ron D’Vari, because markets are characterized by “short memory and fear.”

Strategies for reducing perceived risk are proliferating. TruSolar’s industry-wide undertaking aims to include every possible risk input, currently numbering over 400 factors, into a score that qualifies and prices a solar project’s risk in every dimension of the value chain.

Indicative of the way solar finance is changing, a survey by truSolar of project originators with over 2 gigawatts’ worth of cumulative installed capacity and 5 gigawatts of pipeline capacity found that 80 percent do not expect current tax equity leaders will be tomorrow’s solar finance leaders.

Less ambitious efforts to quantify and characterize risk are the Mercatus software platform and Wiser Capital’s WASR rating system. Mercatus’ online application scores projects in eight categories to create a FICO-like score and opens up a digital deal room for project developers and investment bankers. Wiser Capital’s rating system quantifies risk for community banks looking to invest in community solar.

In a more traditional approach to risk, solar manufacturer and distributor aleo solar North America will offer one-call warranty resolution for its solar modules through solar project insurer Assurant. Aimed at residential rooftop solar-system owners, Assurant’s warranty management is intended to eliminate consumer concerns by providing a single point of contact for any warranty-related claim. Less consumer risk should, Assurant believes, translate into more solar adoption.

But that is just the beginning, Mendelsohn said. To transition away from the investment tax credit (ITC) and traditional equity finance, the solar industry needs to expand the availability of capital.

To sustain its growth, solar must double available capital by 2020. “The only way to get there is public markets,” Mendelsohn said. Vehicles will likely include master limited partnerships, real estate investment trusts (REITs), asset-backed securitization, credit enhancements like tax credits and loan guarantees, and first loss provisions like co-investment or public mezzanine investment.

Mendelsohn expressed ambivalence about the much-discussed REITs because qualifying for them might disqualify solar projects from eligibility for accelerated depreciation and the ITC, incentives that have won solar much traditional tax equity backing. Securitization, on the other hand, holds much promise, Mendelsohn said.

Securitization is going to be a part of this business,” agreed Capital Fusion Partners CEO John Joshi, “but not a panacea. And I’m not a believer in first loss vehicles. That’s not the way to go. Fannie and Freddie are the perfect examples. If you don’t believe in your portfolio, I don’t want anything going to you.”

To qualify for the big money, Mendelsohn said, solar must standardize the documents associated with finance and build robust data sets that eliminate perceived risk.

The final product must be a tradable liquid asset that earns the approval of credit rating agencies.

Astonfield Renewables’s Osiyan Project earned just that kind of recognition from CRISIL, India’s version of a Standard & Poor’s-type credit rating agency. As announced at Intersolar, the 5-megawatt thin film installation was rated A- by CRISIL, the first A-level rating ever earned by a solar project and a landmark in the Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission‘s (JNNSM) drive toward 20,000 megawatts of grid-connected solar by 2022.

The Astonfield project’s European-manufactured T-Cell modules, though no longer allowed under new local content requirements, have set a reliability standard for India’s emerging domestic PV manufacturers. The project’s 25-year power purchase agreement with NTPC Vidyut Vyapar Nigam, the JNNSM-approved national utility, promises secure long-term returns.

“The credit rating shows the project’s ability to pay back investors,” an Astonfield representative noted. “And India needs foreign investors.”

Tags: asset backed securities, data, etfs, exchange traded funds, intersolar north america, jnnsm, master limited partnerships, mlp, mutual funds, nrel, pension funds, private equity funds, real estate investment trust, reit, risk

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Quantum Materials Corporation Announces Non-Heavy Metal (Cadmium-Free) Tetrapod Quantum Dots


QDOTS imagesCAKXSY1K 8Quantum Materials Corporation Announces Non-Heavy Metal (Cadmium-Free) Tetrapod Quantum Dots

6:00 AM ET 2/12/13 | PR Newswire

 

quantum material corp logoQuantum Materials Corporation (QMC) (OTCQB:QTMM) announces a new class of cadmium-free, non-REE, non-heavy metal tetrapod quantum dots (NHM-TPQD) developed to meet worldwide concerns regarding nanoparticle biocompatibility and sustainability.

QMC can produce industrial scale quantities of NHM-TPQD using proprietary continuous flow chemistry processes with over 90% tetrapod shape and size uniformity, unmatched in the industry. The new availability of a reliable supply of high quantities of uniform and low cost non-heavy metal tetrapod quantum dots will spur development of products and applications in next-generation displays, sensors, biomedical research, diagnostics and drug delivery, security and conductive inks, solid-state lighting (SSL) and photovoltaic solar cells, currently under development by QMC subsidiary Solterra Renewable Technologies.

Quantum dots in biomedical imaging are unique fluorescent probes with advantages over dyes and other fluorophores. QMC has made improvements in quantum dot brightness (high quantum yield), photostability for longer sample lifetime, high uniformity, narrow band, wide spectrum, and tunable emission spectrum. According to a 2012 market research report by Global Industry Analyst, Inc., the total market for Global BioImaging Technologies in 2017 is forecast to reach $34.7 billion.

In 2011, Quantum Materials and NanoAxis LLC pioneered a Joint Alliance to develop Tetrapod Quantum Dot based Cancer diagnostic kits and theranostic applications including Alzheimer’s, Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes, Breast Cancer and Major Depression.

Quantum Materials CEO and Founder, Mr. Stephen Squires commented, “While our cadmium-based high-brightness tetrapod quantum dots are unparalleled in photovoltaic solar cell applications and especially for commercializing high value, small quantity in vitro research and lab applications, our non-heavy metal tetrapod quantum dot answers the world’s ecological and in vivo human toxicological concerns for mass-produced QD in the biotech and other fields of science.”

Quantum Materials Corporation is poised to become the world’s largest manufacturer of quantum dots by scaling production to multiple kilograms per day in 2013. QMC’s production is not subject to any other manufacturer’s patents and QMC is free to joint venture and to license its technology.

Mr. Squires is speaking at the CHI Emerging Diagnostics Partnering Forum in San Francisco this week on quantum dot applications in the next generation of diagnostic assays, multiplexed drug delivery platforms and handheld POC devices. Quantum Materials Corporation is then exhibiting at the CHI Molecular Med Tri-Conference on February 13-14, Booth 622.

About Quantum Materials Corporation and its subsidiary, Solterra Renewable Technologies

QUANTUM MATERIALS CORPORATION, INC. has a steadfast vision that advanced technology is the solution to the most challenging of global issues. Quantum Materials Corporation is devoted to the deployment of technologies to invigorate the development of disruptive solutions through cost reduction and moving laboratory discovery to commercialization with volume manufacturing methods to establish a growing line of innovative high performance products.

Thinfilm Demonstrates First Integrated Printed Electronic System


Posted: Dec 21st, 2012

QDOTS imagesCAKXSY1K 8(Nanowerk News) Thin Film Electronics ASA announced the  first proof-of-concept prototype of an integrated printed electronic tag based  on rewritable memory. The printed electronic label, consisting of printed  memory, sensor and logic, detects that critical temperature thresholds have been  exceeded and records data digitally for later retrieval and display.
Such labels can deliver item-level tracking of quality data for  goods such as pharmaceuticals and perishable foods. The Thinfilm integrated  system shows how low-cost, disposable printed electronic technology will provide  information about product history based on data stored in Thinfilm Memory™.
“Integration of functionality is one of the most compelling  benefits of printed electronics. Demonstrating an integrated, interactive  prototype tag is a significant commercial breakthrough for the printed  electronics industry. The Thinfilm system prototype shows that multiple  electronic functions can be delivered on an electronic, disposable tag,” said  Raghu Das, IDTechEx.
Three different printed devices—memory, logic, and temperature  sensor—were shown to work together sensing a temperature threshold and writing  to memory. The gathered data triggered a display through external circuitry to  illustrate the tags’ expected commercial functionality.  Integrating memory,  logic, sensors and displays using printed circuitry is critical for the delivery  of cost-effective, mass-produced printed electronic devices.
“The promise of printed electronics rests on its ability to  catalyze the coming technology wave often referred to as the Internet of Things.  Making electronics ubiquitous requires not only cheap components but also ways  of integrating them. The ability to store, process, and communicate local  information makes ordinary objects aware of their environment. These smart  objects become our agents, gathering actionable data, and displaying it when we  need to get involved. Whether sensing temperature or communicating other  hazards, Thinfilm sensor tags follow the product to the last mile, in  applications where conventional electronic measurement systems often cannot be  deployed, either because of cost or a lack of tailorability to individual  product packaging,” said Davor Sutija, CEO of Thinfilm.
The Thinfilm Temperature Sensor prototype integrates components  developed by several Thinfilm eco-system partners. PARC led development of the  organic logic circuitry within design rules and functional specifications  provided by Thinfilm. PST Sensors provided the fully printed thermistor, and  ACREO supplied the electrochromic display.
“This demonstration is a key step towards Intelligent Packaging,  and contributes directly to the Bemis Intelligent Packaging Platform that we are  creating with Thinfilm,” said Don Nimis, President of Shield Pack, a division of  Bemis Company, Inc., one of the world’s leaders in food and medical products  packaging. “Intelligent Packaging will help Bemis customers monitor the quality  of their products individually and consistently.”
In this video, hot and cold objects are  respectively placed on a temperature sensor. When the temperature exceeds a  pre-designed threshold, the fact is stored into the Thinfilm Memory through  organic logic. An ultra-low-cost display is used to show whether the temperature  threshold was exceeded.
Additional circuitry, including a timer function and wireless  communication, will be added to the system. Commercial availability is expected  by the end of 2014.
Thinfilm’s printed electronic technology has been singled out  for praise from a variety of sources. Most recently Thinfilm won the World  Technology Innovation Award for materials and was named a runner-up for the  Technology Innovation Award for Semiconductors by The Wall Street Journal. This  recognition follows important printed electronics industry awards earlier this  year from both the FlexTech Alliance and IDTechEx. Thinfilm was also recently  recognized by GigaOm as one of the 15 Most Innovative Companies in mobile.
Portions of this work were funded by Innovation Norway, and by  Flextech Alliance. Thinfilm and its partners gratefully acknowledge their  support.
About Thinfilm
Thin Film Electronics ASA is a leader in the development of  printed electronics. The first to commercialize printed rewritable memory,  Thinfilm is creating printed system products that will include memory, sensing,  display and wireless communication—at a cost-per-functionality unmatched by any  other electronic technology.  Thinfilm’s roadmap of system products integrates  technology from a strong and growing ecosystem of partners to enable the  Internet of Things by bringing intelligence to disposable goods. Company  headquarters are in Oslo, Norway, with product development in Linköping, Sweden,  sales offices in San Francisco, USA, and Tokyo, Japan, and manufacturing in  Pyongtaek, South Korea. http://www.thinfilm.no
Source: Thinfilm (press  release)

SPIE Photonics West, February in San Francisco: QMC to Present


QDOTS imagesCAKXSY1K 8SPIE Photonics West 2013 expects to see growth from the largest-yet Biomedical Optics technical program and BiOS Expo. With strong programs in LASE, OPTO, and MOEMS-MEMS as well, the international event is expected to draw more than last year’s 20,000 attendees to the Moscone Center in San Francisco, California, 2-7 February.

Note To Readers: Invited Speaker & Exhibitor At The “Emerging Molecular Diagnostics Parterning Furum” Feb 11-12 at Moscone Center San Francisco.

Mr. Stephen Squires (Quantum Materials Corporation) topic is “Flow Chemistry Process Biocompatable Inorganic High Quantum Yield Tetrapod Quantum Dots For The Next Generation of Diagnostic Assays, Multiplexed Drug Delivery Platforms and POC Devices”.

Tetra-Pod quantum dots can fulfill so many needs in the pharma and biomedicine area.

Nearly 1300 exhibiting companies are expected with 200 product launches. A SPIE Startup Challenge will offer cash award sponsored by Jenoptik to offer aspiring entrepreneurs venture capital exposure and mentoring.

Approximately 235 exhibiting companies are expected for the BiOS Expo. Available space in the exhibition halls is filling fast, and late-booking companies for the Photonics West Exhibition face the prospect of a waiting list.

Technical conference presentations are up approximately 5% over last year, with more than 4450 organized into four topical areas ― BiOS, LASE, MOEMS-MEMS, and OPTO ― and the Green Photonics virtual symposium.

The BiOS program provides the latest information on biomedical optics, diagnostics and therapeutics, biophotonics, molecular imaging, optical microscopy, optical coherence tomography, and optogenetics.

New conferences reflect important advances in personalized medicine:

  • Terahertz and Ultrashort Electromagnetic Pulses for Biomedical   Applications
  • Optogenetics and Hybrid-Optical Control of Cells
  • Optical Methods in Developmental Biology
  • Bioinspired, Biointegrated, Bioengineered Photonic Devices.

Opening-day speakers in the popular BiOS Hot Topics session include:

  • Ernst Bamberg (Max Planck Institute), optogenetics and hybrid-optical control of cells
  • Ben Potsaid (Massachusetts Institute of Technology), MEMs tunable VCSEL technology for ultrahigh-speed OCT
  • Dan Oron (Weizmann Institute of Science), patterned multiphoton photoactivation in scattering tissue by temporal focusing
  • Jonathan Sorger (Intuitive Surgical), clinical requirements for optical imaging in medical robotics
  • Bernard Choi (Beckman Laser Institute), camera-based functional imaging of tissue hemodynamics
  • Mathias Fink (Institute ESPCI, CNRS), multiwave approach to elasticity imaging for cancer detection
  • Joe Culver (Washington University in St. Louis), functional optical imaging of the brain
  • Vladimir Zharov (University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences), photoacoustic flow cytometry.

The MOEMS-MEMS program has seen a jump in submissions, driven primarily by more papers in the areas of microfluidics, bioMEMS, and medical microsystems, along with papers on micro-optics, and adaptive optics. Papers explore how MEMS and MOEMS will enable the mass-produced miniaturized products and integrated systems of the future. Plenary speakers are:

  • Bozena Kaminska (Simon Fraser University), future systems with nano-optics contributions
  • Aaron Knoblach (GE Global Research), optical MEMS pressure sensors for geothermal well monitoring
  • Kaili Jiang (Tsinghua University), super-aligned carbon nanotubes.

Presentations in the OPTO program cover the latest developments in a broad range of optoelectronic technologies and their integration for a variety of commercial applications. Topics include silicon photonics, photonic crystals, optoelectronics, semiconductor lasers, quantum dots, and nanophotonics. Plenary speakers are:

  • Markus Aspelmeyer (University of Vienna), quantum optomechanics
  • Richard Soref (University of Massachusetts, Boston), group IV photonics for the mid-IR
  • Miles Padgett (University of Glasgow), optical angular momentum.

The LASE program focus is on laser sources, lasers for manufacturing, lasers for micro/nanoengineering, and other applications. Highlights include laser resonators, fiber, solid state, and high-power lasers for materials processing and the world’s largest concentration of semiconductor laser/LED content.

Plenary speakers are:

  • Wim Leemans (Lawrence Berkeley National Lab), particle acceleration and TeV physics and compact x-ray and gamma-ray sources
  • Martin Wegener (Karlsruhe Institute of Technology), 3D metamaterials made by direct laser writing
  • Geert Verhaeghe (Faurecia Autositze), remote laser welding in automotive production.

A virtual symposium on Green Photonics reflects the integration of enabling photonics technologies in solutions to the world’s environmental and energy challenges. More than 65 papers from throughout the program are highlighted in this symposium.

Executive panels on market trends in photonics, sustainable technology, and silicon photonics and photonics integrated circuits and a talk by SPIE CEO Eugene Arthurs on government initiatives and opportunities for growth in photonics provide strong industry-focused content.

More than 70 short courses providing CEU accreditation provide a valuable resource for working professionals, spanning essential topics in optical, biomedical, laser, manufacturing, and optoelectronics engineering.

A comprehensive set of professional development workshops and other activities for students and early career professionals are offered, and the event will provide numerous opportunities for valuable networking throughout the week.

Accepted papers will be published in the SPIE Digital Library as soon as approved after the meeting, and in print volumes and digital collections.

ARAPA-E Backs 66 New Projects


The Department of Energy’s high-risk early stage grant program, ARPA-E, has announced 66 new energy-related projects that will get small amounts of funding and mentorship from the DOE. ARPA-E said that it will give 66 groups — from universities, to startups, to government labs to large companies — a combined $130 million through its Open 2012 program to help them with cutting edge innovation around cleaner and more efficient transportation as well as energy generation and consumption.

The ARPA-E program is one of the DOE’s lauded programs, which has managed to gain bipartisan support and avoid controversy. In contrast, the DOE’s loan guarantee program and battery grant programs allocated large funds to single companies, and when a few of those companies went bankrupt, the DOE received significant criticism.

The ARPA-E program, on the other hand, only gives grants of small — hundreds of thousands to single digit millions — amounts and doesn’t expect to get a return back. It’s funding for basic scientific research. The program also backs so-called “moonshots,” which are innovations that could be transformational, but are at a very early stage — a very small amount of these technologies will probably ever be commercialized. The folks at ARPA-E now say they’ve backed 285 projects for a total of about $770 million in funding.

There were fewer startups in the mix than I’ve seen in recent years. It’s a lot harder to be an entrepreneur in this space these days. Some of the more interesting sounding projects in this crop include:

  • Energy beets: Say wha? A company called Plant Sensory Systems, has received a $1.8 million grant to engineer a beet with enhanced energy density that can be turned into biofuels, and which can also be grown with less water and fertilizer.
  • Waste natural gas to fuel: A company called Ceramatec was granted $1.7 million to build a reactor that can convert natural gas unearthed at remote oil field sites into fuel in one step. This natural gas is usually flared off and wasted.
  • Smart window coatings: Lawrence Berkeley National Labs will use a $3 million grant to low cost coatings for windows that will control light and heat.
  • Portable building mapping tech: LBNL received another grant, this one for $1.9 million, to make a device that senses and maps the internal and thermal characteristics for a building. Using this technology, you can see where heat loss is occurring. Sounds like Essess.
  • Cool roofs: Stanford University is looking to develop a low cost coating for roofs, buildings and cars that reflects sunlight and enables passive cooling. ARPA-E gave Stanford $400,000 to build the tech.
  • Smart grid security modelling: The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign received a $1.5 million grant to create a modelling and analysis tools to make the smart grid more secure.
  • Gas-based tech for high voltage power lines: The traditional way to control electricity over high voltage transmission lines is using silicon-based switches. GE’s Global Research division received a $4.1 million grant to work on a gas-based switch that can lower the cost of transmission lines, improve grid reliability, and help with clean power deployment.
  • Super wires: A startup called Grid Logic is working on low cost and high temperature superconducting wires. ARPA-E gave the company a $3.8 million grant.
  • Transmission line analytics: Pacific Northwest National Labs received a $1.6 million grant to develop analytics to find unused space on transmission lines and increase efficiency of the use of transmission lines by 30 percent.
  • Big data grid collection: The University of California, Berkeley, along with the California Institute for Energy and Environment, have received $4 million to develop “micro” synchrophasors to collect real time grid data. Are these even smaller versions of the synchrophasors out there? Not sure, I’ll do some research on it.
  • Water wing: Brown University will work on an “oscillating underwater wing” that can capture energy from flowing water in rivers and tides. They’ll control it with software. I feel like a lot of companies who make these design really nice ones, but the problem is in making sure it lasts years while being battered by water and the elements. Brown received $750,000 for this project.
  • Fabric wind blades: GE has quite a few projects in here. Another one is a project to create wind blades made out of fabric stretched across a frame. GE says such blades could enable wind turbines to be “manufactured in sections and assembled on-site, enabling the construction of much larger wind turbines with higher efficiency and lower cost.”
  • Energy from dust devils: Here’s a weird one (for @go2cleanbreak’s book). The Georgia Institute for Technology wants to use a $3.7 million grant to capture energy from wind vortices by harvesting a thin layer of hot air along the ground created by the sun. Like a manufactured, controlled dust devil. I don’t know what to say about that one.
  • Mini mirror solar field: San Francisco’s own Otherlab is working on developing solar projects with small mirrors that will focus light onto towers. Usually these types of fields (like Ivanpah) use large mirrors.
  • New Valley battery startup?: A startup called Alveo Energy won a $4 million grant for a battery for grid storage that will use Prussian Blue dye as the active material in the battery. They were founded in 2012, based in Palo Alto and their CEO is Colin Wessells, according to Google searches (they don’t have a website). If anyone knows more about this company, ping me.
  • Magnetic energy storage: Here’s a new one. The Tai Yang Research Company wants to create a device that stores energy in superconducting cables, by increasing magnetic field strength of the cable.
  • Solar fuel: The Georgia Institute of Technology received $3.6 million to build a solar reactor to produce solar fuel. Sounds like what Joule has been working on … by the way, whatever happened to them?
  • Printed batteries: The Palo Alto Research Center got close to a million dollars to develop printing technology for lithium ion batteries

Image courtesy of Peyri, and rosmary.

IRS to Rule on Status of Solar PV Owned by REITs


 

Note To Readers: We have been following this development in “match-making” which, we believe, will open an entire new avenue of financing ‘green power’ (including wind and geothermal) Power Agreements. How soon will the IRS ruling have an impact in the marketplace? Good question. However, with the ‘flow through’ tax structure of a REIT providing broader access to investors and markets … “the Sun’s the limit”!   Cheers!  – BWH –

 

 

A solar power facility in Chicago, Illinois. (Image credit: Getty Images North America via @daylife)

Tom Konrad, Contributor

The biggest open question in my article Solar REITs: A Better Way to Invest in Solar was, when will we have a ruling from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS)?

In particular,

  • Will solar photovoltaics (PV) be considered real property for purposes of Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) ownership?
  • Will revenue from power purchase agreements (PPAs) with utilities be considered rents?

These are both important, because in order to qualify for their special tax status, REITs must receive 75% of its gross income from IRS-defined “rents” on “real property.”  The IRS has substantial leeway to determine what qualifies as both “rent” ans as “real property,” hence the need for a ruling to clarify matters.

As I discussed, the IRS issues rulings in response to either a taxpayer request (this is a “private letter ruling”) or in response to a request from a government official (a “revenue ruling.”)  My sources told me that a revenue ruling is generally considered preferable because the chances of an outcome that would allow REITs more freedom to own and derive revenue from PV are higher if there is a government official behind the request.  A revenue ruling also has the advantage that it is immediately applicable to all taxpayers, while a private letter ruling is only binding on the requesting taxpayer and the IRS.  In practice, however, private letter rulings set precedents which other taxpayers and tax attorneys can reasonably expect to have broader application.

When I wrote the article, I knew there were rumors that a revenue ruling might be requested soon, but not if any taxpayers had yet requested private letter rulings.  Private letter rulings are, after all, private between the taxpayer and the IRS.  The only way to learn about a taxpayer’s request is if the taxpayer makes it public.

The Renewable Energy Trust Capital, Inc. (RET), a San Francisco, CA based mission-driven company founded in 2011 to “facilitate the transition to a clean and sustainable economy,” is requesting a private letter ruling, andannounced the fact in late September.  I spoke to RET’s CFO, Christian Fong, CFA about RET’s request.  I was interested in both the timing of the request, and and RET’s motivations and plans.

Timing

Fong stated that RET filed its request over the summer, but emphasized that the request is a process, in which there is considerable back-and-forth between the IRS and RET.

Why not wait for a revenue ruling?

Fong stated that the “industry lacks clarity” on REIT ownership of PV.  He says it’s necessary that someone ask the question so that the industry can “move forward one way or another.”

What RET plans to do with their ruling

Although Fong said nothing to imply it, it’s also possible that RET is interested in gaining a first mover advantage.  RET has gathered venture capital, which they intend to use to form a REIT or REITs.  Those REITs will buy PV assets which will be maintained by RET’s strategic partner, True South Renewables.  The REIT will then be listed on a stock exchange and sold to individual investors.  Since Solar REITs will be a new asset class which I expect to be attractive to income investors, the first listed solar REITs will probably sell for a premium, allowing the first movers to make larger profits for creating the first solar REITs than the organizers of subsequent REITs.  That potential profit is not a bad thing, however, but rather compensation for the effort of going ahead and working through the process with the IRS.

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Has the IRS received any other requests?

Because the only way the public is likely to find out about a private letter ruling request is if the taxpayer behind the request announces it, it is quite possible that there are other requests in process.  However, as Joshua L. Sturtevant, and associate with Distributed Sun of Washington, DC told me in my interview with him for my previous article, the IRS will likely want to deal with this issue only once.  Hence, we can expect that the service has consolidated the ruling requests it has received to date, and will most likely issue the rulings together.

What it will mean for the industry

Fong says RET’s intent is to show investors that solar is “not vaporware.”  Solar PV is a solid asset that generates real cash flows for investors.  RET is clearly ready to create and list one of the first (if not the first) solar REITs as soon as the IRS issues a ruling that allows solar REITs in any form.  Such REITs will be a boon for green income investors, and probably bring even grater benefits to solar developers, who currently have relatively limited and expensive sources of capital to use developing PV projects.