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Renewable Energy and Sustainability

 
  • Today, renewable energy is no longer viewed as solely a means for conservation, but also as a business enterprise capable of generating significant profits. Hill Wallack LLP’s Renewable Energy and Sustainability Team helps our clients achieve both goals, while counseling them on incentive programs and navigating new rules and regulations in the realm of renewable energy.

    The Renewable Energy and Sustainability Team includes attorneys with extensive experience and backgrounds in real estate, land use, transactional, environmental, corporate, regulatory, tax and project finance matters. This cross-disciplinary approach allows us to guide clients through every step of a renewable energy project in a cost-effective manner.

    Our Clients

    • Businesses
    • Developers
    • Government agencies
    • Property owners

    What We Do

    With experience representing clients in the development of more than 300MW of renewable projects, we are well-positioned to meet the needs of clients on a broad range of renewable energy and sustainability matters, such as those listed below.

    Solar & Wind Projects

    • Represent clients before municipal planning boards and zoning boards of adjustment to obtain land use approvals for renewable energy projects
    • Represent clients in the installation and operation of roof-mounted or ground-based solar photovoltaic energy systems
    • Counsel clients on New Jersey’s Solar Renewable Energy Credit (SREC) program and generating revenue from the sale of SRECs
    • Negotiate power purchase agreements and leases involving solar photovoltaic energy systems and wind turbine systems
    • Advise clients on locating windmill sites and power transmission infrastructure

    Renewable Energy Issues (Generally)

    • Represent lenders and developers in the financing of renewable energy projects
    • Advise clients on how to meet energy efficiency and renewable energy requirements
    • Negotiate business partnership agreements for renewable energy projects
    • Counsel clients on Board of Public Utility requirements for renewable energy projects
    • Conduct environmental due diligence of contaminated properties slated for construction of renewable energy projects

    Green Building & Finance

    • Advise clients on how to obtain various levels of Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification under the LEED Green Building Rating System
    • Represent clients in the negotiation of “green” leases

     

    Emerging Issues

    • Counsel clients on federal and state carbon trading and greenhouse gas programs and incentives
    • Advise clients on methane recapture projects associated with sanitary sewer treatment plants

    Representative Matters

    • We represented a Chinese energy company and its China-based law firm, in connection with its acquisition of a large solar farm. The proposed solar farm, rated at 10 megawatts and to be built on 102 acres of land, involved complex regulatory requirements. Our attorneys advised our international clients concerning the corporate transaction, municipal, county and state land use and environmental approvals, PJM Interconnection Grid approvals and utility connection approvals associated with the project. We also provided guidance concerning the procedures for registering with New Jersey’s Clean Energy Program and the trading of New Jersey Solar Renewable Energy Certificates (SRECs) on various market exchanges.
    • We represented a Chinese energy company and its China-based law firm, in connection with its efforts to acquire a solar company seeking to develop one of the largest solar farms in State of New Jersey. The purpose of the $39 million transaction was to facilitate their construction of a 12 megawatt solar farm in Upper Deerfield Township. Our attorneys conducted due diligence associated with the corporate transaction and advised the clients concerning the municipal, county and state land use and environmental approvals, PJM Interconnection Grid approvals and utility connection approvals required for the project. We also advised the clients concerning federal tax incentives available for the solar farm project, as well as changes in New Jersey’s SREC program that impacted the project.
    • We represented an alternative energy company, which was owned by Chinese investors, in connection with the sale of its 8.5 megawatt solar farm on a 60-acre tract in Springfield Township. The project, which was sold to an established New Jersey energy company, involved substantial due diligence. Our attorneys worked with the buyer on due diligence issues concerning the approvals, permits and agreements obtained by the company, such as the PJM Interconnection Approval, Public Service Electric and Gas Operations Coordination and Interconnection Agreement, Wholesale Market Participation Agreement and Interconnection Agreements, SRP Registration and SREC Approvals. We also coordinated various environmental clean-up issues on-site and worked with the municipal government to ensure that all local land use approvals and permits were in place.
    • We represented a local community college in connection with its development of a 9-megawatt solar farm on a 67-acre parcel of its campus. Our attorneys advised and represented the college concerning its Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with the private solar developer that will construct and maintain the solar facilities. We also represented the college with regard to its Surface Lease and Interconnection Agreement with Public Service Electric and Gas Company (PSE&G), which allows PSE&G to install connection facilities on the institutions property and provides for the connection of the project to PSE&G’s distribution system. The firm also defended the college in a prerogative writ lawsuit filed by neighborhood objectors who opposed the solar project on the basis of aesthetics and other impacts on the community.
    • We represented a local housing authority in its negotiations with a private solar company to install solar panels on the rooftops of all buildings owned by the authority. The project entails the lease of 250 acres of rooftop space to the solar company, which will finance, install and own the roof-mounted solar panels. The parties entered into a PPA, under which the solar company will receive the tax benefits and profits associated with the New Jersey SRECs and the authority will receive new roofs for its buildings and will purchase discounted electricity directly from the solar company. Our attorneys counseled the authority on all aspects of its power purchase agreement (PPAs) with the solar company, including the lease of the property, facility construction, power transmission, PJM Interconnection and utility connection, tax incentives, sharing of SREC profits and general liability issues.
    • We are represented two municipalities in Mercer County, New Jersey, in its efforts to develop a solar farm on a capped landfill owned by the two municipalities. This project entails the lease of a capped landfill owned by the municipalities to a private developer, which will finance, construct, own and operate a solar facility on the property. The developer will enter into a power purchase agreement (PPA) with a nearby sanitary sewerage treatment plant, and sell the solar output at a discounted rate to the treatment plant, which will in turn reduce its energy costs, and pass along the cost savings to the public end-users of the treatment plant. Our attorneys advised the municipalities on every aspect of the project, including the lease of the property, the land use procedures for developing a solar farm, tax incentives, the PPA and the procedures and details concerning registration with New Jersey’s Clean Energy Program and the trading of New Jersey SRECs on various exchange markets.
    • We represented a local social service organization in its negotiations with a private solar company on a PPA to facilitate the installation of solar panels on the rooftop of the organizations large facility in Hamilton Township, Mercer County. Under the PPA, the solar company will finance, install and own the roof-mounted panels, while solar company will receive the tax benefits and profits associated with the New Jersey SRECs. In exchange for allowing the solar company to use its roof, the organization will be able to purchase discounted electricity directly from the solar company, bypassing the more costly conventional electricity offered by utility companies. Our attorneys counseled the organization on all aspects of its power purchase agreements (PPA) with the solar company, including the use of the property, facility construction, power transmission, connection issues, disposition of tax incentives and New Jersey SREC profits and general liability issues.
    • We have represented a major solar developer in obtaining local land use approvals (site plan approvals, use variances and bulk variances) for combination ground and roof-based systems in various municipalities throughout New Jersey. We are well-versed in the procedures for obtaining local, county and state approvals and permits associated with solar projects.

    At Hill Wallack LLP, we like to say that our attorneys go beyond advising on the law, to help create the solutions that enable our clients to meet their goals.

    This approach is particularly vital in the areas of renewable energy and sustainability, where projects often require the dedication of teams that have experience on a number of fronts—as well as their pulse on shifting economic incentives, rapidly developing industry standards, and other fast-moving changes that can make or break a business model.