Merrill L. Kramer

New York State Revises Solar and Wind Property Tax Calculator

On September 17, 2021, the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance came out with a second (revised) preliminary appraisal model for assessing solar and wind energy projects. Its initial preliminary appraisal model was issued on August 2, 2021.  Comments on both proposed property tax assessment models are due on October 1, 2021.

All local taxing jurisdictions in New York will require the use of the tax assessment model to assess renewable energy projects.  Publication and use of a uniform methodology for assessing renewable projects is one of several recent changes to the New York Real Property Tax Laws (RPTL) that the state recently enacted to promote solar, wind, and other renewable energy projects.

One of those changes was requiring local tax assessors to adopt a uniform income capitalization, or discounted cash flow, valuation approach to assess renewable energy property. An income capitalization approach values the project using the net present value of a project’s future cash flows using

NY Appellate Court Enforces 60-Day Deadline for Local Governments to Require PILOT Agreements from Solar Developers

Decision binding on all local state taxing authorities

The Appellate Division of the New York courts has affirmed that a local governmental taxing authority must notify a solar project developer within 60 days from when the developer first notifies the authority of its plans to construct a solar facility that the authority intends to require the developer to enter into a Payment in Lieu of Taxes, or PILOT Agreement, or the taxing authority foregoes its right to require a PILOT Agreement from the project developer. Matter of Laertes Solar, LLC v Assessor of the Town of Harford (2020 NY Slip Op 02302).

Most cities, counties, school districts, and other local government authorities in New York have authority to tax real property.  Local governments often use their taxing power to assess solar energy facilities being developed in their jurisdictions as “improvements” to the property.

As part of New York’s concerted effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the

Massachusetts SMART Solar Program Opens

On November 26, 2018 the Solar Massachusetts Renewable Target (SMART) Program opened for applications.

SMART is a new renewable incentive program established to support development of 1600 MW of new solar projects in Massachusetts. The program provides renewable energy project owners with a tariff based incentive that is paid directly by the utility company to the project owner, plus additional location- and customer-based incentives.

To qualify for the program you must file an application with the State Solar Program Administrator. Eligible projects will need to be interconnected to one of the three investor owned utility companies in Massachusetts: Eversource, National Grid, and Unitil. Each utility has established capacity blocks that decline in incentives with each block. The blocks are filled on a first-come, first-served basis.

The initial application period opened on November 26 and will continue through November 30, 2018. All applications received before midnight November 30, 2018 will be