Earlier this year, as part of the New York State budget, the Legislature enacted New York State Real Property Tax Law Section 575-b (RPTL 575-b), which creates new requirements for the real property taxation of wind and solar energy projects that have a nameplate capacity of 1 megawatt (MW) or greater. These new requirements are applicable to projects that are not subject to a payment in lieu of taxes (PILOT) agreement and, notwithstanding these statutory changes, municipalities will continue to have the flexibility to enter into PILOT agreements with project proponents. Municipalities are likely, however, to look to the new requirements for guidance when negotiating such PILOT agreements.

Continue Reading New York State Department of Taxation and Finance Issues Preliminary Appraisal Model and Discount Rates for Solar and Wind Energy Projects – Comments Due by October 1, 2021

On August 20, 2020, the New York State Supreme Court, Appellate Division, Fourth Department issued a decision in Cornell University v. Board of Assessment Review (“Cornell University”), finding that a solar photovoltaic system is taxable real property. See No. CA 19-00339, slip op. 04636, 2020 WL 4876486 (4th Dep’t Aug. 20, 2020). This decision settled, at least in the Fourth Department, a real property tax question long considered—and feared—by solar developers. Although this decision has the potential for significant impacts on solar development projects throughout New York State, it may be possible to mitigate the financial impact of this tax burden with careful planning and mindful project decisions.
Continue Reading Solar Photovoltaic Systems Are Taxable Real Property: Fourth Department Decision Requires Consideration in Early Project Development