Development of solar energy projects creates traditional and unique project development challenges. Our Energy and Renewables team has extensive experience guiding solar energy projects and representing stakeholders in all issues related to solar energy, including project development, real estate and environmental matters. We have a deep understanding of statewide, regional and local regulations, ordinances and processes, and have a track record of guiding projects to completion on time and on budget.
As the demand for green energy solutions continues to grow, so do new opportunities in this corner of the renewable energy industry. Phillips Lytle’s experience with solar energy projects has allowed us to oversee projects that have redeveloped over 700 acres of brownfields for solar energy projects. Our representation of solar clients covers issues such as lease agreements, environmental reviews, issues related to installing solar panels and more. Conversely, tax credit programs and government incentives open new doors for companies and other businesses seeking to support renewable energy and enter the solar energy industry.
Thanks to our extensive experience in siting energy projects, our attorneys are well-equipped to navigate the current Office of Renewable Energy Siting (ORES) process. Our work with solar energy projects includes meeting complex framework of Public Service Commission (PSC) requirements in addition to those set by the New York Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) which govern brownfields and landfills.
Our team has significant experience with the NYSDEC Brownfield Cleanup Program and with siting solar projects on brownfields. Our background with brownfield development for solar projects helps developers navigate potential environmental risks while repurposing the land. Similarly, our experience with landfills includes the necessary agency interactions specific to landfill closure, plus crucial liability protections related to redeveloping landfills.
Our long history of representing solar energy development has included guiding clients through the complex and often competitive process of qualifying for solar incentives and tax matters. Solar power project development incentives are offered through the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA); the popular MW Block Program is one which can provide positive impacts for a project’s economics. Our attorneys are well versed in ensuring a project not only meets the program requirements, but also demonstrates to NYSERDA that a project is deserving of the funding.
Additionally, our Energy and Renewables attorneys have assisted numerous clients with projects that require navigating the common challenges which arise in PILOT negotiations. Our attorneys also aid in the necessary planning to minimize a project’s tax burden, should it be required.
Phillips Lytle has a deep bench of Land Use, Permitting and Zoning attorneys who have specific experience developing solar projects. Our attorneys have successfully navigated the zoning process for solar projects in more than 37 municipalities throughout New York State. Our experience with land use, permitting and zoning includes rezoning, site plan reviews, special use permits, subdivision applications and variances. We guide projects through local zoning requirements and processes to get to approvals on schedule.
Our team assists in handling virtually all real estate aspects of project development. This includes acquisition of necessary land interests and due diligence. We have vast experience in all aspects of real estate and can help clients quickly and efficiently navigate a variety of transactions.
Additionally, our attorneys have experience negotiating substantive project conditions within the zoning context, such as negotiation of financial incentives, decommissioning requirements and project bonds.
Phillips Lytle attorneys have extensive experience counseling clients on the State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA) for solar projects and other real estate matters. We have experience with inner-agency dynamics and the proper approach for handling environmental conditions on any site. We are also well versed in SEQRA’s procedural requirements and can ensure the process is completed both efficiently and in accordance with the letter of the law.
Phillips Lytle Energy and Renewables attorneys have extensive experience assisting clients with drafting and negotiating solar leases. We utilize our deep background in negotiating leases and navigating land use agreements through the experience and knowledge of our Real Estate attorneys to guide clients through the leasing process as part of a solar power development.
The Energy and Renewables attorneys at Phillips Lytle have represented numerous clients in traditional and virtual power purchase agreement negotiations and interconnection contracts. Our work is comprised of structuring, negotiating and executing power purchase agreements.
We take care to adhere to any applicable state or federal laws which govern green energy and solar projects. This often includes close work with federal agencies that may have additional oversight related to certain projects or selected sites. We apply our extensive experience to meet the expectations of all parties involved and to stay ahead of any regulatory requirements that will need to be met as part of our clients’ projects.