Practice/Industry Group Overview
Recent positive developments in regulatory requirements and incentives have strongly increased the demand for renewable energy in California, across the United States, and internationally. The field of energy production is rapidly changing. The attorneys of Carroll, Burdick & McDonough’s Renewable Energy team have been at the forefront of advising clean technology and alternative energy companies from the beginning of the “clean tech boom” in Europe and in California.
Our international team is well versed in providing the full spectrum of legal advice and representation for developing a renewable energy technology, protecting it, forming, optimizing and financing the appropriate corporate entities for the production and marketing of the technology and of the energy to customers.
Energy companies usually hold valuable intellectual property assets – patents, trademarks, service marks, confidential business information and trade secrets. The attorneys of our Intellectual Property Practice assist in protecting these assets against infringement and help with research and development contracts, as well as with licensing and commercializing the technologies.
Usually this goes along with the formation of the appropriate corporate entity, joint ventures and other strategic alliances. We are particularly experienced in optimizing these corporate structures, also under applicable international taxation treaties. In addition, our international clients usually ask us to minimize the company’s exposure to U.S. liability or litigation risks. In this context, our Renewable Energy Practice benefits from the lessons learned by our International Business Practice and German Practice during well over 30 years of successfully defending foreign companies in U.S. litigation.
CBM helps energy and technology companies obtaining early stage funding, venture capital and other sources of financing, and engage in mergers and acquisitions.
Our attorneys have expertise in structuring renewable energy sale and purchase contracts, and negotiate project and project finance agreements for infrastructure and production facilities. We assist our clients in creating financing models for commercial photovoltaic installations using Power Purchase Agreement (“PPA”) financing as well as tax and other incentives to benefit energy purchasers and investors.
We structure and negotiate complex supply and distribution agreements.
In the area of leasing and constructing production facilities and solar installations, our Renewable Energy Practice draws upon the firm’s strengths in the fields of real estate and construction law.
CBM’s Renewable Energy team prides itself in being a diverse group with specialized expertise crucial for clean technology companies. Our team includes attorneys who have:
- gained experience by working in the European clean tech market and can now apply this experience to the younger renewable markets of the United States;
- become respected authorities in the solar legal community for being among the first to advise solar and other clean tech companies in California; and
- served on the Board of Directors for major public utility companies.
Our attorneys are actively involved in various industry organizations, such as the California Solar Energy Industry Association (CalSEIA). Our attorneys also maintain relationships with venture capital firms, investment banks, and private investors. We work interdisciplinary and aim at achieving our clients’ business goals quickly and cost efficiently. In assessing and mitigating project risks, we try to resolve problems before they result in litigation. CBM’s lawyers are used to developing creative and effective approaches to structuring energy facility financing.
Our clients include entrepreneurs developing new materials and technologies that are pioneering the innovative clean technologies. We represent national and international alternative energy project developers, power producers, and power marketing companies. We also act for German and American owners of manufacturing plants of clean tech equipment and components as well as public utility companies. Investors frequently ask our advice and assistance with their investments in the renewable energy sector. We also see more activity from providers of ancillary services such as consulting and the production of software tools for monitoring, optimizing and managing use of renewable energy systems.
- The world leader in solar inverter technology in relation to its operation in California, and in a $20 million investment to build a production facility in Denver, Colorado. Advice included the optimization and reorganization of the corporate structure for purposes of international taxation, the minimization of liability and litigation risks, operational issues, business and real estate law, as well as the drafting of numerous commercial contracts, including supply contracts.
- An international provider of fully integrated turnkey solar power solutions which develops, manages construction, operates and owns solar power facilities for commercial, government and military projects in excess of 1 Megawatt utilizing PPAs, and incentives such as tax benefits, subsidies and Renewable Energy Credits (“REC”).
- A German-American manufacturer of photovoltaic panels with an annual production capacity of 45 Megawatt in the acquisition of a 30 Megawatt thinfilm technology production facility in the United States, specializing in high-efficiency silicon photovoltaic solar modules and modules for mobile uses. Advice included counsel on the strategic alliance and other corporate transactions between the German and the U.S. entities.
- The operator of a waste incineration plant is a dispute with and a large California utility company concerning the terms of power purchase agreements.
- A leading global manufacturer and supplier of high performance metals and materials from Europe in a supply contract dispute with a leading California high-volume manufacturer of photovoltaic systems, including panels and mounting hardware, for the commercial rooftop market.