We understand the need for collaboration and multidisciplinary guidance in the solar industry and provide services spanning many areas of law to:
- Project developers and operators
- Technology researchers and developers
Additionally, our Shanghai office allows us to provide our solar industry clients a perspective on solar-related activities in China that is unique among American law firms, as well as to advise Chinese companies on how to expand their business activities in the U.S.
As a firm, we are committed to furthering the development of solar energy in the United States, a goal underscored by the work and capabilities highlighted below:
Project Development & Finance
We offer the full spectrum of legal services to investors and operators with respect to the development and financing of solar facilities. We regularly advise energy clients on:
- Entity formation
- Financing and security documentation
- Service and maintenance agreements
- Interconnection and transmission agreements
- Power purchase agreements
- Associated regulatory approvals
Our energy practice includes a number of senior counsel who have been guiding renewable developers for more than three decades.
The attorneys in our business transactions group regularly handle:
- Corporate and private equity investments
- Structured investment transactions
- Acquisitions and divestures of energy assets
We are particularly experienced in representing renewable energy projects located in the Western U.S. that desire to sell power in the higher-priced California markets before the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC).
We offer solar clients veteran counsel who are knowledgeable about the latest developments at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and at state regulatory agencies. Our energy practitioners advise generators in proceedings involving:
- Qualifying facility (QF) and exempt wholesale generator (EWG) determinations
- Requests for waivers of QF standards
- Open access transmission matters
At the state level, we have advocated positions on issues such as renewable portfolio mandates, renewable energy certificates (RECs), and the terms and conditions of utility renewable procurement (RFOs). Additionally, the attorneys in our San Francisco office have specific experience with aiding solar interests before the CPUC.
Members of our tax group are dedicated liaisons to our energy group, and regularly advise renewable clients on project structuring to maximize the federal and state tax benefits available for solar and other renewable energy facilities.
Solar power has environmental impacts that must be addressed, such as those related to component manufacturing and project siting. The manufacture, installation, and disposal of solar components necessitate experienced environmental counsel who can assist with permitting and compliance of specific hazardous materials used in the industry. When siting solar power projects – whether PV or thermal, distributed or utility-scale – the project proponent faces unique issues in assessing environmental impacts, such as the potential disturbance of endangered species habitat. Our environmental attorneys are well-versed in the pertinent federal, state, and local environmental laws and regulations – serving solar stakeholders as counselors and litigators and assisting them in negotiations with governmental agencies.
The attorneys in our real property practice are experienced in handling complex real estate transactions, as well as construction and land use issues, on behalf of renewable energy clients. Our collective experience includes a wide variety of solar-related projects, including:
- Manufacturing centers
- Office buildings
- Utility and transmission facilities
- Power generating facilities
We have excellent working relationships with land use officials in the Pacific Northwest and California, and work regularly with local counsel in other jurisdictions.
The attorneys in our intellectual property group understand the business motivations, as well as the science, behind the solar industry. Among our ranks are 10 Ph.D.s with technical backgrounds in energy, mechanical, and chemical engineering, and physics. We are well-equipped to assist solar clients in the development of patent strategies, licensing arrangements, patent prosecution, and the negotiation of strategic investments.
As the first U.S. law firm authorized to open a law office in Shanghai, Davis Wright Tremaine has spent more than 15 years developing relationships and helping clients prosper in China. This background has led to our representation of an increasing number of renewable energy clients pursuing joint ventures or foreign direct investment strategies. We are also readily able to assist solar developers looking to acquire PV modules from Chinese manufacturers, as well as Chinese solar companies looking to expand their manufacturing and sales activities within the U.S. market.