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NEW FUNDING AVAILABLE THROUGH INFLATION REDUCTION ACT (IRA)

Updated August 10, 2023

On July 27th 2023, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) released guidance for the state energy offices to apply for the Home Energy Rebates Programs under the Inflation Reduction Act. This release has finalized many of the program requirements, but many aspects of program design and availability timelines will be dependent on state-specific action. MaGrann will continue to monitor these developments as programs are deployed.

 

Additionally, final guidance has yet to be issued by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Regardless of the confidence with which many consultants are presenting these updates, we are all eagerly awaiting these details to confirm understanding of how to utilize these programs.

 

We will update this page with more details as information is released.

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45L

What is 45L?

 

A Federal tax credit for residential new construction that has recently been expanded under the Inflation Reduction Act.  Starting January 1, 2023 projects certifying under ENERGY STAR or Zero Energy Ready Home programs may be eligible for tax credits on a per unit basis.

What's it Worth?

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What We Know

  • The program will now be in place for 10 years (January 1, 2023 – December 31, 2032).  No more annual expirations and retroactive renewals – for the next ten years anyway!

  • Prevailing wage is NOT required on projects to leverage this funding.  Rather, there are bonuses available on a per unit basis for projects using prevailing wage.

  • There is no longer a building height limit specified.  Since the ENERGY STAR Multifamily New Construction (MFNC) pathway allows buildings of any height, our understanding is that multifamily properties of any height are now eligible for this credit

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  • Able to stack with Low Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC) and utility incentive programs.

 

What We’re Not So Sure About

  • Which units currently under construction will qualify in the new year.  IRS language references eligibility beginning 1/1/2023 based on the date of acquisition.  Previous guidance defines “acquired” to mean “when the person that constructed the home sells or leases the home to another person for use as a residence”.  Since sale date may have little correlation with construction timeline, and Certificate of Occupancy was not mentioned, we are awaiting further guidance on this point.

  • Which versions of ENERGY STAR and ZERO ENERGY READY HOME apply and on what timelines.  The apparent confusion over this critical aspect of the IRA language is particularly relevant to multifamily properties, since EPA has pushed back its update of MFNC to January 1, 2025 and DOE has not yet released a ZERH multifamily certification that covers buildings of any height.  Stay tuned as further clarifications are issued by the IRS, DOE and EPA.

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179

What is 179D?

A commercial tax deduction program that promotes energy efficiency in commercial and applicable multifamily projects on a square footage basis. This program is available for existing apartment buildings and multifamily new construction projects that are 4+ stories.

What's it Worth?

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What We Know

  • 179D is a tax deduction, not a tax credit.  Consult with your tax professional to better understand the implications of this distinction.

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  • The deduction is based on site Energy Use Intensity (EUI) reduction on a whole building basis.

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  • Unlike 45L (which uses the same rating-based methodology that underlies the ENERGY STAR and ZERO Energy Ready programs), we employ ASHRAE 90.1 modeling to determine the % savings on each 179D project.

 

  • If the building is publicly owned or owned by a tax-exempt entity, the deduction needs to be allocated to the project designer.

 

  • Able to stack with Low Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC) and utility incentive programs.

DOE

DOE Home Energy Rebate Programs

The following two programs will take the form of grants available to the states, managed by each state’s respective State Energy Office. On July 27th, guidelines were released by the DOE. States will now need to apply for grant funding and will proceed to launch their version of each program.

  • Home Efficiency Rebates (HOMES)

    • What we know

      • Funding will take the form of a whole home retrofit incentive package based on reduction in total building energy use

      • States will be able to choose whether they offer a modeled pathway, measured pathway, or both:

        • Modeled pathway- $2,000 or $4,000 available per household or multifamily dwelling unit, capped at $200,000 or $400,000 respectively, per building. Buildings must achieve at least 20% modeled energy savings.

        • Measured pathway- up to $2,000 available per household or multifamily dwelling unit, or 50% of the total project cost. Buildings must achieve at least 15% measured energy savings.

        • Per dwelling unit incentive rates and caps shown above are doubled for low to moderate income (LMI) single family households, and multifamily properties with at least 50% of households with incomes less than 80% Area Median Income (AMI).

    • What we are not sure about

      • Will each state choose to offer the modeled pathway, the measured pathway, or both?

      • Will states allocate a portion of program funding, or braid in funding from other state-run programs, to cover the soft costs associated with these projects? E.g., energy audits, engineering design, etc.

  • Home Electrification and Appliance Rebates (HEEHR)

    • What We Know 

      • Funding will take the form of rebates available to LMI single and multifamily properties. Multifamily properties need at least 50% of households to have incomes less than 150% AMI.

      • Point of Sale rebates available for electrification-supporting equipment and measures e.g., heat pumps, heat pump water heaters, electric cooking appliances, electric service upgrades, electric wiring, and insulation.

      • Available to both new construction and retrofit projects, though retrofit projects cannot use these rebates to replace like for like equipment (cannot replace a heat pump with a more efficient heat pump).

      • Incentives can cover up to 50% of the cost of measures for income brackets within 80%-150% of AMI, and up to 100% of the cost for those under 80% AMI. The household/dwelling unit cap is $14,000.​​

HUD Green and Resilient Retrofit Program

  • Competitive grants and loans available to HUD-assisted multifamily housing. Funding is available for projects that reduce carbon emissions, increase energy efficiency, implement renewable energy measures, and/or increase climate resiliency. Properties that apply for funding will be ranked based on current utility efficiency and climate vulnerability needs.

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  • Final guidelines have been released and Notice of Funding Opportunities are available NOW

  • Eligibility Requirements (for all three pathways):

    • Extend affordability commitment 15 or 25 years, depending on whether the property owner is applying for a loan or grant.

    • Follow Build America Buy America guidelines (unless exempt), and Section 3 employment opportunities for low-income persons.

    • Comply with Davis-Beacon prevailing wage rates for all construction work (applicable to Leading Edge and Comprehensive pathways only).

  • Three Pathway Options (at a glance):

    • Elements

      • This pathway will fund prescriptive measures such as heat pumps, ENERGY STAR windows, fire resistant roofs, solar panels, etc.

      • Up $40,000 per unit or $750,000 per property

      • Available for projects that are far along in a recapitalization transaction. The project must have already secured a major source of financing, and from the time the application is submitted, should be ready to close within a 12-month timeframe.

      • Four application waves: June 2023, September 2023, January 2024, March 2024

    • Leading Edge

      • Funding will support properties that certify under a green certification program, such as National Green Building Standard Green, Enterprise Green Communities Plus 2020, Energy Star Next Gen, etc.

      • Projects must also achieve additional net zero requirements, as well as at least 25% modeled energy reduction

      • Up to $60,000 per unit or $10M per property

      • Available for projects that are currently undergoing or planning for a recapitalization, but properties can be at any stage in this process.

      • Four application waves: July 2023, October 2023, January 2024, April 2024

    • Comprehensive

      • This pathway is intended for properties that demonstrate the highest need for resiliency and/or efficiency upgrades.

      • Funding will support deep utility efficiency, renewable energy generation, carbon emissions reductions, and climate resiliency efforts.

      • Includes funding for the soft costs of a preliminary energy assessment and scope of work development.

      • Projects must achieve at least 25% modeled energy reduction.

      • Up to $80,000 per unit or $20M per property

      • Property does not need to be undergoing or planning for a recapitalization transaction.

      • Four application waves: August 2023, November 2023, February 2024, May 2024

EPA Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund

  • Competitive grants available to eligible nonprofits through the EPA to fund solar and energy storage projects, and for projects that reduce emissions in low to moderate income and disadvantaged communities​​

  • The following Notice of Funding Opportunities under this program have been announced:

    • The National Clean Investment Fund- grants will be awarded to 2-3 national nonprofit clean financing institutions to, in partnership with the private sector, provide accessible, affordable financing for pollution-reducing clean technology projects.

    • Clean Communities Investment Accelerator- grants will be awarded to 2-7 hub nonprofits to deliver funding and technical assistance to build the clean financing capacity of local community lenders working in low-income and disadvantaged communities.

    • Solar for All- up to 60 grants will be awarded to states, territories, Tribal governments, municipalities, and nonprofits to expand low-income and disadvantaged community residential solar investment.

  • If you would like to review any of these program or discuss options, please reach out through this form so we can set up a time to review.

HUD
EPA
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