Minor Memos

Minor Memos

November 07, 2012

The federal Consumer Leasing Act has a lot to say about what can and cannot be in contracts with homeowners. A homeowner leasing a rooftop solar system can only be offered a fixed-price purchase option. An option at fair market value determined at time of purchase is not allowed until such time as there is the equivalent of the “blue book” for used cars for looking up used panel prices ... Efforts were made in 19 states in 2012 to roll back renewable portfolio standards that require utilities to deliver at least a minimum percentage of their electricity from renewable energy. Three states diluted their laws. None of the other efforts succeeded. Ohio allowed combined heat and power facilities to qualify as renewable energy. New Hampshire and Virginia allowed research and development to meet 20% of their targets. Efforts to allow hydroelectricity to count as renewable energy in various states failed. Voters in Michigan rejected a ballot initiative that would have written a higher target into the state constitution ... Bernstein Research estimates that the transition in the United States from incandescent to halogen, fluorescent and LED light bulbs that consume 25% to 75% less electricity will reduce US electricity demand by as much as 3.3%, wiping out three years of load growth. The US is moving to the other bulbs over the period 2012 through 2015 ... Fortune 500 companies reported $187.5 billion in reserves on 2011 financial statements for uncertain tax positions that risk being reversed by the IRS, down from $200 billion the year before. The top five tax reserves were reported by Pfizer ($7.309 billion), J.P. Morgan ($7.189 billion), Microsoft ($6.935 billion), General Electric ($6.384 billion) and AT&T ($5.853 billion).