We successfully represented Cornell University before the New York Supreme Court, Fourth Department, in a dispute with the Town of Seneca, New York over the Town's efforts to impose a property tax assessment on Cornell based on the installation of a third-party owned solar PV system on Cornell’s tax-exempt property to provide power to the university under a power purchase agreement (PPA). In a precedent-setting decision, the court found that the third-party owned facility was not assessable as an “improvement” to the land and, if the facility were a permanent attachment to the university land and therefore real property, it would be exempt from taxes pursuant to Cornell University’s education exemption. The decision is the first time a New York court has addressed the question of whether solar and wind facilities are assessable as real property. The decision has significant implications for solar and wind development in New York.
For additional background, see the news update "Pierce Atwood Represents Cornell University in Precedent-Setting Decision Overturning Solar Tax Assessment."