2013 Jamie Grodsky Prize for Environmental Law Scholarship Awarded to Joel Meister

Joel Meister
May 01, 2013

This spring, the George Washington University Law School was proud to award Joel Meister, a part-time JD student, the 2013 Jamie Grodsky Prize for Environmental Law Scholarship. Meister's paper, “Sunny Dispositions: Modernizing Investment Tax Credit Recapture Rules for Solar Energy Project Finance after the Stimulus,” examines how solar project developers will grapple with the transition from the recently expired Section 1603 Treasury Grant Program to the Investment Tax Credit (ITC) that requires “recapture” of tax benefits if a company sells or transfers its solar system within five years of installation. Meister traces the genesis of the recapture rules back to related tax legislation from the 1960s, when Congress created a broader tax incentive to encourage business investments throughout the economy. Congress was concerned that some companies would simply buy and sell equipment for tax credits without putting the equipment to productive economic use. The paper explored how recapture rules could be revised for solar property today while deterring such ”asset churning” by requiring the subsequent owner of the solar property maintain the system’s operation.

Joel Meister is a third-year evening law student at GW and works full-time as Manager of Government Affairs at the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), the national trade association for the U.S. solar industry. Joel supports SEIA member companies on a variety of tax and financial matters, including issues related to innovative project finance structures, regulation of energy tax credits, and monetization of financial incentives for renewable energy. Joel routinely designs content for industry development, including SEIA's Finance and Tax Seminar in New York. Prior to joining SEIA, Joel worked as Outreach and Policy Assistant at the Center for Global Development, focusing on clean energy finance in the developing world. He previously worked in communications on behalf of a 2008 presidential candidate. He gained additional Washington experience through roles at a federal leadership PAC and in the Capitol Hill office of a member of Congress.

The Jamie Grodsky Prize for Environmental Law Scholarship is awarded each year at a ceremony held in connection with the J.B. and Maurice C. Shapiro Environmental Law Conference. The prize of $5,000 is awarded for the best paper written by a GW Law JD, LLM, or SJD. student in the field of environmental law, based on originality, innovation, depth of scholarship, the importance of the environmental issue addressed, and the quality of the writing and analysis. To receive the Grodsky Prize, a paper must be of publishable quality and make a significant contribution to the theory or practice of environmental law. The winning paper may be published in the GW Journal of Energy and Environmental Law. The Grodsky Prize was established to honor Professor Jamie Grodsky’s legacy of leading-edge environmental scholarship by encouraging students to produce papers on important environmental issues. The prize is made possible by a generous gift from Dr. Gerold Grodsky.