|NRG ENERGY, INC. filed this Form 10-K on 03/01/2018|
Investments Accounted for by the Equity Method
The Company has investments in various domestic energy projects, as well as one Australian project. The equity method of accounting is applied to such investments in affiliates, which include joint ventures and partnerships, because the ownership structure prevents the Company from exercising a controlling influence over the operating and financial policies of the projects. Under this method, equity in pre-tax income or losses of domestic partnerships and, generally, in the net income or losses of its Australian project, are reflected as equity in earnings of unconsolidated affiliates. For certain investments that relate to tax equity arrangements, equity earnings are allocated using the hypothetical liquidation at book value, or HLBV, method which is described below. Distributions from equity method investments that represent earnings on the Company's investment are included within cash flows from operating activities and distributions from equity method investments that represent a return of the Company's investment are included within cash flows from investing activities.
Tax Equity Arrangements
The Company’s redeemable noncontrolling interest in subsidiaries and certain amounts within noncontrolling interest, included in stockholders' equity, represent third-party interests in the net assets under certain tax equity arrangements, which are consolidated by the Company, that have been entered into to finance the cost of solar energy systems under operating leases and wind facilities eligible for certain tax credits. The Company has determined that the provisions in the contractual agreements of these structures represent substantive profit sharing arrangements. Further, the Company has determined that the appropriate methodology for calculating the noncontrolling interest and redeemable noncontrolling interest that reflects the substantive profit sharing arrangements is a balance sheet approach utilizing the HLBV method. Under the HLBV method, the amounts reported as noncontrolling interest and redeemable noncontrolling interests represent the amounts the investors that are party to the tax equity arrangements would hypothetically receive at each balance sheet date under the liquidation provisions of the contractual agreements, assuming the net assets of the funding structures were liquidated at their recorded amounts determined in accordance with GAAP. The investors’ interests in the results of operations of the funding structures are determined as the difference in noncontrolling interest and redeemable noncontrolling interests at the start and end of each reporting period, after taking into account any capital transactions between the structures and the funds’ investors. The calculations utilized to apply the HLBV method include estimated calculations of taxable income or losses for each reporting period.
Redeemable Noncontrolling Interest
To the extent that the third-party has the right to redeem their interests for cash or other assets, the Company has included the noncontrolling interest attributable to the third party as a component of temporary equity in the mezzanine section of the consolidated balance sheet. The following table reflects the changes in the Company's redeemable noncontrolling interest balance for the years ended December 31, 2017, 2016, and 2015.