Summary of Significant Accounting Policies
|9 Months Ended|
Sep. 30, 2011
|Summary of Significant Accounting Policies [Abstract]|
|Significant Accounting Policies [Text Block]||
SUMMARY OF SIGNIFICANT ACCOUNTING POLICIES
The accompanying condensed consolidated financial statements have been prepared in accordance with accounting standards set by the Financial Accounting Standards Board ("FASB"). The FASB sets generally accepted accounting principles that the Company follows to ensure its financial condition, results of operations, and cash flows are consistently reported. References to GAAP issued by the FASB in these notes to the condensed consolidated financial statements are to the FASB Accounting Standards Codification ("ASC").
A summary of the significant accounting policies consistently applied in the preparation of the accompanying condensed consolidated financial statements follows.
Principles of Consolidation
The accompanying condensed consolidated financial statements include the accounts of Ameresco, Inc. and its wholly-owned subsidiaries. All significant intercompany accounts and transactions have been eliminated. Gains and losses from the translation of all foreign currency financial statements are recorded in the accumulated other comprehensive income (loss) account within stockholders' equity.
Use of Estimates
The preparation of financial statements in conformity with GAAP requires management to make estimates and assumptions that affect the reported amounts of assets and liabilities and disclosure of contingent assets and liabilities at the date of the financial statements and the reported amounts of revenue and expenses during the reporting period. The most significant estimates with regard to these condensed consolidated financial statements relate to the estimation of final construction contract profit in accordance with accounting for long-term contracts, allowance for doubtful accounts, inventory reserves, project development costs, fair value of derivative financial instruments and stock-based awards, impairment of long lived assets, income taxes and estimating potential liability in conjunction with certain commitments and contingencies. Actual results could differ from those estimates.
Cash and Cash Equivalents
Cash includes cash on deposit, overnight repurchase agreements and amounts invested in highly liquid money market funds. Cash equivalents consist of short term investments with original maturities of three months or less. The Company maintains accounts with financial institutions and the balances in such accounts, at times, exceed federally insured limits. This credit risk is divided among a number of financial institutions that management believes to be of high quality. The carrying amount of cash and cash equivalents approximates their fair value.
Restricted cash consists of cash held in an escrow account in association with construction draws for energy savings performance contracts ("ESPCs") and construction of project assets, as well as cash required under term loans to be maintained in debt service reserve accounts until all obligations have been indefeasibly paid in full.
Accounts receivable are stated at the amount management expects to collect from outstanding balances. An allowance for doubtful accounts is provided for those accounts receivable considered to be uncollectible based upon historical experience and management's evaluation of outstanding accounts receivable at the end of the year. Bad debts are written off against the allowance when identified. Changes in the allowance for doubtful accounts for the nine months ended September 30, 2010 and 2011 are as follows:
At December 31, 2010 and at September 30, 2011, no customer accounted for more than 10% of the Company's total accounts receivable.
During the three months ended September 30, 2010 and for the three and nine months ended September 30, 2011, no customer accounted for more than 10% of the Company's total revenue.
During the nine months ended September 30, 2010 the Company had one customer that accounted for approximately 11.3% of the Company's total revenue.
Accounts Receivable Retainage
Accounts receivable retainage represents amounts due from customers, but where payments are withheld contractually until certain construction milestones are met. Amounts retained typically range from five percent to ten percent of the total invoice.
Inventories, which consist of photovoltaic solar panels, batteries and related accessories, are stated at the lower of cost ("first-in, first-out" method) or market (determined on the basis of estimated realizable values). Provisions have been made to reduce the carrying value to the realizable value.
Prepaid expenses consist primarily of short-term prepaid expenditures that will amortize within one year.
Federal ESPC Receivable
Federal ESPC receivable represents the amount to be paid by various federal government agencies for work performed and earned by the Company under specific ESPCs. The Company assigns certain of its rights to receive those payments to third-party lenders that provide construction and permanent financing for such contracts. The receivable is recognized as revenue as each project is constructed. Upon completion and acceptance of the project by the government, the assigned ESPC receivable and corresponding related project debt is eliminated from the Company's financial statements.
Project Development Costs
The Company capitalizes as project development costs only those costs incurred in connection with the development of energy projects, primarily direct labor, interest costs, outside contractor services, consulting fees, legal fees and travel, if incurred after a point in time where the realization of related revenue becomes probable. Project development costs incurred prior to the probable realization of revenue are expensed as incurred. The Company classifies project development costs as a current asset as the development efforts are expected to proceed to construction activity in the twelve months that follow. The Company periodically reviews these balances and writes off any amounts where the realization of the related revenue is no longer probable.
Property and Equipment
Property and equipment consists primarily of office and computer equipment. These assets are recorded at cost. Major additions and improvements are capitalized as additions to the property and equipment accounts, while replacements, maintenance and repairs that do not improve or extend the life of the respective assets, are expensed as incurred. Depreciation and amortization of property and equipment are computed on a straight-line basis over the following estimated useful lives:
Project assets consist of costs of materials, direct labor, interest costs, outside contract services and project development costs incurred in connection with the construction of small-scale renewable energy plants that the Company owns and the implementation of energy savings contracts. These amounts are capitalized and amortized over the lives of the related assets or the terms of the related contracts.
The Company capitalizes interest costs relating to construction financing during the period of construction. The interest capitalized is included in the total cost of the project at completion. The amount of interest capitalized for the nine months ended September 30, 2010 was $252,113. No interest was capitalized for the three months ended September 30, 2010 or the three and nine months ended September 30, 2011.
Routine maintenance costs are expensed in the current year's condensed consolidated statements of income and comprehensive income to the extent that they do not extend the life of the asset. Major maintenance, upgrades and overhauls are required for certain components of the Company's assets. In these instances, the costs associated with these upgrades are capitalized and are depreciated over the shorter of the life of the asset or until the next required major maintenance or overhaul period. Gains or losses on disposal of property and equipment are reflected in general, administrative and other expenses in the condensed consolidated statements of income and comprehensive income.dd
The Company evaluates its long-lived assets for impairment as events or changes in circumstances indicate the carrying value of these assets may not be fully recoverable. The Company evaluates recoverability of long-lived assets to be held and used by estimating the undiscounted future cash flows before interest associated with the expected uses and eventual disposition of those assets. When these comparisons indicate that the carrying value of those assets is greater than the undiscounted cash flows, the Company recognizes an impairment loss for the amount that the carrying value exceeds the fair value. d
In February and March 2011, the Company received a total of $6,695,711 in grant awards from the U.S. Treasury Department (the "Treasury") under Section 1603 of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (the "Act"). The Act authorized the Treasury to make payments to eligible persons who place in service qualifying renewable energy projects. The grants are paid in lieu of investment tax credits. All of the proceeds from the grants were used and recorded as a reduction in the cost basis of the applicable project assets. If the Company disposes of the property, or the property ceases to qualify as specified energy property, within five years from the date the property is placed in service, then a prorated portion of the Section 1603 payment must be repaid. For tax purposes, the Section 1603 payments are not included in federal and certain state taxable income and the basis of the property is reduced by 50% of the payment received. Deferred grant income of $4,200,929 and $6,109,406 in the accompanying condensed consolidated balance sheets at December 31, 2010 and September 30, 2011, respectively, represents the benefit of the basis difference to be amortized to income tax expense over the life of the related property.
Deferred Financing Fees
Deferred financing fees relate to the external costs incurred to obtain financing for the Company. All deferred financing fees are amortized over the respective term of the financing.
Goodwill and Intangible Assets
The Company has classified as goodwill the amounts paid in excess of fair value of the net assets (including tax attributes) of companies acquired in purchase transactions. The Company assesses the impairment of goodwill and intangible assets that have indefinite lives on an annual basis (December 31st) and whenever events or changes in circumstances indicate that the carrying value of the asset may not be recoverable. The Company would record an impairment charge if such an assessment were to indicate that the fair value of such assets was less than their carrying values. Judgment is required in determining whether an event has occurred that may impair the value of goodwill or identifiable intangible assets.
Factors that could indicate that an impairment may exist include significant underperformance relative to plan or long-term projections, significant changes in business strategy, significant negative industry or economic trends or a significant decline in the base price of the Company's publicly traded stock for a sustained period of time. Although the Company believes goodwill and intangible assets are appropriately stated in the accompanying condensed consolidated financial statements, changes in strategy or market conditions could significantly impact these judgments and require an adjustment to the recorded balance.
During April 2011, the Company made an additional payment of approximately $2,000,000 in accordance with certain provisions of the stock purchase agreement with the former shareholders of Quantum Engineering and Development, Inc. ("Quantum"). The payment has been reflected retrospectively as additional goodwill in the accompanying consolidated balance sheets in accordance with ASC 805, Business Combinations.
During the third quarter of 2011, the Company entered into two separate stock purchase agreements to acquire 100% of the capital stock of each of Applied Energy Group ("AEG") and APS Energy Services, Inc. (now known as "Ameresco Southwest"). The net purchase prices have been allocated to the net identified assets acquired based on fair values at the respective date of the acquisition with the residual amounts allocated to goodwill. The acquisition of AEG resulted in the Company recording an initial carrying value of goodwill totaling $5,170,508. For the acquisition of Ameresco Sourthwest, the Company recorded an initial carrying value of goodwill of $16,092,160. Acquired intangible assets other than goodwill that are subject to amortization include customer contracts and relationships as well as software and non-compete agreements. The intangible assets are amortized over a period of approximately five years from the respective date of acquisition. See Note 3 for more information.
Other assets consist primarily of notes and contracts receivable due to the Company.
Asset Retirement Obligations
The Company recognizes a liability for the fair value of required asset retirement obligations ("AROs") when such obligations are incurred. The liability is estimated on a number of assumptions requiring management's judgment, including equipment removal costs, site restoration costs, salvage costs, cost inflation rates and discount rates and is accredited to its projected future value over time. The capitalized asset is depreciated using the convention of depreciation of plant assets. Upon satisfaction of the ARO conditions, any difference between the recorded ARO liability and the actual retirement cost incurred is recognized as an operating gain or loss in the condensed consolidated statements of income and comprehensive income. As of December 31, 2010 and September 30, 2011, the Company had no AROs.
Other liabilities consist primarily of deferred revenue related to multi-year operation and maintenance contracts which expire as late as 2031. Other liabilities also include the fair value of derivatives and deferred compensation relating to the 2010 and July 2011 acquisitions . See Note 3 and 7.
The Company derives revenue from energy efficiency and renewable energy products and services. Energy efficiency products and services include the design, engineering, and installation of equipment and other measures to improve the efficiency, and control the operation, of a facility's energy infrastructure. Renewable energy products and services include the construction of small-scale plants that produce electricity, gas, heat or cooling from renewable sources of energy, the sale of such electricity, gas, heat or cooling from plants that the Company owns, and the sale and installation of solar energy products and systems.
Revenue from the installation or construction of projects is recognized on a percentage-of-completion basis. The percentage-of-completion for each project is determined on an actual cost-to-estimated final cost basis. Maintenance revenue is recognized as related services are performed. In accordance with industry practice, the Company includes in current assets and liabilities the amounts of receivables related to construction projects realizable and payable over a period in excess of one year. The revenue associated with contract change orders is recognized only when the authorization for the change order has been properly executed and the work has been performed and accepted by the customer.
When the estimate on a contract indicates a loss, or claims against costs incurred reduce the likelihood of recoverability of such costs, the Company records the entire expected loss immediately, regardless of the percentage of completion.
Billings in excess of cost and estimated earnings represents advanced billings on certain construction contracts. Costs and estimated earnings in excess of billings represent certain amounts under customer contracts that were earned and billable but not invoiced at December 31, 2010 and September 30, 2011.
The Company sells certain products and services in bundled arrangements, where multiple products and/or services are involved. The Company divides bundled arrangements into separate deliverables and revenue is allocated to each deliverable based on the relative selling price. The relative selling price is determined using vendor specific objective evidence, third party evidence or management's best estimate of selling price.
The Company recognizes revenue from the sale and delivery of products, including the output from renewable energy plants, when produced and delivered to the customer, in accordance with specific contract terms, provided that persuasive evidence of an arrangement exists, the Company's price to the customer is fixed or determinable and collectability is reasonably assured.
The Company recognizes revenue from operations and maintenance ("O&M") contracts and consulting services as the related services are performed.
For a limited number of contracts under which the Company receives additional revenue based on a share of energy savings, such additional revenue is recognized as energy savings are generated.
Direct expenses include the cost of labor, materials, equipment, subcontracting and outside engineering that are required for the development and installation of projects, as well as preconstruction costs, sales incentives, associated travel, inventory obsolescence charges, and, if applicable, costs of procuring financing. A majority of the Company's contracts have fixed price terms; however, in some cases the Company negotiates protections, such as a cost-plus structure, to mitigate the risk of rising prices for materials, services and equipment.
Direct expenses also include the costs of maintaining and operating the small-scale renewable energy plants that the Company owns, including the cost of fuel (if any) and depreciation charges.
The Company provides for income taxes based on the liability method. The Company provides for deferred income taxes based on the expected future tax consequences of differences between the financial statement basis and the tax basis of assets and liabilities calculated using the enacted tax rates in effect for the year in which the differences are expected to be reflected in the tax return.
The Company accounts for uncertain tax positions using a "more-likely-than-not" threshold for recognizing and resolving uncertain tax positions. The evaluation of uncertain tax positions is based on factors that include, but are not limited to, changes in tax law, the measurement of tax positions taken or expected to be taken in tax returns, the effective settlement of matters subject to audit, new audit activity and changes in facts or circumstances related to a tax position. The Company evaluates uncertain tax positions on a quarterly basis and adjusts the level of the liability to reflect any subsequent changes in the relevant facts surrounding the uncertain positions.
The Company's liabilities for uncertain tax positions can be relieved only if the contingency becomes legally extinguished through either payment to the taxing authority or the expiration of the statute of limitations, the recognition of the benefits associated with the position meet the "more-likely-than-not" threshold or the liability becomes effectively settled through the examination process.
The Company considers matters to be effectively settled once the taxing authority has completed all of its required or expected examination procedures, including all appeals and administrative reviews; the Company has no plans to appeal or litigate any aspect of the tax position; and the Company believes that it is highly unlikely that the taxing authority would examine or re-examine the related tax position. The Company also accrues for potential interest and penalties, related to unrecognized tax benefits in income tax expense. See Note 5 for additional information on the Company's income taxes.
Foreign Currency Translation
The local currency of the Company's foreign operations is considered the functional currency of such operations. All assets and liabilities of the Company's foreign operations are translated into U.S. dollars at year-end exchange rates. Income and expense items are translated at average exchange rates prevailing during the year. Translation adjustments are accumulated as a separate component of stockholders' equity. Foreign currency translation gains and losses are reported in the condensed consolidated statements of income and comprehensive income.
Financial instruments consist of cash and cash equivalents, restricted cash, accounts receivable, long-term contract receivables, accounts payable, long-term debt and interest rate swaps. The estimated fair value of cash and cash equivalents, restricted cash, accounts receivable, long-term contract receivables and accounts payable approximates their carrying value. See below for fair value measurements of long-term debt. See Note 11 for fair value of interest rate swaps.
Stock-Based Compensation Expense
Stock-based compensation expense results from the issuances of shares of restricted common stock and grants of stock options and warrants to employees, directors, outside consultants and others. The Company recognizes the costs associated with restricted stock, option and warrant grants using the fair value recognition provisions of ASC 718, Compensation - Stock Compensation on a straight-line basis over the vesting period of the awards.
Stock-based compensation expense is recognized based on the grant-date fair value. The Company estimates the fair value of the stock-based awards, including stock options, using the Black-Scholes option-pricing model. Determining the fair value of stock-based awards requires the use of highly subjective assumptions, including the fair value of the common stock underlying the award, the expected term of the award and expected stock price volatility.
The assumptions used in determining the fair value of stock-based awards represent management's estimates, which involve inherent uncertainties and the application of management judgment. As a result, if factors change, and different assumptions are employed, the stock-based compensation could be materially different in the future. The risk-free interest rates are based on the U.S. Treasury yield curve in effect at the time of grant, with maturities approximating the expected life of the stock options.
The Company has no history of paying dividends. Additionally, as of each of the grant dates, there was no expectation to pay dividends over the expected life of the options. The expected life of the awards is estimated using historical data and management's expectations. Because there was no public market for the Company's common stock prior to the Company's initial public offering, management lacked company-specific historical and implied volatility information. Therefore, estimates of expected stock volatility were based on that of publicly-traded peer companies, and it is expected that the Company will continue to use this methodology until such time as there is adequate historical data regarding the volatility of the Company's publicly-traded stock price.
The Company is required to recognize compensation expense for only the portion of options that are expected to vest. Actual historical forfeiture rate of options is based on employee terminations and the number of shares forfeited. These data and other qualitative factors are considered by the Company in determining the forfeiture rate used in recognizing stock compensation expense. If the actual forfeiture rate varies from historical rates and estimates, additional adjustments to compensation expense may be required in future periods. If there are any modifications or cancellations of the underlying unvested securities or the terms of the stock option, it may be necessary to accelerate, increase or cancel any remaining unamortized stock-based compensation expense.
The Company also accounts for equity instruments issued to non-employee directors and consultants at fair value. All transactions in which goods or services are the consideration received for the issuance of equity instruments are accounted for based on the fair value of the consideration received or the fair value of the equity instrument issued, whichever is more reliably measurable. The measurement date of the fair value of the equity instrument issued is the date on which the counterparty's performance is complete. No awards to individuals who were not either an employee or director of the Company occurred during the year ended December 31, 2010 or for the nine months ended September 30, 2011.
Fair Value Measurements
In 2009, the Company adopted fair value measurements for all of its non-financial assets and non-financial liabilities, except for those recognized at fair value in the financial statements at least annually. These assets include goodwill and long-lived assets measured at fair value for impairment assessments, and non-financial assets and liabilities initially measured at fair value in a business combination. The Company's adoption of this guidance did not have a material impact on its condensed consolidated financial statements.
The Company's financial instruments include cash and cash equivalents, accounts and notes receivable, interest rate swaps, accounts payable, accrued expenses, equity-based liabilities and short- and long-term borrowings. Because of their short maturity, the carrying amounts of cash and cash equivalents, accounts and notes receivable, accounts payable, accrued expenses and short-term borrowings approximate fair value. The carrying value of long-term variable-rate debt approximates fair value. As of September 30, 2011, the carrying value of the Company's fixed-rate long-term debt exceeds its fair value by approximately $1,181,464. This is based on quoted market prices or on rates available to the Company for debt with similar terms and maturities.
The Company accounts for its interest rate swaps as derivative financial instruments in accordance with the related guidance. Under this guidance, derivatives are carried on the Company's consolidated balance sheets at fair value. The fair value of the Company's interest rate swaps are determined based on observable market data in combination with expected cash flows for each instrument.
Derivative Financial Instruments
In the normal course of business, the Company utilizes derivatives contracts as part of its risk management strategy to manage exposure to market fluctuations in interest rates. These instruments are subject to various credit and market risks. Controls and monitoring procedures for these instruments have been established and are routinely reevaluated. Credit risk represents the potential loss that may occur because a party to a transaction fails to perform according to the terms of the contract. The measure of credit exposure is the replacement cost of contracts with a positive fair value. The Company seeks to manage credit risk by entering into financial instrument transactions only through counterparties that the Company believes to be creditworthy.
Market risk represents the potential loss due to the decrease in the value of a financial instrument caused primarily by changes in interest rates. The Company seeks to manage market risk by establishing and monitoring limits on the types and degree of risk that may be undertaken. As a matter of policy, the Company does not use derivatives for speculative purposes. The Company considers the use of derivatives with all financing transactions to mitigate risk.
A portion of the Company's project financing includes two projects that each utilize an interest rate swap instrument. During 2007, the Company entered into two fifteen-year interest rate swap contracts under which the Company agreed to pay an amount equal to a specified fixed rate of interest times a notional principal amount, and to in turn receive an amount equal to a specified variable rate of interest times the same notional principal amount. The swaps cover notional amounts of approximately $13,100,000 and $2,900,000, each a variable rate note at fixed interest rates of 5.4% and 5.3%, respectively, and expire in September 2023 and February 2021, respectively. These interest rate swaps qualified, but were not designated, as cash flow hedges until April 1, 2010. Since April 2010, they have been designated as hedges. Accordingly, the Company recognized the change in fair value of these derivatives in the consolidated statements of income prior to April 1, 2010, and in the consolidated statements of comprehensive income (loss) thereafter. Cash flows from derivative instruments were reported as operating activities in the consolidated statements of cash flows.
In March 2010, the Company entered into a fourteen-year interest rate swap contract under which the Company agreed to pay an amount equal to a specified fixed rate of interest times a notional amount, and to in turn receive an amount equal to a specified variable rate of interest times the same notional principal amount. The swap covers a notional amount of approximately $27,900,000 variable rate note at a fixed interest rate of 6.99% and expires in December 2024.
As of April 1, 2010, and in accordance with accounting standards, all then existing swaps held by the Company have been designated as cash flow hedges. Accordingly, the Company recognizes the fair value of the swaps in its consolidated balance sheets and any changes in the fair value are recorded as adjustments to other comprehensive income (loss).
In July 2011, the Company entered into a five-year interest rate swap contract under which the Company agreed to pay an amount equal to a specified fixed rate of interest times a notional amount, and to in turn receive an amount equal to a specified variable rate of interest times the same notional principal amount. The swap covers a notional amount of $38,571,429 variable rate note at a fixed interest rate of 1.965% and expires in June 2016.
With respect to the Company's interest rate swaps that had been designated as cash flow hedges, the Company recorded an unrealized loss in earnings during the nine months ended September 30, 2010 of approximately $133,591, as other expenses, net in the condensed consolidated statements of income and comprehensive income. No unrealized gains (losses) were recorded during the three months ended September 30, 2010 or the three and nine months ended September 30, 2011.
See Note 12 for additional information on the Company's derivative instruments.
Earnings Per Share
Basic earnings per share is calculated using the Company’s weighted-average outstanding common shares, including vested restricted shares. When the effects are not anti-dilutive, diluted earnings per share is calculated using: the weighted-average outstanding common shares; the dilutive effect of convertible preferred stock, under the "if converted" method; and the treasury stock method with regard to warrants and stock options; all as determined under the treasury stock method.
For the three and nine months ended September 30, 2010, 856,000 shares of common stock were excluded from the calculation of dilutive shares as the effect would be anti-dilutive. For the three and nine months ended September 30, 2011, 694,688 and 88,688 shares of common stock, respectively, related to stock options were excluded from the calculation of dilutive shares since the inclusion of such shares would be anti-dilutive.
The Company reports four segments: U.S. federal, central U.S. region, other U.S. regions and Canada. Each segment provides customers with energy efficiency and renewable energy solutions. The other U.S. regions segment is an aggregation of four regions: northeast U.S., southeast U.S., southwest U.S. and northwest U.S. These regions have similar economic characteristics — in particular, expected and actual gross profit margins. In addition, they sell products and services of a similar nature, serve similar types of customers and use similar methods to distribute their products and services. Accordingly, these four regions meet the aggregation criteria set forth in ASC 280, Segment Reporting. The "all other" category includes activities, such as O&M and sales of renewable energy and certain other renewable energy products, that are managed centrally at the Company's corporate headquarters. It also includes all corporate operating expenses — salaries and benefits, project development costs and general, administrative and other — not specifically allocated to the segments. For the three months ended September 30, 2010 and 2011, unallocated corporate expenses were $7,712,229 and $10,259,457, respectively. Income before taxes and unallocated corporate expenses for all other for the three months ended September 30, 2010 and 2011, was $866,405 and $194,499, respectively. For the nine months ended September 30, 2010 and 2011, unallocated corporate expenses were $21,700,187 and $28,636,642, respectively. Income before taxes and unallocated corporate expenses for all other for the nine months ended September 30, 2010 and 2011 was $9,671,347 and $7,564,040, respectively. See Note 13.
The entire disclosure for all significant accounting policies of the reporting entity.
Reference 1: http://www.xbrl.org/2003/role/presentationRef