Form 10-K Ameresco, Inc. For: Dec 31

March 1, 2022 7:36 PM EST

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UNITED STATES
SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
WASHINGTON, D.C. 20549
FORM 10-K
(Mark One)                                
 ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2021
OR
 TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
For the transition period from ___________ to ___________.
Commission File Number: 001-34811
Ameresco, Inc.
(Exact name of registrant as specified in its charter)
Delaware 04-3512838
(State or Other Jurisdiction of
Incorporation or Organization)
 (I.R.S. Employer
Identification No.)
111 Speen Street, Suite 410
Framingham, Massachusetts
 01701
(Address of Principal Executive Offices) (Zip Code)
(508661-2200
(Registrant’s Telephone Number, Including Area Code)
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:
Title of each classTrading SymbolName of each exchange on which registered
Class A Common Stock, par value $0.0001 per shareAMRCNew York Stock Exchange
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Act: None
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act.  Yes      No
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or Section 15(d) of the Act.  Yes      No 
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to file such reports) and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days.  Yes      No 
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically every Interactive Data File required to be submitted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit and post such files).  Yes      No 
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, a smaller reporting company, or an emerging growth company. See definitions of “large accelerated filer,” “accelerated filer,” “smaller reporting company,” and “emerging growth company” in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act.
Large Accelerated FilerAccelerated FilerNon-accelerated filerSmaller reporting company
Emerging growth company
If an emerging growth company, indicate by check mark if the registrant has elected not to use the extended transition period for complying with any new or revised financial accounting standards provided pursuant to Section 13(a) of the Exchange Act. o
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Act).  Yes      No 
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has filed a report on and attestation to its management’s assessment of the effectiveness of its internal control over financial reporting under Section 404(b) of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (15 U.S.C. 7262(b)) by the registered public accounting firm that prepared or issued its audit report.
The aggregate market value of the voting and non-voting common equity held by non-affiliates computed by reference to the price at which the common equity was last sold on the New York Stock Exchange on June 30, 2021, the last business day of the registrant’s most recently completed second fiscal quarter, was $1,929,538,589.
Indicate the number of shares outstanding of each of the registrant’s classes of common stock as of the latest practicable date.
Class
Shares outstanding as of February 25, 2022
Class A Common Stock, $0.0001 par value per share33,724,309
Class B Common Stock, $0.0001 par value per share18,000,000
DOCUMENTS INCORPORATED BY REFERENCE
Portions of the definitive proxy statement for our 2022 annual meeting of stockholders are incorporated by reference into Part III.



AMERESCO, INC.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
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NOTE ABOUT FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS
This Annual Report on Form 10-K (”Form 10-K” or “Report”) contains “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended (“the Exchange Act”). All statements, other than statements of historical fact, including statements regarding our strategy, future operations, future financial position, future revenues, projected costs, prospects, plans, objectives of management, expected market growth and other characterizations of future events or circumstances are forward-looking statements. These statements are often, but not exclusively, identified by the use of words such as “may,” “will,” “expect,” “believe,” “anticipate,” “intend,” “could,” “estimate,” “target,” “project,” “predict” or “continue,” and similar expressions or variations. These forward-looking statements include, among other things, statements about:
our expectations as to the future growth of our business and associated expenses,
our expectations as to revenue generation,
the future availability of borrowings under our revolving credit facility,
the expected future growth of the market for energy efficiency and renewable energy solutions,
our backlog, awarded projects and recurring revenue and the timing of such matters,
our expectations as to acquisition activity,
the impact of any restructuring,
the uses of future earnings,
our intention to repurchase shares of our Class A common stock,
the expected energy and cost savings of our projects,
the expected energy production capacity of our renewable energy plants,
the results of the SEC’s investigation into our revenue recognition and compensation practices in our software-as-a-service businesses, and
the impact of the current COVID-19 pandemic.
These forward-looking statements are based on current expectations and assumptions that are subject to risks, uncertainties, and other factors that could cause actual results and the timing of certain events to differ materially and adversely from the future results expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. Risks, uncertainties, and factors that could cause or contribute to such differences include, but are not limited to, those discussed in the section titled “Risk Factors,” set forth in Item 1A of this Form 10-K and elsewhere in this Report. The forward-looking statements in this Form 10-K represent our views as of the date of this Report. Subsequent events and developments may cause our views to change. However, while we may elect to update these forward-looking statements at some point in the future, we have no current intention of doing so and undertake no obligation to do so except to the extent required by applicable law. You should, therefore, not rely on these forward-looking statements as representing our views as of any date subsequent to the date of this Form 10-K.
ADDITIONAL NOTES
The terms “Ameresco,” “Company,” “we,” “our,” “us,” or “ourselves” included in this Report mean Ameresco, Inc. and its consolidated subsidiaries, collectively.
Rounding adjustments applied to individual numbers and percentages shown in this Report may result in these figures differing immaterially from their absolute values.


PART I
Item 1. Business
Company Overview
Ameresco is a leading clean technology integrator with a comprehensive portfolio of energy efficiency and renewable energy supply solutions.
Our core services include the development, design, arrangement of financing, construction, and installation of solutions that deliver measurable cost and energy savings while enhancing the operations, energy security, infrastructure, and resiliency of a facility. These solutions range from upgrades to a facility’s energy infrastructure to the development, construction, and operation of renewable energy plants. As a trusted sustainability partner, we are always on a mission to help customers lower their overall carbon footprint and reduce their environmental impact.
Our product independence coupled with our deep technical bench allows us to integrate best-in-class advanced technology solutions for the unique needs of each customer.
Drawing from decades of experience, we develop these tailored energy projects for federal, state, and local governments, educational and healthcare institutions, airports, public housing authorities, commercial/industrial customers, and utilities across North America and the U.K.
We have sourced and raised approximately $3.9 billion in project financing while delivering $11.2 billion in energy solutions since our inception. Our growth is driven by staying ahead of the curve and at the leading edge of innovation taking place in the energy sector, offering new products and services to new and existing customers. In 2020, we launched our first owned and operated wind power project in Ireland, that became our first renewable energy asset outside of North America.
Mergers and acquisitions of complementary businesses and assets have been an important part of our growth enabling us to broaden our service offerings, expand our geographical reach, and continue to be an important component to our growth strategy. Over the past three years, we have acquired businesses and energy assets under construction in Washington DC, Hawaii, Massachusetts, New York, Illinois, Connecticut, Ohio and Florida.
To best serve our expansive customer base, we have approximately 65 regional offices located throughout North America and the U.K. and more than 1,200 dedicated energy and business professionals with years of proven experience and a strong commitment to customer satisfaction. We offer our customers the resources needed to successfully plan, finance, execute and operate energy programs to create real, sustained economic and operating benefits to fulfill their unique requirements.
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Our Services
Our portfolio of services aims to create value and provide energy efficient and renewable solutions to the organizations we serve in the pursuit of a sustainable future.
Energy Efficiency Measures & Upgrades
Water management, efficiency and reclamation
Renewable energy, storage & microgrids
Heating, ventilation, cooling, building envelope
Smart metering and controls
Chillers and boilers
Renewable Energy, Storage & Microgrids
Solar photovoltaic (“PV”)
Combined heat and power (“CHP”) and co-generation plants
Geothermal
Renewable natural gas (“RNG”)
Wind power
Microgrid
Battery storage
EV charging infrastructure
Hydrogen
Energy Infrastructure
Smart building modernization and retrofits
Design-build new construction
Utilize a full range of technologies related to building systems, facility infrastructure, energy- and water-consuming systems
Integrated project design and implementation
Energy Analytics & Supply
Energy supply management
Proprietary asset management software
Energy procurement services
Operations & Maintenance (“O&M”)
End-to-end technical guidance
Skilled technicians to operate and maintain renewable energy systems
One of our core services is the development, design, engineering, and installation of projects (“Projects”) that reduce the energy and O&M costs of our customers’ facilities. These Projects generally include a variety of measures that incorporate innovative technology and techniques, customized for the facility and designed to improve the efficiency of major building systems, such as heating, ventilation, cooling and lighting systems, while enhancing the comfort and usability of the buildings.
We also offer the ability to incorporate analytical tools that provide improved building energy management capabilities and enable customers to identify opportunities for energy cost savings. We typically commit to customers that our energy efficiency projects will satisfy agreed upon performance standards upon installation or achieve specified increases in energy efficiency. Generally, the forecasted lifetime energy and operating cost savings of the energy efficiency measures we install defrays all or almost all of the cost of such measures. In many cases, we assist customers in obtaining third-party financing, grants, or rebates for the cost of constructing the facility improvements, resulting in little or no upfront capital expenditure by the customer. After a project is complete, we may operate, maintain and repair the customer’s energy systems under a multi-year O&M contract, designed to provide us with recurring revenue and visibility into the customer’s evolving needs.
In addition, we serve certain customers by developing and building small-scale renewable energy plants located at or close to a customer’s site. Depending on the customer’s preference, we will either retain ownership of the completed plant or build it for the customer. Most of our small-scale renewable energy plants to date consist of solar PV installations and plants constructed adjacent to landfills, that use landfill gas (“LFG”) to generate energy. We also design and build, and own, operate and maintain plants that utilize biogas from wastewater treatment processes. Our largest renewable energy project that we operate for a customer uses biomass as the primary source of energy. For information on how we finance the projects that we own and operate, please see the disclosures under Note 2, “Summary of Significant Accounting Policies”, Note 9, “Debt and Financing Lease Liabilities” and Note 11, “Variable Interest Entities and Equity Method Investments” to our consolidated financial statements in Item 8 of this Report.
Our Lines of Business
Smart Energy Solutions Projects
Our Smart Energy Solutions Projects are primarily energy efficiency projects, which entail the design, engineering, and installation of an ever-increasing array of innovative technologies and techniques to improve the energy efficiency and control the operation, of a building’s energy- and water-consuming systems. In certain projects, we provide financing and design and construct a central plant or cogeneration system providing power, heat and/or cooling to a building, or a small-scale plant that produces electricity, gas, heat or cooling from renewable sources of energy for a customer, as well as battery energy storage. Our projects generally range in size and scope from a one-month project to design and retrofit a lighting system to a more complex 30-month project to design and install a central plant or cogeneration system or other small-scale plant. Projects we have constructed or are currently working on include designing, engineering and installing energy conservation and resiliency measures across
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school buildings, large, complex energy conservation, and energy security projects for the federal government, and municipal-scale street lighting projects incorporating smart city controls.
O&M
After an energy efficiency or renewable energy project is completed, we often provide ongoing O&M services under multi-year contracts. These services offer end-to-end technical guidance and include operating, maintaining, and repairing facility energy systems, such as boilers, chillers, and building controls, as well as central power and small-scale plants. For larger projects, we frequently maintain staff on-site to perform these services. In addition to providing O&M services for our own projects, we also provide similar services on projects we did not construct for various customers.
Ameresco-owned Energy Assets
Our service offerings also include the sale of electricity, heat, cooling, processed biogas, and renewable biomethane fuel from the portfolio of assets that we own and operate.
We have constructed and are currently developing, designing, and constructing a wide range of renewable energy plants using:
biogas (generated from landfills, wastewater treatment plants, and the agricultural sector)
advanced biofuels
biomass and other bio-derived fuels
solar PV
wind and hydro sources of energy
battery storage
Most of our renewable energy assets to date have involved the generation and sale of:
electricity from solar PV
electricity, thermal, renewable fuel, or biomethane using biogas as a feedstock
In the case of our biogas-fueled projects, we purchase biogas that otherwise would be combusted or vented, process it, and either use it as a renewable fuel source in our energy plants to produce and sell electricity and/or thermal, or sell it as a renewable fuel source to a third party. We also design and build, and operate and maintain facilities that process biogas into biomethane (or RNG) that can be transported, primarily through the nation’s natural gas pipeline grid or in some cases through tanker trucks, and sold to third parties. For Ameresco-owned and operated energy assets, we typically enter into long-term agreements with third parties for the sale of the energy produced by the facility.
As of December 31, 2021, we owned and operated 147 small-scale renewable energy plants and solar PV installations which generate electricity or deliver renewable gas fuel with a combined capacity of approximately 343 megawatt equivalents (“MWe”), and have energy assets in development and construction with a combined capacity of approximately 414 MWe.
The table below shows the type and number of plants we owned as of December 31, 2021:
Plants Owned and OperatedQuantity
Biogas: RNG6
Biogas: non-RNG22
Solar assets116
Other3
Total plants owned and operated147
Other
Our service and product offerings also include photovoltaic solar energy products and systems (“integrated-PV”), consulting, and enterprise energy management services.
Customer Arrangements
Energy Savings Performance Contracts (“ESPCs”)
For our energy efficiency projects, we typically enter into ESPCs, under which we agree to develop, design, engineer and construct a project and also commit that the project will satisfy agreed upon performance standards that vary from project to
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project. These performance commitments are typically based on the design, capacity, efficiency, or operation of the specific equipment and systems we install. Our commitments generally fall into three categories:
Pre-agreed energy reduction commitment: our customer reviews the project design in advance and agrees that, upon or shortly after completion of the installation of the specified equipment comprising the project, the commitment will have been met.
Equipment-level commitment: we commit to a level of energy use reduction based on the difference in use measured first with the existing equipment and then with the replacement equipment.
Whole building-level commitment: requires demonstration of energy usage reduction for a whole building, often based on readings of the utility meter where usage is measured. Depending on the project, the measurement and demonstration may be required only once, upon installation, based on an analysis of one or more sample installations, or may be required to be repeated at agreed upon intervals generally over periods of up to 25 years. We often assist these customers in identifying and obtaining financing through rebate programs, grant programs, third-party lenders, and other sources.
Under our contracts, we typically do not take responsibility for a wide variety of factors outside of our control and exclude or adjust for such factors in commitment calculations. These factors include, among others, variations in energy prices and utility rates, weather, facility occupancy schedules, the amount of energy-using equipment in a facility, and the failure of the customer to operate or maintain the project properly. Typically, our performance commitments apply to the aggregate overall performance of a project rather than to individual energy efficiency measures. Therefore, to the extent an individual measure underperforms, it may be offset by other measures that overperform during the same period. In the event that an energy efficiency project does not perform according to the agreed upon specifications, our agreements typically allow us to satisfy our obligation by adjusting or modifying the installed equipment, installing additional measures to provide substitute energy savings or paying the customer for lost energy savings based on the assumed conditions specified in the agreement. Many of our equipment supply, local design, and installation subcontracts contain provisions that enable us to seek recourse against our vendors or subcontractors if there is a deficiency in our energy reduction commitment. See “We may have liability to our customers under our ESPCs if our projects fail to deliver the energy use reductions to which we are committed under the contract” in Item 1A, Risk Factors.
Federal Government Contracts, Indefinite Delivery, Indefinite Quantity (“IDIQ”) Agreements
The projects that we perform for governmental agencies are governed by particular qualification and contracting regimes. Certain states require qualification with an appropriate state agency as a precondition to performing work or appearing as a qualified energy service provider for state, county, and local agencies within the state. For example, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and the states of Colorado and Washington pre-qualify energy service providers and provide contract documents that serve as the starting point for negotiations with potential governmental customers. Most of the work that we perform for the federal government is performed under IDIQ agreements between government agencies and us. These IDIQ agreements allow us to contract with the relevant agencies to implement energy projects, but no work may be performed unless we and the agency agree on a task order or delivery order governing the provision of a specific project. The government agencies enter into contracts for specific projects on a competitive basis. We and our affiliates are currently parties to an IDIQ agreement with the U.S. Department of Energy (“DOE”) expiring in 2026. We are also party to similar agreements with other federal agencies, including the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the U.S. General Services Administration.
Payments by the federal government for energy efficiency measures are based on the services provided and the products installed but are limited to the savings derived from such measures, calculated in accordance with federal regulatory guidelines and the specific contract’s terms. The savings are typically determined by comparing energy use and other costs before and after the installation of the energy efficiency measures, adjusted for changes that affect energy use and other costs but are not caused by the energy efficiency measures.
Energy Supply Contracts
For projects involving the construction of a small-scale renewable energy plant that we own and operate, we generally enter into (i) long-term power purchase agreements (“PPAs”) to supply electricity, (ii) long-term energy supply agreements (“ESAs”) to supply medium British Thermal Unit (“BTU”) biogas or thermal energy, or (iii) gas purchase agreements (“GPAs”) to supply RNG to a third party. These third parties include, but are not limited to, brokers, traders, utilities, municipalities, industrial facilities, or other large purchasers of energy. The rights to use the site for the plant and the purchase of raw feedstock fuel for the plant are also obtained by us under long-term agreements with terms at least as long as the associated output supply agreement. Our supply agreements typically provide for fixed prices or prices that escalate at a fixed rate or vary based on a market benchmark. See “We may assume responsibility under customer contracts for factors outside our control, including, in connection with some customer projects, the risk that fuel prices will increase” in Item 1A, Risk Factors.
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Our Business Segments
Our reportable business segments for the year ended December 31, 2021 were as follows:
U.S. Regions
U.S. Federal
Canada
Non-Solar Distributed Generation (“Non-Solar DG”)
All Other
On January 1, 2021, we changed the structure of our internal organization and our U.S. Regions segment now includes our U.S.-based enterprise energy management services previously included in our “All Other” segment. As a result, previously reported amounts have been reclassified for comparative purposes. Our U.S. Regions, U.S. Federal and Canada segments offer energy efficiency products and services which 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 solutions, and services which include the construction of small-scale plants that we own or develop for customers that produce electricity, gas, heat, or cooling from renewable sources of energy and O&M services. Our Non-Solar DG segment sells electricity, thermal, processed renewable gas fuel, or biomethane produced from renewable sources of energy, other than solar, and generated by small-scale plants that we own and operate, as well as O&M services for customer owned small-scale plants. Our U.S. Regions segment also includes certain small-scale solar grid-tie plants developed for customers. The “All Other” category offers enterprise energy management services, consulting services, and the sale of solar PV energy products and systems which we refer to as integrated-PV.
The table below shows the percentage of revenues by segment for the last three years:
202120202019
% of Revenues by Segment (1)
U.S. Regions43.5 %39.2 %42.6 %
U.S. Federal32.3 %36.6 %33.2 %
Canada4.1 %4.6 %4.4 %
Non-Solar DG11.3 %10.3 %9.8 %
All Other8.8 %9.3 %10.0 %
Total revenues100.0 %100.0 %100.0 %
(1) See Note 3 “Revenue from Contracts with Customers” for our disaggregated revenue and Note 20 “Business Segment Information” for additional information.
Sales and Marketing
Our sales and marketing approach is to offer customers customized and comprehensive energy efficiency solutions tailored to meet their economic, operational, and technical needs. The sales, design and construction process for energy efficiency and renewable energy projects recently has been averaging from 18 to 54 months. We identify project opportunities through referrals, requests for proposals (“RFPs”), conferences and events, website, digital campaigns, telemarketing, and repeat business from existing customers. Our direct sales force develops and follows up on customer leads. As of December 31, 2021, we had 179 employees in direct sales.
In preparation for a proposal, our team typically conducts a preliminary audit of the customer’s needs and requirements and identifies areas to enhance efficiencies and reduce costs. We collect and analyze the customer’s utility bill and other data related to energy use. If the bills are complex or numerous, we often utilize our proprietary enterprise energy management software tools to scan, compile and analyze the information. Our experienced engineers visit and assess the customer’s current energy systems and infrastructure. Through our knowledge of the federal, state, and local governmental and utility environments, we assess the availability of energy, utility or environmental-based payments for usage reductions or renewable power generation, which helps us optimize the economic benefits of a proposed project for a customer. Once awarded a project, we perform a more detailed audit of the customer’s facilities, which serves as the basis for the final specifications of the project and final contract terms.
For renewable energy plants that are not built or located on a customer’s site or use sources of energy not within the customer’s control, the sales process also involves the identification of sites with attractive sources of renewable energy and obtaining necessary rights and governmental permits to develop a plant on that site. For example, for LFG projects, we start with gaining control of an LFG resource located close to the prospective customer. For solar and wind projects, we look for sites where utilities are interested in purchasing renewable energy power at rates that are sufficient to make a project feasible. Where governmental agencies control the site and resource, such as a landfill owned by a municipality, the customer may be required to issue an RFP
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to use the site or resource. Once we believe we are likely to obtain the rights to the site and the resource, we seek customers for the energy output of the potential project, with whom we can enter into a long-term PPA.
Customers
We strive to be a trusted sustainability partner creating valued, single-sourced, efficient energy solutions delivered with passion, expertise, teamwork, and a relentless focus on customer satisfaction.
Our customers choose to prioritize efficiency and the development of clean, green energy sources and our solutions are customized to serve the specific needs of each customer and meaningfully reduce or offset their carbon footprint. From energy conservation through a variety of measures to the generation of green, renewable power, our customers and their communities reap the benefits of reducing energy consumption, costs, and associated carbon emissions.
In 2021, we served customers throughout the United States, Canada, the U.K., and Greece and approximately 67.0% of our revenues were derived from federal, state, provincial, or local government entities, including public housing authorities and public universities. Our federal customers include various divisions of the U.S. federal government. The U.S. federal government is considered a single customer and segment for reporting purposes (see table above under “Our Segments”). For the year ended December 31, 2021, our largest 20 customers accounted for approximately 64.0% of our total revenues. Other than the U.S. federal government, one customer represented 10.2% of our revenues during this period.
See “Provisions in our government contracts may harm our business, financial condition and operating results” in Item 1A, Risk Factors for a discussion of special considerations applicable to government contracting and “The loss of one of our significant customers or our failure to perform our contract with that customer in accordance with its terms could adversely affect us” in Item 1A, Risk Factors for further discussion.
Competition
While we face significant competition from a large number of companies, we believe that few offer the objective technical expertise and full range of services we do.
Our principal competitors include:
Smart Energy Solutions: Constellation Energy Group, Inc. (an Exelon company), Energy Systems Group, Honeywell, Johnson Controls, NORESCO (a unit of Carrier Global Corporation), Schneider Electric, Siemens Building Technologies, and Trane Technologies (an Ingersoll-Rand company). We compete primarily on the basis of our comprehensive, independent offering of energy efficiency and renewable energy services and the breadth and depth of our expertise.
Renewable energy plants: many large independent power producers and utilities, as well as a large number of developers of renewable energy projects.
LFG market: primarily large, national project developers and owners of landfills who self-develop projects using LFG from their own landfills.
Solar PV market: Borrego Solar Systems, BlueWave Solar, Citizens Energy Group, Clean Energy Collective, Nexamp Inc., SunPower Corp., Solect Energy, and Syncarpha Capital. We compete for renewable energy projects primarily on the basis of our experience, reputation, and ability to identify and complete high quality and cost-effective projects.
O&M services: EMCOR Energy Services, Comfort Systems USA, Honeywell, Johnson Controls, and Veolia. In this area, we compete primarily on the basis of our expertise and quality of service.
See “We operate in a highly competitive industry, and our current or future competitors may be able to compete more effectively than we do, which could have a material adverse effect on our business, revenues, growth rates, and market share” in Item 1A, Risk Factors for further discussion of competition.
Regulatory
Various regulations affect the conduct of our business. Federal and state legislation and regulations enable us to enter into ESPCs with government agencies in the United States. The applicable regulatory requirements for ESPCs differ in each state and between agencies of the federal government.
Our projects must conform to all applicable electric reliability, building and safety, and environmental regulations and codes, which vary from place to place and time to time. Various federal, state, provincial, and local permits are required to construct an energy efficiency project or renewable energy plant.
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Renewable energy projects are also subject to specific governmental safety and economic regulation. States and the federal government typically do not regulate the transportation or sale of LFG unless it is combined with and distributed with natural gas, but this is not uniform among states and may change from time to time. States regulate the retail sale and distribution of natural gas to end-users, although regulatory exemptions from regulation are available in some states for limited gas delivery activities, such as sales only to a single customer. The sale and distribution of electricity at the retail level is subject to state and provincial regulation, and the sale and transmission of electricity at the wholesale level is subject to federal regulation. While we do not own or operate retail-level electric distribution systems or wholesale-level transmission systems, the prices for the products we offer can be affected by the tariffs, rules and regulations applicable to such systems, as well as the prices that the owners of such systems are able to charge. The construction of power generation projects typically is regulated at the state and provincial levels, and the operation of these projects also may be subject to state and provincial regulation as “utilities.” At the federal level, the ownership and operation of, and sale of power from, generation facilities may be subject to regulation under the Public Utility Holding Company Act of 2005 (“PUHCA”), the Federal Power Act (“FPA”), and Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act of 1978 (“PURPA”). However, because all of the plants that we have constructed and operated to date are small power “qualifying facilities” under PURPA, they are subject to less regulation under the FPA, PUHCA and related state utility laws than traditional utilities.
If we pursue projects employing different technologies or with a single project electrical capacity greater than 20 megawatts, we could become subject to some of the regulatory schemes which do not apply to our current projects. In addition, the state, provincial, and federal regulations that govern qualifying facilities and other power sellers frequently change, and the effect of these changes on our business cannot be predicted.
LFG power generation facilities require an air emissions permit, which may be difficult to obtain in certain jurisdictions. Renewable energy projects may also be eligible for certain governmental or government-related incentives from time to time, including tax credits, cash payments in lieu of tax credits, and the ability to sell associated environmental attributes, including carbon credits. Government incentives and mandates typically vary by jurisdiction.
Some of the demand reduction services we provide for utilities and institutional customers are subject to regulatory tariffs imposed under federal and state utility laws. In addition, the operation of, and electrical interconnection for, our renewable energy projects are subject to federal, state, or provincial interconnection and federal reliability standards also set forth in utility tariffs. These tariffs specify rules, business practices, and economic terms to which we are subject. The tariffs are drafted by the utilities and approved by the utilities’ state, provincial, or federal regulatory commissions.
See our section entitled “Risks related to Regulations or Governmental Actions” in Item 1A, Risk Factors.
Human Capital Management
We believe our employees are Ameresco’s greatest resource, as they come together to creatively integrate our advanced technology portfolio and develop innovative, transformative energy solutions for our customers.
The diversity of our team coupled with our deep bench of technical expertise enables us to tackle the most complex energy opportunities. Supporting our employees and the communities in which we serve is paramount to our success.
We focus on team-based employee philanthropy, wellness-focused employee benefits, and donating our time to our local communities through education and training.
As of December 31, 2021, we had a total of 1,272 employees based in 46 states, the District of Columbia, four Canadian provinces, and three office locations throughout the U.K.
Philanthropic Activities
We actively participate in philanthropic activities that support our local communities and provide an opportunity for dynamic team building. During 2021, our employees were encouraged to use paid community service days to donate time and creative energy to the organizations that touch them personally and to give back to the environment and their communities.
Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Justice
We welcome, support, and celebrate unique ways of thinking. We believe innovation demands diversity of thought, and Ameresco has done well by welcoming and celebrating employees from diverse backgrounds. We are proud to be an equal opportunity workplace and an Affirmative Action employer.
To educate, support, and promote the culture of diversity, equity, inclusion and justice at Ameresco, diversity in the workplace is discussed at all levels in the organization. Annual diversity in the workplace training is rolled out to all Ameresco employees.
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This comprehensive training is critical to ensuring we are focused on educating our teams and fostering a culture that is all-inclusive.
Recruiting is a key element in our commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion and justice. Our talent team focuses on attracting and recruiting a diverse workforce by partnering with organizations such as the National Society of Women in Construction, Browning The Green Space, New England Women in Energy and the Environment, Hire Heroes USA, and Dolce Center for Advancement of Veterans and Service Members.
We have demonstrated meaningful growth over the last five years in the number and percentage of employees from diverse backgrounds, with these classes representing 43% of all employees as of December 31, 2021. In addition, we have a 39% rolling three-year average of diverse promotions among all promotions throughout Ameresco. In 2021, 37% of all management position promotions were employees with diverse backgrounds. Diverse backgrounds include women, ethnicity, veterans, and individuals with a disability. This data represents U.S. employees only due to personal information privacy regulations in Canada and Europe.
Benefits with a Purpose
The health, safety, and well-being of our employees continues to be a top priority at Ameresco. In addition to competitive salaries, we are committed to regularly evaluating a competitive benefits portfolio, striving to provide resources to our employees that assist with work-life balance.
While employee healthcare costs and access to a wide variety of doctors have always been at the top of our criteria list, we also focused our 2022 benefit renewal objectives on expanding our mental health and well-being offerings. We wanted to ensure our employees have a variety of help and resources available, offered in platforms and services they felt comfortable using, should they need it.
In addition, we offered a comprehensive Employee Assistance Plan to all Ameresco employees and their family members should they need assistance with any life planning matters. And in support of some of the new applications and corporate programs, we rolled out memberships to Care.com, Gympass, and the Headspace mobile app.
Energy Outside the Office
Whether it is through our philanthropic activities, our quest to provide an inclusive culture, or our focus on the well-being of our people, Ameresco benefits from the open communication seen between our employees. We encourage activities outside of our offices to enhance the employee experience. While the COVID-19 pandemic continues to present challenges for in-person gatherings, our employees have continued to find creative ways to interact virtually and in-person with proper safety protocols in place.
Career Advancement
Ameresco strives to implement creative ways for our employees to support career advancement. To facilitate our employees’ career development with a focus on retention, we have improved on the frequency of career path discussions, training, and succession planning. Career path training was offered to all employees in 2021 and we intend to continue it in the coming years. The career path discussions identified specific training programs, mentorship opportunities, continued degree programs and certification programs – all of which will provide the tools necessary to assist our employees in their career development.
When it comes to the innovative solutions that we deliver to our customers, it is critical for the Ameresco team to be at the forefront. Every month our Corporate Marketing Team hosts a Center of Excellence in Advance Technology training session available to all employees. Each session features a different topic to cover various aspects of Ameresco’s solution portfolio and is presented by our internal subject matter experts. All employees are encouraged to attend live and participate in the Q&A.
In 2021, we invested in a Learning Management System (“LMS”) in our Workday Enterprise Management platform to centralize and have the capability to measure development metrics such as training hours per employee. The new LMS system allows for easy access to training materials and more frequent training as needed.
We provide a tuition reimbursement program to support career development within our organization. In addition, we support employee growth by investing in career advancing certification programs for our employees.
For more information on our initiatives noted above, please see our 2021 Environmental, Social and Governance Report which is available at www.ameresco.com.
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Seasonality
See “Our business is affected by seasonal trends and construction cycles, and these trends and cycles could have an adverse effect on our operating results” in Item 1A, Risk Factors and “Overview — Effects of Seasonality” in Item 7, Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” for a discussion of seasonality in our business.
Geographic Information
Financial information about our domestic and international operations may be found in Note 16, “Geographic Information” of our consolidated financial statements included in Item 8 of this Form 10-K, which information is incorporated herein by reference.
Additional Information
Periodic reports, proxy statements, and other information are available to the public, free of charge, on our website, www.ameresco.com, as soon as reasonably practicable after they have been filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”), and through the SEC’s website, www.sec.gov. We include our website address in this report only as an inactive textual reference and do not intend it to be an active link to our website. None of the material on our website is part of this Report.
Executive Officers
The following is a list of our executive officers, their ages as of February 25, 2022 and their principal positions:
NameAgePosition (s)
George P. Sakellaris75Chairman of the Board of Directors, President, and Chief Executive Officer
Michael T. Bakas53Executive Vice President, Distributed Energy Systems
Nicole A. Bulgarino49Executive Vice President and General Manager, Federal Solutions
David J. Corrsin63Executive Vice President, General Counsel, and Secretary and Director
Robert Georgeoff57Executive Vice President, South Region
Britta MacIntosh54Senior Vice President, Western Region and U.K. and Europe Operations
Louis P. Maltezos55Executive Vice President, Central Region and Canada Operations
Spencer Doran Hole53Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer
Mark A. Chiplock52Senior Vice President of Finance and Chief Accounting Officer
Lauren K. Todd46Senior Vice President, Human Resources and Operations
George P. Sakellaris: Mr. Sakellaris has served as chairman of our board of directors and our president and chief executive officer since founding Ameresco in 2000.
Michael T. Bakas: Mr. Bakas has served as our executive vice president, distributed energy systems, since November 2017. Prior to this, Mr. Bakas served in various capacities with our company since 2000, including as our senior vice president, renewable energy, from March 2010 to November 2017.
Nicole A. Bulgarino: Ms. Bulgarino has served as our executive vice president and general manager of federal solutions since May 2017. Prior to this, Ms. Bulgarino served in various capacities with our company since 2004, including as our senior vice president and general manager of federal solutions from May 2015 to May 2017.
David J. Corrsin: Mr. Corrsin has served as our executive vice president, general counsel, and secretary, as well as a director, since 2000.
Robert Georgeoff: Mr. Georgeoff has served as our executive vice president, south region, since February 2021. Prior to this, Mr. Georgeoff served in various management capacities with our company since 2011, including as vice president, south region and President at Ameresco Southwest, a subsidiary of Ameresco, from August 2011 through February 2021.
Britta MacIntosh: Ms. MacIntosh has served as our senior vice president of the west region and UK & Europe operations since July 2020. Prior to this, Ms. MacIntosh served as our vice president of U.K. operations from February 2016 to July 2020.
Louis P. Maltezos: Mr. Maltezos has served as executive vice president since April 2009 and oversees central region and Canada operations. Prior to this, Mr. Maltezos served in various management capacities with our company since 2004, including as vice president and general manager of our Midwest regions from June 2004 to April 2009.
Spencer Doran Hole: Mr. Hole has served as our executive vice president and chief financial officer since February 2022 and served as senior vice president and chief financial officer since July 2019. Prior to joining Ameresco, Mr. Hole served as chief
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executive officer, North America and Group vice president - strategy at ReneSola Ltd., a manufacturer and supplier of green energy products, since November 2017 and served as the chief financial officer for the US division of ReneSola since December 2016.
Mark A. Chiplock: Mr. Chiplock has served as senior vice president of finance and chief accounting officer since February 2022 and served as vice president of finance and chief accounting officer since July 2019. Prior to this, Mr. Chiplock served as our interim chief financial officer and treasurer from October 2018 through July 2019 and as our corporate controller from June 2014 to December 2019.
Lauren K. Todd: Ms. Todd has served as senior vice president, human resources and operations since May 2021. Prior to this, Ms. Todd served in various capacities with our company since 2012, including as vice president, human resources and operations from April 2016 to May 2021.
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Item 1A. Risk Factors
We face many risks. If any of the events or circumstances described below actually occur, we and our businesses, financial condition or results of operations could suffer, and the trading price of our Class A Common Stock could decline. Our current and potential investors should consider the following risks and the information contained under the heading “Cautionary Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements” before deciding to invest in our securities.
Risks Related to Our Business
If demand for our energy efficiency and renewable energy solutions does not develop as we expect, our revenues will suffer, and our business will be harmed.
We believe, and our growth plans assume, that the market for energy efficiency and renewable energy solutions will continue to grow, that we will increase our penetration of this market and that our revenues from selling into this market will continue to increase over time. If our expectations as to the size of this market and our ability to sell our products and services in this market are not correct, our revenues will suffer, and our business will be harmed.
In order to secure contracts for new projects, we typically face a long and variable selling cycle that requires significant resource commitments and requires a long lead time before we realize revenues.
The sales, design, and construction process for energy efficiency and renewable energy projects recently has been taking from 18 to 54 months on average, with sales to federal government and housing authority customers tending to require the longest sales processes. Our sales cycle has been further lengthened as a result of the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. We cannot predict the timeline of the COVID-19 pandemic and, therefore, cannot predict the timeline for our selling cycle in the current conditions. Our existing and potential customers generally follow extended budgeting and procurement processes, and sometimes must engage in regulatory approval processes related to our services. Our customers often use outside consultants and advisors, which contributes to a longer sales cycle. Most of our potential customers issue an RFP, as part of their consideration of alternatives for their proposed project. In preparation for responding to an RFP, we typically conduct a preliminary audit of the customer’s needs and the opportunity to reduce its energy costs. For projects involving a renewable energy plant that is not located on a customer’s site or that uses sources of energy not within the customer’s control, the sales process also involves the identification of sites with attractive sources of renewable energy, such as a landfill or a favorable site for solar PV, and it may involve obtaining necessary rights and governmental permits to develop a project on that site. If we are awarded a project, we then perform a more detailed audit of the customer’s facilities, which serves as the basis for the final specifications of the project. We then must negotiate and execute a contract with the customer. In addition, we or the customer typically need to obtain financing for the project.
This extended sales process requires the dedication of significant time by our sales and management personnel and our use of significant financial resources, with no certainty of success or recovery of our related expenses. A potential customer may go through the entire sales process and not accept our proposal. All of these factors can contribute to fluctuations in our quarterly financial performance and increase the likelihood that our operating results in a particular quarter will fall below investor expectations. These factors could also adversely affect our business, financial condition and operating results due to increased spending by us that is not offset by increased revenues.
We may not recognize all revenues from our backlog or receive all payments anticipated under awarded projects and customer contracts.
As of December 31, 2021 and 2020, we had backlog of approximately $1,509.3 million and $895.7 million, respectively, in expected future revenues under signed customer contracts for the installation or construction of projects, which we sometimes refer to as fully-contracted backlog; and we also had been awarded projects for which we do not yet have signed customer contracts with estimated total future revenues of an additional $1,542.8 million and $1,318.7 million, respectively. As of December 31, 2021 and 2020, we had O&M backlog of approximately $1,131.7 million and $1,131.1 million, respectively. Our O&M backlog represents expected future revenues under signed multi-year customer contracts for the delivery of O&M services, primarily for energy efficiency and renewable energy construction projects completed by us for our customers.
Our customers have the right under some circumstances to terminate contracts or defer the timing of our services and their payments to us. In addition, our government contracts are subject to the risks described below under “Provisions in government contracts may harm our business, financial condition and operating results.” The payment estimates for projects that have been awarded to us but for which we have not yet signed contracts have been prepared by management and are based upon a number of assumptions, including that the size and scope of the awarded projects will not change prior to the signing of customer contracts, that we or our customers will be able to obtain any necessary third-party financing for the awarded projects, and that we and our customers will reach agreement on and execute contracts for the awarded projects. We are not always able to enter into a contract for an awarded project on the terms proposed. As a result, we may not receive all of the revenues that we include in the awarded projects component of our backlog or that we estimate we will receive under awarded projects. If we do not receive all of the
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revenue we currently expect to receive, our future operating results will be adversely affected. In addition, a delay in the receipt of revenues, even if such revenues are eventually received, may cause our operating results for a particular quarter to fall below our expectations.
We may be unable to complete or operate our projects on a profitable basis or as we have committed to our customers.
Development, installation, and construction of our energy efficiency and renewable energy projects, and operation of our renewable energy projects, entails many risks, including:
failure to receive critical components and equipment that meet our design specifications and can be delivered on schedule,
failure to obtain all necessary rights to land access and use,
failure to receive quality and timely performance of third-party services,
increases (including as a result of inflation) in the cost of labor, equipment, and commodities needed to construct or operate projects,
permitting and other regulatory issues, license revocation, and changes in legal requirements,
shortages of equipment or skilled labor,
unforeseen engineering problems,
failure of a customer to accept or pay for renewable energy that we supply,
weather interferences, catastrophic events including fires, explosions, earthquakes, droughts, and acts of terrorism; and accidents involving personal injury or the loss of life,
health or similar issues, a pandemic, or epidemic, such as COVID-19,
labor disputes and work stoppages,
mishandling of hazardous substances and waste, and other events outside of our control.
Any of these factors could give rise to construction delays and construction and other costs in excess of our expectations. We have, for example, experienced disruptions in development, installation and construction as a result of COVID-19 and the related quarantines, facility closures, and supply chain, travel and logistics challenges, and we may continue to experience such disruptions. In addition, the impacts of climate change have caused us to experience more frequent and severe weather interferences, and this trend may continue. These factors and events could prevent us from completing construction of our projects, cause defaults under our financing agreements or under contracts that require completion of project construction by a certain time, cause projects to be unprofitable for us, or otherwise impair our business, financial condition and operating results.
A significant decline in the fiscal health of federal, state, provincial, and local governments could reduce demand for our energy efficiency and renewable energy projects.
Historically, including for the years ended December 31, 2021 and 2020, more than 67% of our revenues have been derived from sales to federal, state, provincial, or local governmental entities, including public housing authorities and public universities. We expect revenues from this market sector to continue to comprise a significant percentage of our revenues for the foreseeable future. A significant decline in the fiscal health of these existing and potential customers may make it difficult for them to enter into contracts for our services or to obtain financing necessary to fund such contracts, or may cause them to seek to renegotiate or terminate existing agreements with us. In addition, if there is a partial or full shutdown of any federal, state, provincial or local governing body this may adversely impact our financial performance.
Provisions in our government contracts may harm our business, financial condition and operating results.
A significant majority of our fully-contracted backlog and awarded projects is attributable to customers that are governmental entities. Our contracts with the federal government and its agencies, and with state, provincial, and local governments, customarily contain provisions that give the government substantial rights and remedies, many of which are not typically found in commercial contracts, including provisions that allow the government to:
terminate existing contracts, in whole or in part, for any reason or no reason,
reduce or modify contracts or subcontracts,
decline to award future contracts if actual or apparent organizational conflicts of interest are discovered, or to impose organizational conflict mitigation measures as a condition of eligibility for an award,
suspend or debar the contractor from doing business with the government or a specific government agency, and
pursue criminal or civil remedies under the False Claims Act, False Statements Act, and similar remedy provisions unique to government contracting.
Under general principles of government contracting law, if the government terminates a contract for convenience, the terminated company may recover only its incurred or committed costs, settlement expenses, and profit on work completed prior to the
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termination. If the government terminates a contract for default, the defaulting company is entitled to recover costs incurred and associated profits on accepted items only and may be liable for excess costs incurred by the government in procuring undelivered items from another source. In most of our contracts with the federal government, the government has agreed to make a payment to us in the event that it terminates the agreement early. The termination payment is designed to compensate us for the cost of construction plus financing costs and profit on the work completed.
In ESPCs for governmental entities, the methodologies for computing energy savings may be less favorable than for non-governmental customers and may be modified during the contract period. We may be liable for price reductions if the projected savings cannot be substantiated. In addition to the right of the federal government to terminate its contracts with us, federal government contracts are conditioned upon the continuing approval by Congress of the necessary spending to honor such contracts. Congress often appropriates funds for a program on a September 30 fiscal-year basis even though contract performance may take more than one year. Consequently, at the beginning of many major Governmental programs, contracts often may not be fully funded, and additional monies are then committed to the contract only if, as and when appropriations are made by Congress for future fiscal years. Similar practices are likely to also affect the availability of funding for our contracts with Canadian, as well as state, provincial, and local government entities. If one or more of our government contracts were terminated or reduced, or if appropriations for the funding of one or more of our contracts is delayed or terminated, our business, financial condition and operating results could be adversely affected.
The projects we undertake for our customers generally require significant capital, which our customers or we may finance through third parties, and such financing may not be available to our customers or to us on favorable terms, if at all.
Our projects for customers are typically financed by third parties. For small-scale renewable energy plants that we own, as well as certain larger projects for customers, such as the battery storage project with SCE, we typically rely on a combination of our working capital and debt to finance construction costs. If we or our customers are unable to raise funds on acceptable terms when needed or if we do not have sufficient working capital or availability under our existing financing arrangements, we may be unable to secure customer contracts, the size of contracts we do obtain may be smaller or we could be required to delay the development and construction of projects, reduce the scope of those projects or otherwise restrict our operations. Delays in customer projects could also subject us to claims by customers. The terms of financing arrangements that we may enter into, including increases in interest rates as compared to historical rates, could impact the profitability of our projects. Furthermore, any inability by us or our customers to raise the funds necessary to finance our projects or construction costs could materially harm our business, financial condition, and operating results.
The loss of Southern California Edison Company (“SCE”), which is one of our most significant customers, or our failure to perform on our contract with that customer in accordance with its terms could adversely affect us.
We expect that a material portion of our revenue for 2022 will be generated from our design and build of battery energy storage system facilities for SCE under our Turnkey Engineering, Procurement, Construction and Maintenance Agreement and the underlying purchase orders dated as of October 21, 2021 (the “SCE Agreement”) with SCE. The SCE Agreement and related purchase orders obligate us to achieve certain substantial completion milestone dates (as they may be extended) for the facilities no later than August 1, 2022, and for at least two years thereafter meet specified availability and capacity guarantees. The SCE Agreement also requires us to expend significant capital, and if we are unable to fund such capital needs on acceptable terms, on a timely basis, or at all, this could adversely impact the construction timeline under the agreement. If we fail to satisfy these milestone obligations or fail to meet the availability and capacity guarantees, we may be subject to liquidated damages and under certain circumstances SCE may have a right to terminate the agreement. The requirement to pay liquidated damages or the loss of business from SCE could have a material adverse effect on our reputation, business or results of operations.
Project development or construction activities may not be successful, and we may make significant investments without first obtaining project financing, which could increase our costs and impair our ability to recover our investments.
The development and construction of small-scale renewable energy plants and other energy infrastructure projects involve numerous risks. We may be required to spend significant sums for preliminary engineering, permitting, legal and other expenses before we can determine whether a project is feasible, economically attractive or capable of being built. In addition, we will often choose to bear the costs of such efforts prior to obtaining project financing, prior to getting final regulatory approval and prior to our final sale to a customer, if any.
Successful completion of a particular project may be adversely affected by numerous factors, including: failures or delays in obtaining desired or necessary land rights, including ownership, leases and/or easements; failures or delays in obtaining necessary permits, licenses, or other governmental support or approvals, or in overcoming objections from members of the public or adjoining land owners; uncertainties relating to land costs for projects; unforeseen engineering problems; access to available transmission for electricity generated by our small-scale renewable energy plants; construction delays and contractor performance
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shortfalls; work stoppages or labor disruptions and compliance with labor regulations; cost over-runs; availability of products and components from suppliers; adverse weather conditions; environmental, archaeological and geological conditions; and availability of construction and permanent financing.
If we are unable to complete the development of a small-scale renewable energy plants or fail to meet one or more agreed target construction milestone dates, we may be subject to liquidated damages and/or penalties under the Engineering Procurement and Construction agreement or other agreements relating to the power plant or project, and we typically will not be able to recover our investment in the project. We expect to invest a significant amount of capital to develop projects whether owned by us or by third parties. If we are unable to complete the development of a project, we may write-down or write-off some or all of these capitalized investments, which would have an adverse impact on our net income in the period in which the loss is recognized.
We are exposed to the credit risk of some of our customers.
Most of our revenues are derived under multi-year or long-term contracts with our customers, and our revenues are therefore dependent to a large extent on the creditworthiness of our customers. During periods of economic downturn, our exposure to credit risks from our customers’ increases, and our efforts to monitor and mitigate the associated risks may not be effective in reducing our credit risks. Our reliance on one or a few customers for a material portion of our revenue further exacerbates this risk. In the event of non-payment by one or more of our customers, our business, financial condition and operating results could be adversely affected.
Our business is affected by seasonal trends and construction cycles, and these trends and cycles could have an adverse effect on our operating results.
We are subject to seasonal fluctuations and construction cycles, particularly in climates that experience colder weather during the winter months, such as the northern United States and Canada, and climates that experience extreme weather events, such as wildfires, storms, or flooding, or at educational institutions, where large projects are typically carried out during summer months when their facilities are unoccupied. In addition, government customers, many of which have fiscal years that do not coincide with ours, typically follow annual procurement cycles and appropriate funds on a fiscal-year basis even though contract performance may take more than one year. Further, government contracting cycles can be affected by the timing of, and delays in, the legislative process related to government programs and incentives that help drive demand for energy efficiency and renewable energy projects. As a result, our revenues and operating income in the third and fourth quarter are typically higher, and our revenues and operating income in the first quarter are typically lower, than in other quarters of the year. As a result of such fluctuations, we may occasionally experience declines in revenue or earnings as compared to the immediately preceding quarter, and comparisons of our operating results on a period-to-period basis may not be meaningful.
Failure of third parties to manufacture quality products or provide reliable services in a timely manner could cause delays in the delivery of our services and completion of our projects, which could damage our reputation, have a negative impact on our relationships with our customers and adversely affect our growth.
Our success depends on our ability to provide services and complete projects in a timely manner, which in part depends on the ability of third parties to provide us with timely and reliable products and services. In providing our services and completing our projects, we rely on products that meet our design specifications and components manufactured and supplied by third parties, as well as on services performed by subcontractors. We also rely on subcontractors to perform substantially all of the construction and installation work related to our projects; and we often need to engage subcontractors with whom we have no experience for our projects. We, our subcontractors and other third parties have been impacted by the global supply chain delays as well as quarantine and other restrictions imposed because of the COVID-19 pandemic. This has resulted in and may continue to result in delays in our ability to provide our services and complete our projects in a timely manner. In addition, some of the third parties we engage for our design, construction and operation projects operate internationally and our reliance on their products and services may be impacted by economic, political, and labor conditions in those regions as well as the uncertainty caused by the evolving relations between the United States and these regions, including China.
If any of our subcontractors are unable to provide services that meet or exceed our customers’ expectations or satisfy our contractual commitments, our reputation, business and operating results could be harmed. In addition, if we are unable to avail ourselves of warranty and other contractual protections with providers of products and services, we may incur liability to our customers or additional costs related to the affected products and components, which could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, and operating results. Moreover, any delays, malfunctions, inefficiencies, or interruptions in these products or services could adversely affect the quality and performance of our solutions and require considerable expense to establish alternate sources for such products and services. This could cause us to experience difficulty retaining current customers and attracting new customers, and could harm our brand, reputation, and growth.
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We may have liability to our customers under our ESPCs if our projects fail to deliver the energy use reductions to which we are committed under the contract.
For our energy efficiency projects, we typically enter into ESPCs under which we commit that the projects will satisfy agreed-upon performance standards appropriate to the project. These commitments are typically structured as guarantees of increased energy efficiency that are based on the design, capacity, efficiency, or operation of the specific equipment and systems we install. Our commitments generally fall into three categories: pre-agreed, equipment-level and whole building-level. Under a pre-agreed efficiency commitment, our customer reviews the project design in advance and agrees that, upon or shortly after completion of installation of the specified equipment comprising the project, the pre-agreed increase in energy efficiency will have been met. Under an equipment-level commitment, we commit to a level of increased energy efficiency based on the difference in use measured first with the existing equipment and then with the replacement equipment upon completion of installation. A whole building-level commitment requires future measurement and verification of increased energy efficiency for a whole building, often based on readings of the utility meter where usage is measured. Depending on the project, the measurement and verification may be required only once, upon installation, based on an analysis of one or more sample installations, or may be required to be repeated at agreed upon intervals generally over periods of up to 25 years.
Under our contracts, we typically do not take responsibility for a wide variety of factors outside our control and exclude or adjust for such factors in commitment calculations. These factors include variations in energy prices and utility rates, weather, facility occupancy schedules, the amount of energy-using equipment in a facility, and failure of the customer to operate or maintain the project properly. We rely in part on warranties from our equipment suppliers and subcontractors to back-stop the warranties we provide to our customers and, where appropriate, pass on the warranties to our customers. However, the warranties we provide to our customers are sometimes broader in scope or longer in duration than the corresponding warranties we receive from our suppliers and subcontractors, and we bear the risk for any differences, as well as the risk of warranty default by our suppliers and subcontractors.
Typically, our performance commitments apply to the aggregate overall performance of a project rather than to individual energy efficiency measures. Therefore, to the extent an individual measure underperforms, it may be offset by other measures that overperform during the same period. In the event that an energy efficiency project does not perform according to the agreed-upon specifications, our agreements typically allow us to satisfy our obligation by adjusting or modifying the installed equipment, installing additional measures to provide substitute energy savings, or paying the customer for lost energy savings based on the assumed conditions specified in the agreement. However, we may incur additional or increased liabilities or expenses under our ESPCs in the future. Such liabilities or expenses could be substantial, and they could materially harm our business, financial condition, or operating results. In addition, any disputes with a customer over the extent to which we bear responsibility to improve performance or make payments to the customer may diminish our prospects for future business from that customer or damage our reputation in the marketplace.
We may assume responsibility under customer contracts for factors outside our control, including, in connection with some customer projects, the risk that fuel prices will increase.
We typically do not take responsibility under our contracts for a wide variety of factors outside our control. We have, however, in a limited number of contracts assumed some level of risk and responsibility for certain factors — sometimes only to the extent that variations exceed specified thresholds — and may also do so under certain contracts in the future, particularly in our contracts for renewable energy projects. For example, under a contract for the construction and operation of a cogeneration facility at the U.S. Department of Energy Savannah River Site in South Carolina, a subsidiary of ours is exposed to the risk that the price of the biomass that will be used to fuel the cogeneration facility may rise during the 19-year performance period of the contract. Several provisions in that contract mitigate the price risk. In addition, although we typically structure our contracts so that our obligation to supply a customer with biogas, electricity or steam, for example, does not exceed the quantity produced by the production facility, in some circumstances we may commit to supply a customer with specified minimum quantities based on our projections of the facility’s production capacity. In such circumstances, if we are unable to meet such commitments, we may be required to incur additional costs or face penalties. Despite the steps we have taken to mitigate risks under these and other contracts, such steps may not be sufficient to avoid the need to incur increased costs to satisfy our commitments, and such costs could be material. Increased costs that we are unable to pass through to our customers could have a material adverse effect on our operating results.
Our business depends on experienced and skilled personnel and substantial specialty subcontractor resources, and if we lose key personnel or if we are unable to attract and integrate additional skilled personnel, it will be more difficult for us to manage our business and complete projects.
The success of our business and construction projects depends in large part on the skill of our personnel and on trade labor resources, including with certain specialty subcontractor skills. Competition for personnel, particularly those with expertise in the
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energy services and renewable energy industries, is high. In the event we are unable to attract, hire and retain the requisite personnel and subcontractors, we may experience delays in completing projects in accordance with project schedules and budgets. Further, any increase in demand for personnel and specialty subcontractors may result in higher costs, causing us to exceed the budget on a project. Either of these circumstances may have an adverse effect on our business, financial condition, and operating results, harm our reputation among and relationships with our customers and cause us to curtail our pursuit of new projects.
Our future success is particularly dependent on the vision, skills, experience, and effort of our senior management team, including our executive officers and our founder, principal stockholder, president, and chief executive officer, George P. Sakellaris. If we were to lose the services of any of our executive officers or key employees, our ability to effectively manage our operations and implement our strategy could be harmed and our business may suffer.
If we cannot obtain surety bonds and letters of credit, our ability to operate may be restricted.
Federal and state laws require us to secure the performance of certain long-term obligations through surety bonds and letters of credit. In addition, we are occasionally required to provide bid bonds or performance bonds to secure our performance under energy efficiency contracts. In the future, we may have difficulty procuring or maintaining surety bonds or letters of credit, and obtaining them may become more expensive, require us to post cash collateral or otherwise involve unfavorable terms. Because we are sometimes required to have performance bonds or letters of credit in place before projects can commence or continue, our failure to obtain or maintain those bonds and letters of credit would adversely affect our ability to begin and complete projects, and thus could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and operating results.
We operate in a highly competitive industry, and our current or future competitors may be able to compete more effectively than we do, which could have a material adverse effect on our business, revenues, growth rates, and market share.
Our industry is highly competitive, with many companies of varying size and business models, many of which have their own proprietary technologies, competing for the same business as we do. Many of our competitors have longer operating histories and greater resources than us and could focus their substantial financial resources to develop a competitive advantage. Our competitors may also offer energy solutions at prices below cost, devote significant sales forces to competing with us or attempt to recruit our key personnel by increasing compensation, any of which could improve their competitive positions. Any of these competitive factors could make it more difficult for us to attract and retain customers, cause us to lower our prices in order to compete, and reduce our market share and revenues, any of which could have a material adverse effect on our financial condition and operating results. We can provide no assurance that we will continue to effectively compete against our current competitors or additional companies that may enter our markets. In addition, we may also face competition based on technological developments that reduce demand for electricity, increase power supplies through existing infrastructure or otherwise compete with our products and services. We also encounter competition in the form of potential customers electing to develop solutions or perform services internally rather than engaging an outside provider such as us.
Our small-scale renewable energy plants may not generate expected levels of output.
The small-scale renewable energy plants that we construct and own are subject to various operating risks that may cause them to generate less than expected amounts of processed biogas, electricity, or thermal energy. These risks include a failure or degradation of our, our customers’ or utilities’ equipment; an inability to find suitable replacement equipment or parts; less than expected supply of the plant’s source of renewable energy, such as biogas or biomass; or a faster than expected diminishment of such supply. Any extended interruption in the plant’s operation, or failure of the plant for any reason to generate the expected amount of output, could have a material adverse effect on our business and operating results. In addition, we have in the past, and could in the future, incur material asset impairment charges if any of our renewable energy plants incur operational issues that indicate that our expected future cash flows from the plant are less than its carrying value. Any such impairment charge could have a material adverse effect on our operating results in the period in which the charge is recorded.
We have not entered into long-term offtake agreements for a portion of the output from our small-scale renewable energy plants and a portion of the related renewable identification numbers (“RINs”) are not subject to long term contracts.
We have not entered into long-term offtake agreements for a portion of the output from our small-scale renewable energy plants, particularly RNG and non-RNG plants, and we may sell portions of the processed RNG, medium-BTU gas or electricity produced by the facility at wholesale prices, which are exposed to market fluctuations and risks. Similarly, we have not entered into long-term agreements with respect to the RINs for which the production and sale of such biofuel may qualify. The failure to sell such processed RNG, medium-BTU gas, electricity, or the related RINs at a favorable price, or at all could have a material adverse effect on our business and operating results.
We may not be able to replace expiring offtake agreements with contracts on similar terms. If we are unable to replace an expired offtake agreement with an acceptable new contract, we may be required to remove the small-scale renewable energy plant from the site or, alternatively, we may sell the assets to the customer.
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We may not be able to replace an expiring offtake agreement with a contract on equivalent terms and conditions, including at prices that permit operation of the related facility on a profitable basis. If we are unable to replace an expiring offtake agreement with an acceptable new revenue contract, the affected site may temporarily or permanently cease operations or we may be required to sell the power produced by the facility at wholesale prices which are exposed to market fluctuations and risks. In the case of a solar photovoltaic installation that ceases operations, the offtake agreement terms generally require that we remove the assets, including fixing or reimbursing the site owner for any damages caused by the assets or the removal of such assets. Alternatively, we may agree to sell the assets to the site owner, but the terms and conditions, including price, that we would receive in any sale, and the sale price may not be sufficient to replace the revenue previously generated by the small-scale renewable energy plant.
We plan to expand our business in part through future acquisitions and joint ventures, but we may not be able to identify or complete suitable acquisitions.
Historically, acquisitions have been a significant part of our growth strategy. We plan to continue to use acquisitions of companies or assets and co-investments with third parties using joint ventures to expand our project skill-sets and capabilities, expand our geographic markets, add experienced management, increase our product and service offerings and add to our energy producing asset portfolio. However, we may be unable to implement this growth strategy if we cannot identify suitable acquisition or joint venture candidates or partners, reach agreement with targets on acceptable terms or arrange required financing for acquisitions or joint ventures on acceptable terms. In addition, the time and effort involved in identifying acquisition or joint venture candidates and consummate transactions may divert the attention and efforts of members of our management from the operations of our company.
We may be required to write-off or impair capitalized costs or intangible assets in the future, or we may incur restructuring costs or other charges, each of which could harm our earnings.
In accordance with generally accepted accounting principles in the United States, we capitalize certain expenditures and advances relating to our acquisitions, pending acquisitions, project development costs, interest costs related to project financing and certain energy assets. In addition, we have considerable unamortized assets. From time to time in future periods, we may be required to incur a charge against earnings in an amount equal to any unamortized capitalized expenditures and advances, net of any portion thereof that we estimate will be recoverable, through sale or otherwise, relating to: (i) any operation or other asset that is being sold, permanently shut down, impaired or has not generated or is not expected to generate sufficient cash flow; (ii) any pending acquisition that is not consummated; (iii) any project that is not expected to be successfully completed; and (iv) any goodwill or other intangible assets that are determined to be impaired.
In response to such charges and costs and other market factors, we may be required to implement restructuring plans in an effort to reduce the size and cost of our operations and to better match our resources with our market opportunities. As a result of such actions, we would expect to incur restructuring expenses and accounting charges which may be material. Several factors could cause a restructuring to adversely affect our business, financial condition, and results of operations. These include potential disruption of our operations, the development of our small-scale renewable energy projects and other aspects of our business. Employee morale and productivity could also suffer and result in unintended employee attrition. Any restructuring would require substantial management time and attention and may divert management from other important work. Moreover, we could encounter delays in executing any restructuring plans, which could cause further disruption and additional unanticipated expense. See also Note 2, “Summary of Significant Accounting Policies” and Note 5, “Goodwill and Intangible Assets, Net”, to our consolidated financial statements appearing in Item 8 of this Report.
Any future acquisitions that we may make could disrupt our business, cause dilution to our stockholders and harm our business, financial condition or operating results, and our use of joint ventures could expose us to additional risks and liabilities.
If we are successful in consummating acquisitions, those acquisitions could subject us to a number of risks, including:
the purchase price we pay could significantly deplete our cash reserves or result in dilution to our existing stockholders,
we may find that the acquired company or assets do not improve our customer offerings or market position as planned,
we may have difficulty integrating the operations and personnel of the acquired company,
key personnel and customers of the acquired company may terminate their relationships with the acquired company as a result of the acquisition,
we may experience additional financial and accounting challenges and complexities in areas such as tax planning and financial reporting,
we may incur additional costs and expenses related to complying with additional laws, rules or regulations in new jurisdictions,
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we may assume or be held liable for risks and liabilities (including for environmental-related costs) as a result of our acquisitions, some of which we may not discover during our due diligence or adequately adjust for in our acquisition arrangements,
our ongoing business and management’s attention may be disrupted or diverted by transition or integration issues and the complexity of managing geographically or culturally diverse enterprises,
we may incur one-time write-offs or restructuring charges in connection with the acquisition,
we may acquire goodwill and other intangible assets that are subject to amortization or impairment tests, which could result in future charges to earnings, and
we may not be able to realize the cost savings or other financial benefits we anticipated.
Furthermore, the use of joint ventures can result in additional risks as a result of our holding non-controlling interests in or having shared responsibility for managing the affairs of the joint venture. For example, our joint venture partners may have economic and business interests that are inconsistent with ours, we may lack sole decision-making authority, and disputes between us and our joint venture partners could subject us to litigation and increased expenses. These factors could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, and operating results.
International expansion is one of our growth strategies, and international operations will expose us to additional risks that we do not face in the United States, which could have an adverse effect on our operating results.
We generate a portion of our revenues from operations outside of the United States, mainly in Canada and the United Kingdom. International expansion is one of our growth strategies, and we expect our revenues and operations outside of the United States will expand in the future. These operations will be subject to a variety of risks that we do not face in the United States, and that we may face only to a limited degree in Canada and the United Kingdom, including:
building and managing a highly experienced foreign workforce and overseeing and ensuring the performance of foreign subcontractors,
increased travel, infrastructure and legal and compliance costs associated with multiple international locations,
additional withholding taxes or other taxes on our foreign income, and tariffs or other restrictions on foreign trade or investment,
imposition of, or unexpected adverse changes in, foreign laws or regulatory requirements, many of which differ from those in the United States,
increased exposure to foreign currency exchange rate risk,
longer payment cycles for sales in some foreign countries and potential difficulties in enforcing contracts and collecting accounts receivable,
difficulties in repatriating overseas earnings,
international and regional economic, political and labor conditions in the countries in which we operate, including the uncertainty caused by the United Kingdom’s departure from the European Union (Brexit) on January 31, 2020 and the effects of the Trade and Cooperation Agreement between the European Union and the United Kingdom signed on December 30, 2020, and the uncertainty caused by the evolving relations between the United States and China; and
political unrest, war, incidents of terrorism, pandemics, or responses to such events, including fluctuations in the severity and duration of the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting restrictions on business activity which may vary significantly by region.
Our overall success in international markets will depend, in part, on our ability to succeed in differing legal, regulatory, economic, social, and political conditions. We may not be successful in developing and implementing policies and strategies that will be effective in managing these risks in each country where we do business. Our failure to manage these risks successfully could harm our international operations, reduce our international sales, and increase our costs, thus adversely affecting our business, financial condition and operating results. Some of our third-party business partners have international operations and are also subject to these risks and if our third-party business partners are unable to appropriately manage these risks, our business may be harmed.
Risks related to Regulations or Governmental Actions
Our business depends in part on federal, state, provincial and local government support for energy efficiency and renewable energy, and a decline in such support could harm our business.
We depend in part on legislation and government policies that support energy efficiency and renewable energy projects that enhance the economic feasibility of our energy efficiency services and small-scale renewable energy projects. This support includes legislation and regulations that authorize and regulate the manner in which certain governmental entities do business with us; encourage or subsidize governmental procurement of our services; encourage or in some cases require other customers to procure power from renewable or low-emission sources, to reduce their electricity use or otherwise to procure our services; and
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provide us with tax and other incentives that reduce our costs or increase our revenues. Without this support, on which projects frequently rely for economic feasibility, our ability to complete projects for existing customers and obtain project commitments from new customers could be adversely affected. Due to the uncertainty in the regulatory and legislative processes, we cannot determine the effect such legislation and regulation may have on our products and operations.
A substantial portion of our earnings are derived from the sale of renewable energy certificates (“RECs”) and other environmental attributes, and our failure to be able to sell such attributes could materially adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operation.
A substantial portion of our earnings are attributable to our sale of renewable energy certificates (“RECs”) and other environmental attributes generated by our energy assets. These attributes are used as compliance purposes for state-specific or U.S. federal policy.
We own and operate solar PV installations which derive a significant portion of their revenues from the sale of solar renewable energy certificates (“SRECs”), which are produced as a result of generating electricity. The value of these SRECs is determined by the supply and demand of SRECs in the states in which the solar PV installations are installed. Supply is driven by the amount of installations and demand is driven by state-specific laws relating to renewable portfolio standards.
We also own and operate renewable natural gas plants that may deliver biofuels into to the nation’s natural gas pipeline grid. Such biofuel may qualify for certain environmental attribute mechanisms, such as RINs which are used for compliance purposes under the Renewable Fuel Standard (“RFS”) program. The RFS is a U.S. federal policy that requires transportation fuel to contain a minimum volume of renewable fuel. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) administers the RFS program and may periodically undertake regulatory action involving the RFS, including annual volume standards for renewable fuel. Some of our biofuel may also qualify for various state incentives, such as the Low Carbon Fuel Standard (“LCFS”), the pricing or availability of which may fluctuate.
We sometimes seek to sell forward a portion of our SRECs and other environmental attributes under contracts to fix the revenues from those attributes for financing purposes or hedge against future declines in prices of such environmental attributes. If our renewable energy facilities do not generate the amount of renewable energy attributes sold under such forward contracts or if for any reason the renewable energy we generate does not produce SRECs or other environmental attributes for a particular state, we may be required to make up the shortfall of SRECs or other environmental attributes under such forward contracts through purchases on the open market or make payments of liquidated damages. RECs are created through state law requirements for utilities to purchase a portion of their energy from renewable energy sources and changes in state laws or regulation relating to RECs may adversely affect the availability of RECs or other environmental attributes and the future prices for RECs or other environmental attributes, which could have an adverse effect on our business, financial condition, and results of operations.
We may have exposure to additional tax liabilities and our effective tax rate may increase or fluctuate, which could increase our income tax expense and reduce our net income.
Our provision for income taxes is subject to volatility and could be adversely affected by changes in tax laws or regulations, particularly changes in tax incentives in support of energy efficiency. For example, certain deductions relating to energy efficiency have expiration dates which could significantly alter the existing tax code, including the removal of these credits prior to their scheduled expiration. The 30% investment tax credit (“ITC”) relating to the installation of solar power fell to 26% in 2020 which will be retained for solar projects that begin construction through the end of 2022. It will decrease to 22% in 2023 and 10% in 2024 and future years. We took advantage of the Safe Harbor commence-construction provisions contained in IRS Notice 2018-59 by pre-purchasing solar equipment in 2019 thereby preserving the ability to take 30% ITC for projects placed in service before 2024. If these or other deductions and credits expire without being extended, or otherwise are reduced or eliminated, our effective tax rate would increase, which could increase our income tax expense and reduce our net income.
Our tax rate has historically been significantly impacted by the IRC Section 179D deduction. This deduction is related to energy efficient improvements we provide under government contracts. The Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 made permanent the Section 179D Energy Efficient Commercial Building Deduction. That Act made changes to the way the deduction is calculated. If those changes result in lower levels of energy efficiency improvements, it could impact the deduction available and the tax rate.
In addition, like other companies, we may be subject to examination of our income tax returns by the U.S. Internal Revenue Service and other tax authorities; our U.S. federal tax returns for 2018 through 2021 are subject to audit by federal, state and foreign tax authorities. Though we regularly assess the likelihood of adverse outcomes from such examinations and the adequacy of our provision for income taxes, there can be no assurance that such provision is sufficient and that a determination by a tax authority will not have an adverse effect on our net income.
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Changes in the laws and regulations governing the public procurement of ESPCs could have a material impact on our business.
We derive a significant amount of our revenue from ESPCs with our government customers. While federal, state and local government rules governing such contracts vary, such rules may, for example, permit the funding of such projects through long-term financing arrangements; permit long-term payback periods from the savings realized through such contracts; allow units of government to exclude debt related to such projects from the calculation of their statutory debt limitation; allow for award of contracts on a “best value” instead of “lowest cost” basis; and allow for the use of sole source providers. To the extent these rules become more restrictive in the future, our business could be harmed.
We need governmental approvals and permits, and we typically must meet specified qualifications, in order to undertake our energy efficiency projects and construct, own and operate our small-scale renewable energy projects, and any failure to do so would harm our business.
The design, construction, and operation of our energy efficiency and small-scale renewable energy projects require various governmental approvals and permits and may be subject to the imposition of related conditions that vary by jurisdiction. In some cases, these approvals and permits require periodic renewal. We cannot predict whether all permits required for a given project will be granted or whether the conditions associated with the permits will be achievable. The denial of a permit essential to a project or the imposition of impractical conditions would impair our ability to develop the project. In addition, we cannot predict whether the permits will attract significant opposition or whether the permitting process will be lengthened due to complexities and appeals. Delay in the review and permitting process for a project can impair or delay our ability to develop that project or increase the cost so substantially that the project is no longer attractive to us. We have experienced delays in developing our projects due to delays in obtaining permits and may experience delays in the future. If we were to commence construction in anticipation of obtaining the final, non-appealable permits needed for that project, we would be subject to the risk of being unable to complete the project if all the permits were not obtained. If this were to occur, we would likely lose a significant portion of our investment in the project and could incur a loss as a result. Further, the continued operations of our projects require continuous compliance with permit conditions. This compliance may require capital improvements or result in reduced operations. Any failure to procure, maintain and comply with necessary permits would adversely affect ongoing development, construction and continuing operation of our projects.
In addition, the projects we perform for governmental agencies are governed by particular qualification and contracting regimes. Certain states require qualification with an appropriate state agency as a precondition to performing work or appearing as a qualified energy service provider for state, county, and local agencies within the state. For example, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and the states of Colorado and Washington pre-qualify energy service providers and provide contract documents that serve as the starting point for negotiations with potential governmental clients. Most of the work that we perform for the federal government is performed under IDIQ agreements between a government agency and us or a subsidiary. These IDIQ agreements allow us to contract with the relevant agencies to implement energy projects, but no work may be performed unless we and the agency agree on a task order or delivery order governing the provision of a specific project. The government agencies enter into contracts for specific projects on a competitive basis. We and our subsidiaries and affiliates are currently party to an IDIQ agreement with the U.S. Department of Energy expiring in 2026. We are also party to similar agreements with other federal agencies, including the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the U.S. General Services Administration. If we are unable to maintain or renew our IDIQ qualification under the U.S. Department of Energy program for ESPCs, or similar federal or state qualification regimes, our business could be materially harmed.
Many of our small-scale renewable energy projects are, and other future projects may be, subject to or affected by U.S. federal energy regulation or other regulations that govern the operation, ownership, and sale of the facility, or the sale of electricity from the facility.
PUHCA and the FPA regulate public utility holding companies and their subsidiaries and place constraints on the conduct of their business. The FPA regulates wholesale sales of electricity and the transmission of electricity in interstate commerce by public utilities. Under PURPA, all of our current small-scale renewable energy projects are small power “qualifying facilities” (facilities meeting statutory size, fuel, and filing requirements) that are exempt from regulations under PUHCA, most provisions of the FPA and state rate and financial regulation. None of our renewable energy projects are currently subject to rate regulation for wholesale power sales by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (“FERC”) under the FPA, but certain of our projects that are under construction or development could become subject to such regulation in the future. Also, we may acquire interests in or develop generating projects that are not qualifying facilities. Non-qualifying facility projects would be fully subject to FERC corporate and rate regulation, and would be required to obtain FERC acceptance of their rate schedules for wholesale sales of energy, capacity, and ancillary services, which requires substantial disclosures to and discretionary approvals from FERC. FERC may revoke or revise an entity’s authorization to make wholesale sales at negotiated, or market-based, rates if FERC determines that we can exercise market power in transmission or generation, create barriers to entry or engage in abusive affiliate transactions
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or market manipulation. In addition, many public utilities (including any non-qualifying facility generator in which we may invest) are subject to FERC reporting requirements that impose administrative burdens and that, if violated, can expose the company to civil penalties or other risks.
All of our wholesale electric power sales are subject to certain market behavior rules. These rules change from time to time, by virtue of FERC rulemaking proceedings and FERC-ordered amendments to utilities’ or power pools’ FERC tariffs. If we are deemed to have violated these rules, we will be subject to potential disgorgement of profits associated with the violation and/or suspension or revocation of our market-based rate authority, as well as potential criminal and civil penalties. If we were to lose market-based rate authority for any non-qualifying facility project we may acquire or develop in the future, we would be required to obtain FERC’s acceptance of a cost-based rate schedule and could become subject to, among other things, the burdensome accounting, record keeping and reporting requirements that are imposed on public utilities with cost-based rate schedules. This could have an adverse effect on the rates we charge for power from our projects and our cost of regulatory compliance. Wholesale electric power sales are subject to increasing regulation. The terms and conditions for power sales, and the right to enter and remain in the wholesale electric sector, are subject to FERC oversight. Due to major regulatory restructuring initiatives at the federal and state levels, the U.S. electric industry has undergone substantial changes over the past decade. We cannot predict the future design of wholesale power markets, or the ultimate effect ongoing regulatory changes will have on our business. Other proposals to further regulate the sector may be made and legislative or other attention to the electric power market restructuring process may delay or reverse the movement towards competitive markets.
If we become subject to additional regulation under PUHCA, FPA, or other regulatory frameworks, if existing regulatory requirements become more onerous, or if other material changes to the regulation of the electric power markets take place, our business, financial condition, and operating results could be adversely affected.
Changes in utility regulation and tariffs could adversely affect our business.
Our business is affected by regulations and tariffs that govern the activities and rates of utilities. For example, utility companies are commonly allowed by regulatory authorities to charge fees to some business customers for disconnecting from the electric grid or for having the capacity to use power from the electric grid for back-up purposes. These fees could increase the cost to our customers of taking advantage of our services and make them less desirable, thereby harming our business, financial condition, and operating results. Our current generating projects are all operated as qualifying facilities. FERC regulations under the FPA confer upon these facilities key rights to interconnection with local utilities and can entitle qualifying facilities to enter into power purchase agreements with local utilities, from which the qualifying facilities benefit. Changes to these federal laws and regulations could increase our regulatory burdens and costs and could reduce our revenues. State regulatory agencies could award renewable energy certificates or credits that our electric generation facilities produce to our power purchasers, thereby reducing the power sales revenues we otherwise would earn. In addition, modifications to the pricing policies of utilities could require renewable energy systems to charge lower prices in order to compete with the price of electricity from the electric grid and may reduce the economic attractiveness of certain energy efficiency measures.
Some of the demand-reduction services we provide for utilities and institutional clients are subject to regulatory tariffs imposed under federal and state utility laws. In addition, the operation of, and electrical interconnection for, our renewable energy projects are subject to federal, state, or provincial interconnection and federal reliability standards that are also set forth in utility tariffs. These tariffs specify rules, business practices, and economic terms to which we are subject. The tariffs are drafted by the utilities and approved by the utilities’ state and federal regulatory commissions. These tariffs change frequently, and it is possible that future changes will increase our administrative burden or adversely affect the terms and conditions under which we render service to our customers.
The Securities and Exchange Commission’s investigation into our revenue recognition and compensation practices in our software-as-a-service businesses could result in a restatement of our consolidated financial statements, investment in remediation of our internal controls, sanctions, or penalties, distraction of our management, and litigation from third parties, each of which could adversely affect or cause variability in our financial results.
We are cooperating with requests by the staff of the United States Securities and Exchange Commission, or SEC, for information with respect to revenue recognition for our software-as-a-service businesses during the period beginning January 1, 2014 The Audit Committee of our Board of Directors is overseeing a review by our outside counsel of our software-as-a-service revenue recognition, including review procedures with respect to the revenue recognized during the period from 2018 to September 30, 2020. Although, our review to date has not identified material misstatements of our financial results, the SEC’s inquiry is not complete, and there can be no assurance that SEC will not reach a contrary conclusion. In that event, we may be required to restate previously filed financial statements and invest in remediation of our internal controls; the SEC or another regulator could make further inquiries or pursue further action that could result in significant costs, expenses, sanctions, and penalties; we may be subject to litigation from shareholders; and our management may be distracted by these circumstances.
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Compliance with environmental laws could adversely affect our operating results.
Costs of compliance with federal, state, provincial, local and other foreign existing and future environmental regulations could adversely affect our cash flow and profitability. We are required to comply with numerous environmental laws and regulations and to obtain numerous governmental permits in connection with energy efficiency and renewable energy projects. In addition, we may become subject to additional legislation and regulation regarding climate change, and we may incur significant additional costs to comply with existing and new requirements. If we fail to comply with these requirements, we could be subject to civil or criminal liability, damages, and fines. Existing environmental regulations could be revised or reinterpreted, and new laws and regulations could be adopted or become applicable to us or our projects, and future changes in environmental laws and regulations, including those intended to combat climate change, could occur. These factors may materially increase the amount we must invest to bring our projects into compliance and impose additional expense on our operations. In addition, private lawsuits or enforcement actions by federal, state, provincial, and/or foreign regulatory agencies may materially increase our costs. Certain environmental laws make us potentially liable on a joint and several basis for the remediation of contamination at or emanating from properties or facilities we currently or formerly owned or operated or properties to which we arranged for the disposal of hazardous substances. Such liability is not limited to the cleanup of contamination we actually caused. Although we seek to obtain indemnities against liabilities relating to historical contamination at the facilities we own or operate, we cannot provide any assurance that we will not incur liability relating to the remediation of contamination, including contamination we did not cause. We may not be able to obtain or maintain, from time to time, all required environmental regulatory approvals. A delay in obtaining any required environmental regulatory approvals or failure to obtain and comply with them could adversely affect our business and operating results.
Our activities and operations are subject to numerous health and safety laws and regulations, and if we violate such regulations, we could face penalties and fines.
We are subject to numerous health and safety laws and regulations in each of the jurisdictions in which we operate. These laws and regulations require us to obtain and maintain permits and approvals and implement health and safety programs and procedures to control risks associated with our projects. Compliance with those laws and regulations can require us to incur substantial costs. Moreover, if our compliance programs are not successful, we could be subject to penalties or to revocation of our permits, which may require us to curtail or cease operations of the affected projects. Violations of laws, regulations and permit requirements may also result in criminal sanctions or injunctions. Health and safety laws, regulations and permit requirements may change or become more stringent. Any such changes could require us to incur materially higher costs than we currently have. Our costs of complying with current and future health and safety laws, regulations and permit requirements, and any liabilities, fines or other sanctions resulting from violations of them, could adversely affect our business, financial condition, and operating results.
We are subject to various privacy and consumer protection laws.
Our privacy policy is posted on our website, and any failure by us or our vendor or other business partners to comply with it or with federal, state, or international privacy, data protection or security laws or regulations could result in regulatory or litigation-related actions against us, legal liability, fines, damages and other costs. We may also incur substantial expenses and costs in connection with maintaining compliance with such laws. Globally, laws such as the General Data Protection Regulation (“GDPR”) in Europe and new and emerging state laws in the United States on privacy, data, and related technologies, have created new compliance obligations and significantly increases fines for noncompliance. Although we take steps to protect the security of our customers’ personal information, we may be required to expend significant resources to comply with data breach requirements if third parties improperly obtain and use the personal information of our customers or we otherwise experience a data loss with respect to customers’ personal information. A major breach of our network security and systems could have negative consequences for our business and future prospects, including possible fines, penalties and damages, reduced customer demand for our services, and harm to our reputation and brand.
Risks Related to our Indebtedness
Our senior credit facility, project financing term loans and construction loans contain financial and operating restrictions that may limit our business activities and our access to credit and they may not be sufficient to fund our capital needs and growth.
Provisions in our senior credit facility and term loan, project financing term loans and construction loans impose customary restrictions on our and certain of our subsidiaries’ business activities and uses of cash and other collateral. These agreements also contain other customary covenants, including covenants that require us to meet specified financial ratios and financial tests.
We have a $180 million revolving senior secured credit facility and $65 million term loan that mature June 2024 (collectively, the “Senior Credit Facilities”), which are subject to the quarter end ratio covenant described below as well as certain other customary
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operational covenants. As of December 31, 2021, the balance of our Senior Credit Facilities were $97.8 million. These Senior Credit Facilities may not be sufficient to meet our needs as our business grows, and we may be unable to extend or replace them on acceptable terms, or at all. Under these facilities, we are required to maintain a maximum ratio of total funded debt to EBITDA (as defined in the agreement) of less than 3.5 to 1.0. We are also required to maintain a debt service coverage ratio (as defined in the agreements) of at least 1.5 to 1.0. EBITDA for purposes of the facilities excludes the results of certain renewable energy projects that we own and for which financing from others remains outstanding.
In addition, our project financing term loans and construction loans require us to comply with a variety of financial and operational covenants. Although we do not consider it likely that we will fail to comply with any material covenants for the next twelve months, we cannot assure that we will be able to do so. Our failure to comply with these covenants may result in the declaration of an event of default and cause us to be unable to borrow under our Senior Credit Facilities. In addition to preventing additional borrowings under these facilities, an event of default, if not cured or waived, may result in the acceleration of the maturity of indebtedness outstanding under it or the applicable project financing term loan, which would require us to pay all amounts outstanding. If an event of default occurs, we may not be able to cure it within any applicable cure period, if at all. Certain of our debt agreements, including our Senior Credit Facilities, also contain subjective acceleration clauses based on a lender deeming that a “material adverse change” in our business has occurred. If these clauses are implicated, and the lender declares that an event of default has occurred, the outstanding indebtedness would likely be immediately due and owing. If the maturity of our indebtedness is accelerated, we may not have sufficient funds available for repayment or we may not have the ability to borrow or obtain sufficient funds to replace the accelerated indebtedness on terms acceptable to us or at all.
If our subsidiaries default on their obligations under their debt instruments, we may need to make payments to lenders to prevent foreclosure on the collateral securing the debt.
We typically set up subsidiaries to own and finance our renewable energy projects. These subsidiaries incur various types of debt which can be used to finance one or more projects. This debt is typically structured as non-recourse debt, which means it is repayable solely from the revenues from the projects financed by the debt and is secured by such projects’ physical assets, major contracts and cash accounts and a pledge of our equity interests in the subsidiaries involved in the projects. Although our subsidiary debt is typically non-recourse to Ameresco, if a subsidiary of ours defaults on such obligations, or if one project out of several financed by a particular subsidiary’s indebtedness encounters difficulties or is terminated, then we may from time to time determine to provide financial support to the subsidiary in order to maintain rights to the project or otherwise avoid the adverse consequences of a default. In the event a subsidiary defaults on its indebtedness, its creditors may foreclose on the collateral securing the indebtedness, which may result in our losing our ownership interest in some or all of the subsidiary’s assets. The loss of our ownership interest in a subsidiary or some or all of a subsidiary’s assets could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and operating results.
The LIBOR calculation method under certain of our financing arrangements may change as LIBOR is expected to be phased out by June 2023.
Our senior credit facility and certain of our project financing term loans permit or require interest on the outstanding principal balance to be calculated based on LIBOR. The U.K. Financial Conduct Authority (the “FCA”) announced in 2017 that it will no longer require banks to submit rates for the calculation of LIBOR after 2021. This date has been extended to June 30, 2023. As a result, actions by the FCA, other regulators, or law enforcement agencies may result in changes to the method by which LIBOR is calculated. At this time, it is not possible to predict the effect of any such changes or any other reforms to LIBOR that may be enacted in the U.K. or elsewhere.
Risks Related to Ownership of Our Class A Common Stock
The trading price of our Class A common stock is volatile.
The trading price of our Class A common stock is volatile and could be subject to wide fluctuations, some of which are beyond our control. During the year ended December 31, 2021, our Class A common stock has traded at a low of $37.70 and a high of $101.86. The stock market in general has experienced extreme price and volume fluctuations that have often been unrelated or disproportionate to the operating performance of publicly traded companies. If the stock market in general experiences a significant decline, the trading price of our Class A common stock could decline for reasons unrelated to our business, financial condition, or operating results. As a result of this volatility, you may not be able to sell your Class A common stock at or above the price you paid for it, and you may lose some or all of your investment. Additionally, although historically there has not been a large short position in our Class A common stock, securities of certain companies have recently experienced extreme and significant volatility as a result of a large aggregate short position driving up the stock price over a short period of time, which is known as a “short squeeze.” Furthermore, some companies that have had volatile market prices for their securities have had securities class actions filed against them. If a suit were filed against us, regardless of its merits or outcome, it would likely result
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in substantial costs and divert management’s attention and resources. This could have a material adverse effect on our business, operating results, and financial condition.
Holders of our Class A common stock are entitled to one vote per share, and holders of our Class B common stock are entitled to five votes per share. The lower voting power of our Class A common stock may negatively affect the attractiveness of our Class A common stock to investors and, as a result, its market value.
We have two classes of common stock: Class A common stock, which is listed on the NYSE and which is entitled to one vote per share, and Class B common stock, which is not listed on any security exchange and is entitled to five votes per share. The difference in the voting power of our Class A and Class B common stock could diminish the market value of our Class A common stock because of the superior voting rights of our Class B common stock and the power those rights confer.
For the foreseeable future, Mr. Sakellaris or his affiliates will be able to control the selection of all members of our board of directors, as well as virtually every other matter that requires stockholder approval, which will severely limit the ability of other stockholders to influence corporate matters.
Except in certain limited circumstances required by applicable law, holders of Class A and Class B common stock vote together as a single class on all matters to be voted on by our stockholders. Mr. Sakellaris, our founder, principal stockholder, president, and chief executive officer, owns all of our Class B common stock, which, together with his Class A common stock, represents approximately 74% of the combined voting power of our outstanding Class A and Class B common stock. Under our restated certificate of incorporation, holders of shares of Class B common stock may generally transfer those shares to family members, including spouses and descendants or the spouses of such descendants, as well as to affiliated entities, without having the shares automatically convert into shares of Class A common stock. Therefore, Mr. Sakellaris, his affiliates, and his family members and descendants will, for the foreseeable future, be able to control the outcome of the voting on virtually all matters requiring stockholder approval, including the election of directors and significant corporate transactions such as an acquisition of our company, even if they come to own, in the aggregate, as little as 20% of the economic interest of the outstanding shares of our Class A and Class B common stock. Moreover, these persons may take actions in their own interests that you or our other stockholders do not view as beneficial.
Though we may repurchase shares of our Class A common stock pursuant to our share repurchase program, we are not obligated to do so and if we do, we may purchase only a limited number of shares of Class A common stock.
In May 2016, we announced a stock repurchase program under which the Company is currently authorized to repurchase, in the aggregate, up to $17.6 million of our outstanding Class A common stock. However, we are not obligated to acquire any shares of our Class A common stock, and holders of our Class A common stock should not rely on the share repurchase program to increase their liquidity. The amount and timing of any share repurchases will depend upon a variety of factors, including the trading price of our Class A common stock, liquidity, securities laws restrictions, other regulatory restrictions, potential alternative uses of capital, and market and economic conditions. We intend to purchase through open market transactions or in privately negotiated transactions, in accordance with applicable securities laws and regulatory limitations. We may reduce or eliminate our share repurchase program in the future. The reduction or elimination of our share repurchase program, particularly if we do not repurchase the full number of shares authorized under the program, could adversely affect the market price of our common stock.
General Risk Factors
A failure of our information technology (“IT”) and data security infrastructure, or if we or our vendors experience cyber security incidents or have a vulnerability or other deficiency in cybersecurity, could adversely impact our business and operations.
We rely upon the capacity, reliability, and security of our IT and data security infrastructure and our ability to expand and continually update this infrastructure in response to the changing needs of our business. As we implement new systems, they may not perform as expected. We also face the challenge of supporting our older systems and implementing necessary upgrades. If we experience a problem with the functioning or a security breach of our IT systems, including during system upgrades and/or new system implementations, the resulting disruptions could have an adverse effect on our business. We receive and store personal information in connection with our human resources operations and other aspects of our business. Despite our implementation of security measures, our IT systems are vulnerable to damages from computer viruses, natural disasters, unauthorized access, cyber-attacks, and other similar disruptions, and we have experienced such incidents in the past. Any system failure, accident, or security breach could result in disruptions to our operations. A material network breach in the security of our IT systems could include the theft of our intellectual property, trade secrets, customer information, human resources information, or other confidential matter.
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We have been subject to and may in the future experience cybersecurity threats, including advanced and persistent cyberattacks, phishing and social engineering schemes, particularly on internet applications. Furthermore, some of the assets we own or operate constitute critical infrastructure which could become targets for cyberattacks. These threats could compromise the confidentiality, availability, and integrity of data in our systems. In addition, cybersecurity incidents at our vendors, customers and partners may have similar negative impact on our business operations. For example, we engage third-party vendors who receive and store personal and sensitive information in connection with our operations, including our human resources functions such as background checks. We do not have control over or access to the IT infrastructure of these vendors. Our vendors have and may in the future experience network breaches, unauthorized access, hacking and other cyberattacks. In such instances, we are not be able to fully investigate the incidents and may not be able to implement measures to defend such attacks. Furthermore, third-party vendors may not notify us of such incidents timely or at all, making it more difficult for us to identify and mitigate cybersecurity risks. Although we devote resources to our cybersecurity programs and have implemented security measures to protect our systems and data, and to prevent, detect and respond to data security incidents, there can be no assurance that our efforts will prevent these threats. Because the techniques used to obtain unauthorized access, or to disable or degrade systems, change frequently, have become increasingly more complex and sophisticated, and may be difficult to detect for periods of time, we may not anticipate these acts or respond adequately or timely.
As these threats continue to evolve and increase, we may be required to devote significant additional resources in order to modify and enhance our security controls and to identify and remediate any security vulnerabilities. To the extent that any disruptions or security breach results in a loss or damage to our data, or an inappropriate disclosure of confidential, personal, proprietary or customer information, or inability for us to operate the assets we own or operate for our customers, it could cause significant damage to our reputation, affect our relationships with our customers and employees, lead to claims against us and ultimately harm our business.
The COVID-19 pandemic has had and may continue to have an adverse effect on our business and future public health threats or outbreaks of communicable diseases could have a material adverse effect on our operations and financial results.
We may face risks related to public health threats or outbreaks of communicable diseases. A widespread healthcare crisis, such as an outbreak of a communicable disease could adversely affect the global economy our ability to conduct business for an indefinite period of time. For example, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, has negatively impacted global economy, disrupted financial markets and international trade and significantly impacted global supply chains. In addition, Federal, state, and local governments have implemented various mitigation measures, including travel restrictions, border closings, and limitations on business. Some of these actions have adversely impacted and may continue to adversely impact the ability of our employees, contractors, suppliers, customers, and other business partners to conduct business activities, and depending on development of the pandemic, could ultimately do so for an indefinite period of time. The COVID-19 impacts described above could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations, financial condition, and liquidity. In particular, the continued effects of COVID-19 and efforts to contain the virus:
has lengthened and could continue to lengthen our sales cycles,
could cause us to experience an increase in delayed payments from customers and uncollectible accounts,
has caused and could continue to cause delays and disruptions in the completion of certain projects (including as a result of the global supply chain challenges),
could impact availability of qualified personnel and general labor shortages, and
could cause other unpredictable events.
Vaccines for COVID-19 continue to be administered in the United States and other countries around the world, but the extent and rate of vaccine adoption, the long-term efficacy of these vaccines, and other factors remain uncertain, and the potential for a material impact on our results of operations, financial condition, and liquidity increases the longer the virus impacts activity levels in the United States and globally. Furthermore, current or future vaccine requirements (such as the executive order issued by President Biden in October 2021, which required us as an employer with federal government contracts to ensure that our U.S.-based employees, contractors, and subcontractors, that work on or in support of federal contracts, were fully vaccinated) may result in additional compliance cost and impact our ability to retain and recruit critically skilled workforce. Overall, the situation surrounding COVID-19 remains fluid and the extent to which it may impact our business, operating results, financial condition, or liquidity will depend on future developments, including the duration of the outbreak, the emergence and spread of more transmissible variants, travel restrictions, business, workforce disruptions, and the effectiveness of actions taken to contain and treat the disease.
Item 1B. Unresolved Staff Comments
None.
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Item 2. Properties
Our corporate headquarters is located in Framingham, Massachusetts, where we occupy approximately 27,000 square feet under a lease expiring on June 30, 2025. We occupy nine regional offices in Phoenix, Arizona; Islandia, New York; Oak Brook, Illinois; Columbia, Maryland; Charlotte, North Carolina; Knoxville, Tennessee; Tomball, Texas; Spokane, Washington, and Richmond Hill, Ontario, each less than 25,000 square feet, under lease or sublease agreements. In addition, we lease space, typically of lesser size, for 56 field offices throughout North America and the U.K. We also own 146 small-scale renewable energy plants throughout North America and one in Ireland, which are located on sites we own or lease, or sites provided by customers. We expect to add new facilities and expand existing facilities as we continue to add employees and expand our business into new geographic areas.
Item 3. Legal Proceedings
In the ordinary conduct of our business we are subject to periodic lawsuits, investigations, and claims. Although we cannot predict with certainty the ultimate resolution of such lawsuits, investigations, and claims against us, we do not believe that any currently pending or threatened legal proceedings to which we are a party will have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations, or financial condition.
We are cooperating with requests by the staff of the United States Securities and Exchange Commission, or SEC, for information with respect to revenue recognition for our software-as-a-service, or SaaS, businesses during the period beginning January 1, 2014 through September 30, 2020. The Audit Committee of our Board of Directors is overseeing a review by our outside counsel of our software-as-a-service revenue recognition, including review procedures with respect to the revenue recognized during the period from 2018 to September 30, 2020. The review to date has not identified material misstatements of our financial results. We intend to continue to cooperate fully with the SEC and promptly address any material accounting errors or material control weaknesses which may be identified in connection with the inquiry and review.
For additional information about certain proceedings, please refer to Note 15, “Commitments and Contingencies”, to our consolidated financial statements included in this Report, which is incorporated into this item by reference.
Item 4. Mine Safety Disclosures
Not applicable.
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PART II
Item 5. Market for Registrant’s Common Equity, Related Stockholder Matters, and Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities
Our Class A common stock trades on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol “AMRC”.
As of February 25, 2022, and according to the records of our transfer agent, there were 11 shareholders of record of our Class A common stock. A substantially greater number of holders of our Class A common stock are “street name” or beneficial holders, whose shares are held of record by banks, brokers, and other financial institutions.
Our Class B common stock is not publicly traded and is held of record by George P. Sakellaris, our founder, principal stockholder, president, and chief executive officer, and a trust which Mr. Sakellaris’s immediate family members are trustee and beneficiaries.
Dividend Policy
We have never declared or paid any cash dividends on our capital stock. We currently intend to retain earnings, if any, to finance the growth and development of our business and do not expect to pay any cash dividends for the foreseeable future. Our revolving senior secured credit facility contains provisions that limit our ability to declare and pay cash dividends during the term of that agreement. Payment of future dividends, if any, will be at the discretion of our board of directors and will depend on our financial condition, results of operations, capital requirements, restrictions contained in current or future financing instruments, provisions of applicable law and other factors our board of directors deems relevant.
Stock Performance Graph
The following performance graph and related information shall not be deemed “soliciting material” or to be “filed” with the SEC, nor shall such information be incorporated by reference into any future filing under the Securities Act of 1933 (the “Securities Act”) or the Exchange Act, except to the extent that we specifically incorporate it by reference into such filing.
The following graph compares the cumulative total return attained by our Class A common shareholders with the Russell 2000 index and the NASDAQ Clean Edge Green Energy index. The information presented assumes an investment of $100 on December 31, 2016 and that all dividends were reinvested. The graph shows the value that each of these investments would have had at the end of each year.
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COMPARISON OF FIVE-YEAR CUMULATIVE TOTAL SHAREHOLDER RETURN (1)
Among Ameresco, Inc., the Russell 2000 Index
and the NASDAQ Clean Edge Green Energy Index
amrc-20211231_g1.gif
12/31/201612/31/201712/31/201812/31/201912/31/202012/31/2021
Ameresco, Inc.$100.00$156.36$256.36$318.18$949.82$1,480.73
Russell 2000 Index$100.00$114.65$102.02$128.06$153.62$176.39
NASDAQ Clean Edge Green Energy Index$100.00$132.05$116.05$165.57$471.59$459.13
(1) $100 invested on December 31, 2016 in our Class A common stock or index, including reinvestment of dividends, as of December 31, 2021.
Shareholder returns over the indicated period should not be considered indicative of future shareholder returns.
Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities
We did not repurchase any shares of our common stock under our stock repurchase program authorized by the Board of Directors on April 27, 2016 (the “Repurchase Program”) during the quarter ended December 31, 2021. As of December 31, 2021, there were shares having a dollar value of approximately $5.9 million that may yet be purchased under the Repurchase Program.
Under the Repurchase Program, we are authorized to repurchase up to $17.6 million of our Class A common stock. Stock repurchases may be made from time to time through the open market and privately negotiated transactions. The amount and timing of any share repurchases will depend upon a variety of factors, including the trading price of our Class A common stock, liquidity, securities laws restrictions, other regulatory restrictions, potential alternative uses of capital, and market and economic conditions. The Repurchase Program may be suspended or terminated at any time without prior notice and has no expiration date.
Item 6. [Reserved]
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Item 7. Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations
You should read the following discussion and analysis of our financial condition and results of operations together with our consolidated financial statements and the related notes and other financial information included in Item 8 of this Report. Some of the information contained in this discussion and analysis are set forth elsewhere in this Report, including information with respect to our plans and strategy for our business and related financing, and includes forward-looking statements that involve risks and uncertainties. You should review the “Risk Factors” included in Item 1A of this Report for a discussion of important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from the results described in or implied by the forward-looking statements contained in the following discussion and analysis.
Overview
Ameresco is a leading clean technology integrator with a comprehensive portfolio of energy efficiency and renewable energy supply solutions. We help organizations meet energy saving and energy management challenges with an integrated, comprehensive approach to energy efficiency and renewable energy. Leveraging budget neutral solutions, including ESPCs and PPAs, we aim to eliminate the financial barriers that traditionally hamper energy efficiency and renewable energy projects.
Drawing from decades of experience, Ameresco develops tailored energy management projects for its customers in the commercial, industrial, local, state and federal government, K-12 education, higher education, healthcare, public housing sectors, and utilities.
We provide solutions primarily throughout North America and the U.K. and our revenues are derived principally from energy efficiency projects, which entail the design, engineering, and installation of equipment and other measures that incorporate a range of innovative technology and techniques to improve the efficiency and control the operation of a facility’s energy infrastructure; this can include designing and constructing a central plant or cogeneration system for a customer providing power, heat and/or cooling to a building, or other small-scale plant that produces electricity, gas, heat or cooling from renewable sources of energy. We also derive revenue from long-term O&M contracts, energy supply contracts for renewable energy operating assets that we own, integrated-PV, and consulting and enterprise energy management services.
In addition to organic growth, strategic acquisitions of complementary businesses and assets have been an important part of our growth enabling us to broaden our service offerings and expand our geographical reach. In December 2021, we completed the acquisition of Plug Smart, an Ohio-based energy services company that specializes in the development and implementation of budget neutral capital improvement projects including building controls and building automation systems. This acquisition allows us to expand our existing pipeline and solution offerings in the smart buildings sector. The pro forma effects of this acquisition were not material to our operations for the fiscal years presented.
Key Factors and Trends
The SCE Agreement
In October 2021, we entered into a contract with SCE to design and build three grid scale battery energy storage systems at existing substation parcels throughout SCE’s service territory in California. The engineering, procurement and construction price is approximately $892.0 million, in the aggregate, including two years of O&M revenues, subject to customary potential adjustments for changes in the work.
We are obligated under the SCE Agreement to achieve substantial completion of all facilities, subject to extension for customary force majeure events and customer-caused delays, no later than August 1, 2022 (the “Guaranteed Completion Date”). If we fail to achieve substantial completion of any of the facilities by the Guaranteed Completion Date, as extended, we are obligated to pay liquidated damages. In addition, we provided availability and capacity guarantees under the SCE Agreement, failure of which entitles the customer to liquidated damages. We expect a material portion of our revenue for 2022 will be generated from this SCE Agreement, and expect a material portion of the contract expenditures under this agreement will be incurred during the first half of 2022. If we fail to achieve the milestone dates or fail to meet the availability and capacity guarantees, we may be subject to liquidated damages and under certain circumstances SCE may have a right to terminate the agreement. See “The loss of SCE, which is one of our most significant customers or our failure to perform our contract with that customer in accordance with its terms could adversely affect us” in Item 1A, Risk Factors for further discussion.
COVID-19
Fiscal year 2020 was marked with unrivaled global challenges, including the public health and economic downturn caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. During the first half of 2020, after COVID-19 was declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization, we experienced some delays in our project award conversions and some construction slowdowns due to shelter-in-place
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restrictions, however, the opportunities to reduce emissions and limit the effects of climate change remained. We responded to the pandemic by ensuring the health and safety of our employees. We implemented a seamless transition to remote operations for many months, and, while following all CDC guidelines, continued front-line work at our essential facilities.
The resurgence of COVID-19 and its variants during the latter part of 2021 has caused some governments to extend travel and other restrictions. On September 9, 2021, President Biden issued an Executive Order requiring COVID-19 vaccinations for Federal employees. As a result, we implemented this mandate for our employees and subcontractors who work in our Federal business segment. This vaccine mandate was blocked by a federal district court in Texas in January 2022 and the directive is now on hold pending a Justice Department appeal of the ruling. Future vaccine requirements could result in a potential loss of employees or subcontractors who have not been vaccinated or impact our ability to retain and recruit critically skilled workforce. See “The Covid-19 pandemic has had and may continue to have an adverse effect on our business and future public health threats or outbreaks of communicable diseases could have a material adverse effect on our operations and financial results” in Item 1A. Risk Factors in this Form 10-K, for discussion of this risk.
We continue to monitor the impact of COVID-19 on our operations, financial results, and liquidity. The impact to our future operations and results, however, remains uncertain and will depend on a number of factors, including, but not limited to, the emergence and spread of more transmissible variants, the overall duration and severity of the pandemic and its impact on the global economy, our customers, and business and workforce disruptions.
Supply Chain Disruptions
During the second half of the year ended December 31, 2021, we experienced supply chain disruptions resulting in delays in the timely delivery of material to customer sites and delays and disruptions in the completion of certain projects. This negatively impacted our results of operations during this time. We expect this trend to continue into 2022. See “We may be unable to complete or operate our projects on a profitable basis or as we have committed to our customers”, “Failure of third parties to manufacture quality products or provide reliable services in a timely manner could cause delays in the delivery of our services and completion of our projects, which could damage our reputation, have a negative impact on our relationships with our customers and adversely affect our growth”, and “The COVID-19 pandemic has had and may continue to have an adverse effect on our business and future public health threats or outbreaks of communicable diseases could have a material adverse effect on our operations and financial results” in Item 1A. Risk Factors..
The Energy Act of 2020
On December 27, 2020, the President signed the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 into law, a legislative package that included the Energy Act of 2020, reauthorizing a number of U.S. Department of Energy programs, with a $2.3 trillion spending bill containing appropriations for fiscal year 2021, COVID-19 relief funds, and extensions of a number of expiring tax incentives important to the energy sector. It includes $35 billion in energy research and development programs, a two-year extension of the 26% Investment Tax Credit (“ITC”) rate for solar power that will retain the current 26% credits for solar projects that begin construction through the end of 2022. In addition, the Section 179D Energy Efficient Commercial Building Deduction, which historically has impacted our tax rate significantly, was made permanent under the tax code.
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (“CARES Act”)
On March 27, 2020, the U.S. government enacted the CARES Act which includes modifications to the limitation on business interest expense and net operating loss provisions and provides a payment delay of employer payroll taxes during 2020 after the date of enactment. The payment of $2.3 million of employer payroll taxes otherwise due in 2020 was paid in December 2021 and the remaining $2.3 million is due by December 31, 2022. The CARES Act permitted net operating losses from the 2018, 2019, and 2020 tax years to be carried back to the previous five tax years (beginning with the earliest year first). We received a federal income tax refund of approximately $4.0 million as a result of the CARES Act which permitted us to carry our 2018 operating loss back to previous years and utilize Alternative Minimum Tax Credits.
Climate Change and Effects of Seasonality
The global emphasis on climate change and reducing carbon emissions has created opportunities for our industry. Sustainability has been at the forefront of our business since its inception and we are committed to staying at the leading edge of innovation taking place in the energy sector. We believe the next decade will be marked by dramatic changes in the power infrastructure with resources shifting to more distributed assets, storage, and microgrids to increase overall reliability and resiliency. The sustainability efforts are impacted by regulations, and changes in the regulatory climate may impact the demand for our products and offerings. See “Our business depends in part on federal, state, provincial and local government support for energy efficiency
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and renewable energy, and a decline in such support could harm our business” and “Compliance with environmental laws could adversely affect our operating results” in Item 1A, Risk Factors..
Climate change also brings risks, as the impacts have caused us to experience more frequent and severe weather interferences, and this trend may continue. We are subject to seasonal fluctuations and construction cycles, particularly in climates that experience colder weather during the winter months, such as the northern United States and Canada, and climates that experience extreme weather events, such as wildfires, storms or flooding, or at educational institutions, where large projects are typically carried out during summer months when their facilities are unoccupied. In addition, government customers, many of which have fiscal years that do not coincide with ours, typically follow annual procurement cycles and appropriate funds on a fiscal-year basis even though contract performance may take more than one year. Further, government contracting cycles can be affected by the timing of, and delays in, the legislative process related to government programs and incentives that help drive demand for energy efficiency and renewable energy projects. As a result, our revenues and operating income in the third and fourth quarter are typically higher, and our revenues and operating income in the first quarter are typically lower, than in other quarters of the year, however, this may become harder to predict with the potential effects of climate change. As a result of such fluctuations, we may occasionally experience declines in revenues or earnings as compared to the immediately preceding quarter, and comparisons of our operating results on a period-to-period basis may not be meaningful.
Our annual and quarterly financial results are also subject to significant fluctuations as a result of other factors, many of which are outside our control. See “Our business is affected by seasonal trends and construction cycles, and these trends and cycles could have an adverse effect on our operating results” in Item 1A, Risk Factors.
Stock-based Compensation
During the year ended December 31, 2021, we granted 1,341,500 common stock options to certain employees under our 2020 Stock Incentive Plan. As a result, our stock-based compensation expense increased from $1.9 million for the year ended December 31, 2020 to $8.7 million for the year ended December 31, 2021. The increase in the number of stock options granted and higher grant date fair value resulted in the increased stock-based compensation in 2021. In addition, our unrecognized stock-based compensation expense increased from $12.1 million at December 31, 2020 to $41.1 million at December 31, 2021, and is expected to be recognized over a weighted-average period of three years. See Note 14 “Stock-based Compensation and Other Employee Benefits” for additional information.
Backlog and Awarded Projects
Backlog is an important metric for us because we believe strong order backlogs indicate growing demand and a healthy business over the medium to long term, conversely, a declining backlog could imply lower demand.
The following table presents our backlog:
As of December 31,
(In Thousands)20212020
Project Backlog
Fully-contracted backlog$1,509,300 $895,660 
Awarded, not yet signed customer contracts1,542,760 1,318,660 
Total project backlog$3,052,060 $2,214,320 
12-month project backlog$1,296,410 $593,860 
O&M Backlog
Fully-contracted backlog$1,131,660 $1,131,110 
12-month O&M backlog$70,306 $63,980 
Total project backlog represents energy efficiency projects that are active within our sales cycle. Our sales cycle begins with the initial contact with the customer and ends, when successful, with a signed contract, also referred to as fully-contracted backlog. Our sales cycle recently has been averaging 18 to 42 months. Awarded backlog is created when a potential customer awards a project to Ameresco following a request for proposal. Once a project is awarded but not yet contracted, we typically conduct a detailed energy audit to determine the scope of the project as well as identify the savings that may be expected to be generated from upgrading the customer’s energy infrastructure. At this point, we also determine the subcontractor, what equipment will be used, and assist in arranging for third party financing, as applicable. Recently, awarded projects have been taking an average of 12 to 24 months to result in a signed contract and convert to fully-contracted backlog. It may take longer, as it depends on the size
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and complexity of the project. Historically, approximately 90% of our awarded backlog projects have resulted in a signed contract. After the customer and Ameresco agree to the terms of the contract and the contract becomes executed, the project moves to fully-contracted backlog. The contracts reflected in our fully-contracted backlog typically have a construction period of 12 to 36 months and we typically expect to recognize revenue for such contracts over the same period.
Our O&M backlog represents expected future revenues under signed multi-year customer contracts for the delivery of O&M services, primarily for energy efficiency and renewable energy construction projects completed by us for our customers.
We define our 12-month backlog as the estimated amount of revenues that we expect to recognize in the next twelve months from our fully-contracted backlog. See Note 2 “Summary of Significant Accounting Policies” for our revenue recognition policies. See “We may not recognize all revenues from our backlog or receive all payments anticipated under awarded projects and customer contracts” and “In order to secure contracts for new projects, we typically face a long and variable selling cycle that requires significant resource commitments and requires a long lead time before we realize revenues” in Item 1A, Risk Factors.
Assets in Development
Assets in development, which represents the potential estimated design/build construction value of small-scale renewable energy plants that have been awarded or for which we have secured development rights, was $1,247.5 million as of December 31, 2021 and $1,021.8 million as of December 31, 2020. This is another important metric because it helps us gauge our future capacity to generate electricity or deliver renewable gas fuel which contributes to our recurring revenue stream.
Results of Operations
The following table sets forth certain financial data from the consolidated statements of income for the periods indicated (1):
Year Ended December 31,
20212020Year-Over-Year Change
(In Thousands)Dollar Amount% of RevenuesDollar Amount% of RevenuesDollar Change% Change
Revenues$1,215,697 100.0 %$1,032,275 100.0 %$183,422 17.8 %
Cost of revenues985,340 81.1 %844,726 81.8 %140,614 16.6 %
Gross profit230,357 18.9 %187,549 18.2 %42,808 22.8 %
Selling, general and administrative expenses134,923 11.1 %116,050 11.2 %18,873 16.3 %
Operating income95,434 7.9 %71,499 6.9 %23,935 33.5 %
Other expenses, net17,290 1.4 %15,071 1.5 %2,219 14.7 %
Income before income taxes78,144 6.4 %56,428 5.5 %21,716 38.5 %
Income tax benefit(2,047)(0.2)%(494)— %(1,553)314.4 %
Net income$80,191 6.6 %$56,922 5.5 %$23,269 40.9 %
Net income attributable to redeemable non-controlling interest $(9,733)(0.8)%$(2,870)(0.3)%$(6,863)239.1 %
Net income attributable to common shareholders$70,458 5.8 %$54,052 5.2 %$16,406 30.4 %
(1) A comparison of our 2020 and 2019 results can be found in Item 7 of our 2020 Form 10-K filed with the SEC.
Our results of operations for the year-ended December 31, 2021 reflect year-over-year growth in terms of revenues, operating income, and net income attributable to common shareholders. All financial result comparisons are against the prior year period.
Our strong operating results are due to the following:
Revenue: total revenues increased primarily due to a $139.4 million, or 18%, increase in our project revenue attributed to the timing of revenue recognized as a result of the phase of active projects versus the prior year, including our SCE battery storage project, a $33.1 million, or 28%, increase in our energy asset revenue attributed to the continued growth of our operating portfolio, strong renewable gas production and higher pricing on RINs generated from certain non-solar distributed generation assets in operation, and a $6.3 million increase in O&M revenue.
Cost of Revenues and Gross Profit: the increase in cost of revenues is primarily due to the increase in project revenues described above. The increase in gross profit as a percentage of revenue increased as our revenue mix continued to shift towards our higher margin recurring Energy Assets and O&M businesses.
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Selling, General and Administrative Expenses: the increase is primarily due to higher net salaries and benefits of $18.4 million as a result of increased headcount and an increase in non-cash stock-based compensation expense.
Other Expenses, Net: Other expenses, net, includes gains and losses from derivatives transactions, foreign currency transactions, interest expense, interest income, amortization of deferred financing costs and certain government incentives. Other expenses, net increased primarily due to a foreign currency transaction loss of $0.9 million compared to a foreign currency transaction gain of $0.5 million in 2020, a loss on derivatives of $0.2 million compared to a gain of $0.7 million in 2020, and a decrease in government incentives of $0.8 million, partially offset by lower interest expenses of $1.1 million related to a lower average balance on our senior secured debt facility and lower interest rates on this facility.
Income before Income Taxes: the increase is due to reasons described above.
Income Tax Benefit: the benefit for income taxes is based on various rates set by federal, state, provincial, and local authorities and is affected by permanent and temporary differences between financial accounting and tax reporting requirements. The effective tax benefit rate was lower in 2021 as compared to 2020 primarily due to increases in the benefits associated with energy efficiency tax incentives including Section 48 Solar Investment Tax Credits, deductions associated with the Section 179D Commercial Buildings Energy Efficiency Tax Deduction and compensation deductions resulting from employee stock option disqualifying dispositions. The tax benefit rate for 2020 was favorable, which was affected by the release of a previously established valuation allowance on the Canadian tax assets and the benefit of employee stock option compensation. We additionally realized tax rate benefits associated with net operating loss carrybacks made possible by the passing of the CARES Act on March 27, 2020 and tax basis adjustments on certain partnership flip transactions.
Net Income and Earnings Per Share: Net income attributable to common shareholders increased due to the reasons described above. Basic earnings per share for 2021 was $1.38 an increase of $0.25 per share compared to 2020. Diluted earnings per share for 2021 was $1.35, an increase of $0.25 per share, compared to 2020. The equity offering in March 2021 increased the weighted average shares outstanding by approximately 2,333,000 shares, which lowered basic and diluted earnings per share by $0.07 and $0.06 per share, respectively.
Business Segment Analysis
Our reportable segments for the year ended December 31, 2021 were U.S. Regions, U.S. Federal, Canada, Non-Solar Distributed Generation (“Non-Solar DG”), and All Other. On January 1, 2021, we changed the structure of our internal organization, and our U.S. Regions segment now includes our U.S.-based enterprise energy management services previously included in our “All Other” segment. As a result, previously reported amounts have been reclassified for comparative purposes. See Note 20 “Business Segment Information” for additional information about our segments.
Revenues
Year Ended December 31,Year-Over-Year Change
(In Thousands)20212020Dollar Change% Change
U.S. Regions$528,293 $404,152 $124,141 30.7 %
U.S. Federal392,948 377,882 15,066 4.0 
Canada49,457 47,797 1,660 3.5 
Non-Solar DG137,243 106,417 30,826 29.0 
All Other107,756 96,027 11,729 12.2 
Total revenues$1,215,697 $1,032,275 $183,422 17.8 %
U.S. Regions: the increase is primarily due to a $116.0 million, or 33%, increase in project revenues attributable to the timing of revenue recognized as a result of the phase of active projects, including our SCE battery storage project, versus the prior year and a $5.1 million, or 15%, increase in revenue from the growth of our energy assets in operation.
U.S. Federal: the increase is primarily due to a $13.1 million, or 4%, increase in project revenue attributable to the timing of revenue recognized as a result of the phase of active projects compared to the prior year.
Canada: the increase is primarily due to favorable foreign exchange rates.
Non-Solar DG: the increase is primarily due to a $26.7 million, or 35%, increase in energy asset revenues resulting from the continued growth of our operating portfolio, increased renewable gas production levels and higher pricing on RINs generated from certain non-solar distributed generation assets in operation.
All Other: the increase is primarily due to an increase in project revenues in the U.K. related to an increase in volume and progression of certain active projects, partially offset by a decrease in project revenues in Greece.
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Income before Taxes and Unallocated Corporate Activity
Year Ended December 31,Year-Over-Year Change
(In Thousands)20212020Dollar Change% Change
U.S. Regions$40,051 $28,339 $11,712 41.3 %
U.S. Federal52,386 44,560 7,826 17.6 
Canada1,584 2,560 (976)(38.1)
Non-Solar DG26,345 13,040 13,305 102.0 
All Other6,195 8,117 (1,922)(23.7)
Unallocated corporate activity(48,417)(40,188)(8,229)20.5 
Income before taxes$78,144 $56,428 $21,716 38.5 %
U.S. Regions: the increase is primarily due to the increase in revenues described above, a $1.8 million decrease in project development costs, a $1.5 million decrease in bad debt expense, partially offset by an increase of $3.8 million in salary and benefit costs resulting from increased headcount and higher health insurance costs.
U.S. Federal: the increase is due to the increase in revenues described above, partially offset by an increase in salaries and benefits of $2.3 million resulting from increased average salaries and higher health insurance costs.
Canada: the decrease is primarily due to a $0.5 million increase in salaries and benefits, a $0.8 million increase in project development costs, partially offset by an increase in revenues described above.
Non-Solar DG: the increase is primarily due to the higher contribution attributed to the increase in higher margin energy asset revenue described above, partially offset by higher mark to market losses on our unhedged commodity gas swaps, and higher interest expense.
All Other: the decrease is due to higher operating expenses, primarily salaries and benefits and project development costs, partially offset by higher revenues noted above.
Unallocated corporate activity includes all corporate level selling, general and administrative expenses and other expenses not allocated to the reportable segments. We do not allocate any indirect expenses to the segments. Corporate activity increased primarily due to higher salaries and benefit costs of $9.3 million, which includes a $6.8 million increase in non-cash stock-based compensation expense due to increased option grants with a higher grant date fair value.
Liquidity and Capital Resources
Overview
Since inception, we have funded operations primarily through cash flow from operations, advances from Federal ESPC projects, our senior secured credit facility and various forms of other debt (see “Project Financing” below). In addition, in March 2021, we completed an underwritten public offering of 2,875,000 shares of our Class A Common Stock, for total net proceeds of $120.1 million. See below, Note 9 “Debt and Financing Lease Liabilities”, and Note 13 “Equity and Earnings per Share” for additional information.
Working capital requirements, which can be susceptible to fluctuations during the year due to seasonal demands, generally result from revenue growth, our solar equipment purchase patterns, the timing of funding under various contracts, or advances from Federal ESPC projects, and payment terms for receivables and payables.
We expect to incur additional expenditures in connection with the following activities:
equity investments, project asset acquisitions and business acquisitions that we may fund from time to time
capital investment in current and future energy assets
material, equipment, and other expenditures for our SCE battery storage project, particularly during the first half of 2022
We regularly monitor and assess our ability to meet funding requirements. We believe that cash and cash equivalents, working capital and availability under our revolving senior secured credit facility, combined with our right (subject to lender consent) to increase our revolving credit facility by $100.0 million, and our general access to credit and equity markets, will be sufficient to fund our operations for twelve months from filing this Report and thereafter. However, we consistently evaluate and take action, as necessary, to preserve adequate liquidity and ensure that our business can continue to operate and that we can meet our capital requirements during these uncertain times. This may include limiting discretionary spending across the organization and re-
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prioritizing our capital projects amid times of international political unrest and for the time periods we expect to fund significant capital expenditures for our SCE battery storage project and depending on the evolution of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Equity Offering
On March 9, 2021, we closed on an underwritten public offering of 2,500,000 shares of our Class A common stock at a public offering price of $44.00 per share. Net proceeds from the offering were $104.3 million, after deducting offering costs of $5.7 million. On March 15, 2021, we closed on the underwriters’ option to purchase 375,000 additional shares of our Class A common stock from us at $44.00 per share, resulting in net proceeds of $15.8 million after deducting offering costs of $0.7 million. In the offering, selling shareholders sold 805,000 shares of our Class A Common Stock at a public offering price of $44.00 per share, less the underwriting discount. We did not receive any proceeds from the sale of the shares by the selling stockholders. We used $80.0 million of the net proceeds to repay in full the outstanding U.S. dollar balance under our senior secured revolving credit facility and used the remaining proceeds for general corporate purposes.
Senior Secured Credit Facility — Revolver and Term Loan
In June 2021, we entered into an amendment to our senior secured revolving credit facility with three banks which increased the amount of the revolving commitment by the lenders under the credit facility from $115.0 million to $180.0 million. The amendment also increased the total funded debt to EBITDA covenant ratio from a maximum of 3.25 to 3.50, and decreased the Eurocurrency rate floor from 1% to 0%. At December 31, 2021, our senior secured credit facility outstanding was $97.8 million, and we had funds of $121.2 million available under the revolving credit facility.
Project Financing
Construction and Term Loans
We have entered into a number of construction and term loan agreements for the purpose of constructing and owning certain renewable energy plants. The physical assets and the operating agreements related to the renewable energy plants are generally owned by wholly owned, single member “special purpose” subsidiaries of Ameresco. These construction and term loans are structured as project financings made directly to a subsidiary, and upon commercial operation and achieving certain milestones in the credit agreement, the related construction loan converts into a term loan. While we are required under generally accepted accounting principles (“GAAP”) to reflect these loans as liabilities on our consolidated balance sheets, they are generally non-recourse and not direct obligations of Ameresco, Inc. As of December 31, 2021, our construction and term loans outstanding were $249.8 million.
Our project financing facilities contain various financial and other covenant requirements which include debt service coverage ratios and total funded debt to EBITDA, as defined. Any failure to comply with the financial or other covenants of our project financings would result in inability to distribute funds from the wholly-owned subsidiary to Ameresco, Inc. or constitute an event of default in which the lenders may have the ability to accelerate the amounts outstanding, including all accrued interest and unpaid fees.
Federal ESPC Liabilities
We have arrangements with certain third-parties to provide advances to us during the construction or installation of projects for certain customers, typically federal governmental entities, in exchange for our assignment to the lenders of our rights to the long-term receivables arising from the ESPCs related to such projects. These financings totaled $532.3 million in principal amounts as of December 31, 2021 and $440.2 million as of December 31, 2020. Under the terms of these financing arrangements, we are required to complete the construction or installation of the project in accordance with the contract with our customer, and the liability remains on our consolidated balance sheets until the completed project is accepted by the customer.
We are the primary obligor for financing received, but only until final acceptance of the work by the customer. At this point recourse to us ceases and the ESPC receivables are transferred to the investor. The transfers of receivables under these agreements do not qualify for sales accounting until final customer acceptance of the work, so the advances from the investors are not classified as operating cash flows. Cash draws that we received under these ESPC agreements were $159.2 million during the year ended December 31, 2021 and are recorded as financing cash inflows. The use of the cash received under these arrangements is to pay project costs classified as operating cash flows and totaled $249.7 million during the year ended December 31, 2021. Due to the manner in which the ESPC contracts with the third-party investors are structured, our reported operating cash flows are materially impacted by the fact that operating cash flows only reflect the ESPC contract expenditure outflows and do not reflect any inflows from the corresponding contract revenues. Upon acceptance of the project by the federal customer the ESPC receivable and corresponding ESPC liability are removed from our consolidated balance sheets as a non-cash settlement. See Note 2, “Summary of Significant Accounting Policies”, to our consolidated financial statements in this Report.
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Sale-Leaseback and Financing Liabilities
We have entered into sale-leaseback arrangements for solar PV energy assets with multiple investors and in accordance with Topic 842, Leases, all sale-leaseback transactions that occurred after December 31, 2018, were accounted for as failed sales and the proceeds received from the transactions were recorded as long-term financing facilities. See Notes 8 “Leases” and 9 “Debt and Financing Lease Liabilities” for additional information on these financing facilities. As of December 31, 2021, our financing leases and financing liabilities outstanding were $123.8 million, and $228.6 million remained available under these lending commitments, although this full amount is not expected to be used.
While we are required under GAAP to reflect these lease payments as liabilities on our consolidated balance sheets, they are generally non-recourse and not direct obligations of Ameresco Inc., except that we have guaranteed certain obligations relating to taxes and project warranties, operation, and maintenance.
Other
We issue letters of credit and performance bonds, from time to time, with our third-party lenders, to provide collateral.
Selected Measures of Liquidity and Capital Resources
December 31,
(In Thousands)20212020
Cash and cash equivalents$50,450 $66,422 
Working capital$164,361 $107,618 
Availability under revolving credit facility$121,176 $50,011 
Cash Flows
The following table summarizes our changes in cash and cash equivalents:
Year Ended December 31,
(In Thousands)20212020
Cash flows used in operating activities$(172,296)$(102,583)
Cash flows used in investing activities(205,257)(181,015)
Cash flows provided by financing activities365,461 305,169 
Effect of exchange rate changes on cash309 
Net (decrease) increase in cash, cash equivalents, and restricted cash$(11,783)$21,573 
Our service offering also includes the development, construction, and operation of small-scale renewable energy plants. Small-scale renewable energy projects, or energy assets, can either be developed for the portfolio of assets that we own and operate or designed and built for customers. Expenditures related to projects that we own are recorded as cash outflows from investing activities. Expenditures related to projects that we build for customers are recorded as cash outflows from operating activities as cost of revenues.
Cash Flows from Operating Activities
Our cash flow from operating activities in 2021 decreased over 2020 primarily due to a $132.7 million increase in unbilled revenue (costs and estimated earnings in excess of billings) due to the timing of when certain projects are invoiced, including our SCE battery storage project, and an increase of $22.7 million in Federal ESPC receivables, partially offset by an increase of $54.4 million in accounts payable, accrued expenses and other current liabilities and an increase of $23.3 million in net income.
Cash Flows from Investing Activities
During 2021, we paid $14.9 million, net of cash received, for the acquisition of Plug Smart and also contributed $9.0 million to an equity investment. We also spent $4.9 million related to purchases of other property and equipment, which is $2.7 million more than last year and made capital investments, net of grant proceeds, of $178.1 million related to the development and acquisition of renewable energy plants, which is comparable to last year.
We currently plan to invest approximately $225.0 million to $275.0 million in capital investments in 2022, principally for the construction or acquisition of new renewable energy plants.
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Cash Flows from Financing Activities
Our primary sources of financing during 2021 were proceeds of $186.0 million from long-term debt financings, $161.2 million from advances on Federal ESPC projects and energy assets and net proceeds of $120.1 million from our equity offering. These proceeds were partially offset by repayments of long-term debt totaling $98.2 million.
During 2020, proceeds from Federal ESPC projects and energy assets provided $250.3 million in cash and received long-term debt financing proceeds of $116.1 million. These proceeds were partially offset by repayments of long-term debt totaling $73.6 million.
We currently plan additional financings of $175.0 million to $225.0 million in 2022 to fund the construction or acquisition of new renewable energy plants as discussed above.
We may also, from time to time, finance our operations through issuance or offering of equity or debt securities.
Critical Accounting Policies and Estimates
Preparing our consolidated financial statements in accordance with GAAP involves us making estimates and assumptions that affect reported amounts of assets and liabilities, net sales, and expenses, and related disclosures in the accompanying notes at the date of our financial statements. We base our estimates on historical experience, industry and market trends, and on various other assumptions that we believe to be reasonable under the circumstances. However, by their nature, estimates are subject to various assumptions and uncertainties, and changes in circumstances could cause actual results to differ from these estimates, sometimes materially.
We believe that our policies and estimates that require our most significant judgments are considered our critical accounting policies and are discussed below. In addition, refer to Note 2 “Summary of Significant Accounting Policies” for further details.
Revenue Recognition
As described in Note 2, we recognize revenue from the installation or construction of projects over time using the cost-based input method. We use the total costs incurred on the project relative to the total expected costs to satisfy the performance obligation. When the estimate on a contract indicates a loss or claims against costs incurred reduce the likelihood of recoverability of such costs, we record the entire estimated loss in the period the loss becomes known. In addition, some contracts contain an element of variable consideration, including liquidated damages and/or penalties, which requires payment to the customer in the event that construction timelines or milestones are not met. We estimate the total consideration payable by the customer when the contracts contain variable consideration provisions, based on the most likely amount anticipated to be recognized for transferring the promised goods or services. As a result, we may constrain revenue to the extent that a significant reversal in the amount of cumulative revenue recognized will not occur when the uncertainty associated with the variable consideration is subsequently resolved.
To the extent a contract is deemed to have multiple performance obligations, we allocate the transaction price of the contract to each performance obligation using our best estimate of the standalone selling price of each distinct good or service in the contract.
Significant judgement is required to estimate the total expected costs and variable consideration for projects that typically have a construction period of 12 to 36 months. Any increase or decrease in estimated costs to complete a performance obligation without a corresponding change to the contract price could impact the calculation of cumulative revenue to date and gross profit on the project. Similarly, if we recognize revenue based upon our current estimate of variable consideration, and our estimate is later adjusted, we may be required to increase or decrease cumulative revenue to date and gross profit on the project. Factors that may result in a change to our estimates include unforeseen engineering problems, construction delays, the performance of contractors and major material suppliers, and unusual weather conditions, among others.
We have a long history of working with multiple types of projects and preparing cost estimates, and we rely on the expertise of key personnel to prepare what we believe are reasonable best estimates given available facts and circumstances. Due to the nature of the work involved, however, judgment is involved to estimate the costs to complete and the amounts estimated could have a material impact on the revenue we recognize in each accounting period. We cannot estimate unforeseen events and circumstances which may result in actual results being materially different from previous estimates.
Impairment Assessments
We evaluate our long-lived assets, including goodwill and intangible assets, for impairment as events or changes in circumstances indicate the carrying value of these assets may not be fully recoverable, and at least annually (December 31st) for goodwill and
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intangible assets that have indefinite lives. Examples of such triggering events applicable to our assets include a significant decrease in the market price of a long-lived asset or asset group, a current-period operating or cash flow loss combined with a history of operating or cash flow losses, a projection or forecast that demonstrates continuing losses associated with the use of a long-lived asset or asset group, or adverse industry or economic trends.
We evaluate recoverability of long-lived assets and definite-lived intangible assets by estimating the undiscounted future cash flows 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, we recognize an impairment loss for the amount that the carrying value exceeds the fair value.
The process of evaluating the potential impairment of long-lived assets, goodwill and intangible assets requires significant judgment. For goodwill, we estimate the reporting unit’s fair value and compare it with the carrying value of the reporting unit, including goodwill. If the fair value is greater than the carrying value of its reporting unit, no impairment is recorded. Fair value is determined using both an income approach and a market approach. The estimates and assumptions used in our calculations include revenue growth rates, expense growth rates, expected capital expenditures to determine projected cash flows, expected tax rates and an estimated discount rate to determine present value of expected cash flows. These estimates are based on historical experiences, our projections of future operating activity and our weighted-average cost of capital. Unforeseen events and changes in circumstances or market conditions could adversely affect these estimates, which could result in an impairment charge.
Based on our goodwill impairment assessment, all of our reporting units with goodwill had estimated fair values that exceeded their carrying values by at least 61% as of December 31, 2021 and 67% as of December 31, 2020. During the year ended December 31, 2021, we recognized a long-lived asset impairment charge of $1.9 million on one of our energy asset groups. See Note 7 “Energy Assets” for additional information.
Income Taxes
We are subject to income taxes in the U.S. and five foreign jurisdictions. Significant judgment is required in determining income tax expense, deferred tax assets and liabilities and uncertain tax positions. The underlying assumptions are also highly susceptible to change from period to period. We took advantage of the Safe Harbor commence-construction provisions contained in IRS Notice 2018-59 by pre-purchasing solar equipment in 2019 thereby preserving the ability to take 30% ITC for projects placed in service before 2024. If these or other deductions and credits expire without being extended, or otherwise are reduced or eliminated, our effective tax rate would increase, which could increase our income tax expense and reduce our net income. In addition, our tax rate has historically been significantly impacted by the IRC Section 179D deduction. This deduction is related to energy-efficient improvements we provide under government contracts. The Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 made permanent the Section 179D Energy Efficient Commercial Building Deduction. That Act made changes to the way the deduction is calculated. If those changes result in lower levels of energy efficiency improvements, it could impact the deduction available and the tax rate.
We accrue for the estimated additional tax and interest that may result from tax authorities disputing uncertain tax positions. We believe we have made adequate provisions for income taxes for all years that are subject to audit based upon the latest information available. We operate within multiple taxing jurisdictions and are subject to tax audits in these jurisdictions. These audits can involve complex issues and may require an extended period of time to resolve. We recognize tax benefits from uncertain tax positions only if we believe that it is more likely than not that the tax position will be sustained on examination by the taxing authorities based on the technical merits of the position. Although we believe that we have adequately reserved for our uncertain tax positions, we can provide no assurance that the final tax outcome of these matters will not be materially different. We adjust these reserves when facts and circumstances change, such as the closing of a tax audit or the refinement of an estimate. To the extent that the final tax outcome of these matters is different than the amounts recorded, such differences may affect the provision for income taxes in the period in which such determination is made and could have an impact on our results of operations.
On a quarterly basis, we assess our current and projected earnings by jurisdiction to determine whether or not our earnings during the periods when the temporary differences become deductible will be sufficient to realize the related future tax benefits. Should we determine that we would not be able to realize all or part of our net deferred tax asset in a particular jurisdiction in the future, a valuation allowance to the deferred tax asset would be charged to income in the period such determination was made. This valuation allowance is maintained for deferred tax assets that we estimate are more likely than not to be unrealizable based on available evidence at the time the estimate is made. In 2020 we determined that it was more likely than not that the non-capital net operating loss carryforwards at our Canadian parent company would be realized before they expire. In 2020 we reversed the previously established valuation allowance on the tax assets associated with the carryforwards. The determination of whether a valuation allowance for deferred tax assets is appropriate is subject to considerable judgment and requires an evaluation of all positive and negative evidence, including our historical financial results, the source and consistency of those results, whether they
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should be adjusted for certain one-time or nonrecurring items, whether losses cumulatively exceed income over a reasonable period of time, the availability of tax planning strategies, availability of carryback and carryforward periods, and other factors, including our expectations of future taxable income. Adjustments to income tax expense to the extent we establish a valuation allowance or adjust this allowance in a period could have a material impact on our financial condition and results of operations.
Recent Accounting Pronouncements
See Note 2 of the “Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements” for a discussion of recent accounting standards.
Item 7A. Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures About Market Risk
We are exposed to changes in interest rates and foreign currency exchange rates because we finance certain operations through fixed and variable rate debt instruments and denominate our transactions in U.S. dollars, Canadian dollars, and British pounds sterling (“GBP”) and Euros. Changes in these rates may have an impact on future cash flows and earnings. We manage these risks through normal operating and financing activities and, when deemed appropriate, through the use of derivative financial instruments.
Interest Rate Risk
We had cash and cash equivalents totaling $50.5 million as of December 31, 2021 and $66.4 million as of December 31, 2020. Our exposure to interest rate risk primarily relates to the interest expense paid on our senior secured credit facility.
Derivative Instruments
We do not enter into financial instruments for trading or speculative purposes. However, through our subsidiaries we do enter into derivative instruments for purposes other than trading purposes. Certain of the term loans that we use to finance our renewable energy projects bear variable interest rates that are indexed to short-term market rates. We have entered into interest rate swaps in connection with these term loans in order to seek to hedge our exposure to adverse changes in the applicable short-term market rate. In some instances, the conditions of our renewable energy project term loans require us to enter into interest rate swap agreements in order to mitigate our exposure to adverse movements in market interest rates. All but three of the interest rate swaps that we have entered into qualify and have been designated as cash flow hedges. We have entered into one commodity swap contracts in order to hedge our exposure to adverse changes in the short-term market rates of natural gas, which have not been designated for hedge accounting.
We have also entered into term loan agreements that contain make-whole provisions that qualify as embedded derivatives and are required to be bifurcated from their host term loan agreement and valued separately. These derivatives cannot be hedged.
By using derivative instruments, we are subject to credit and market risk. The fair market value of the interest rate and commodity swaps are determined by using valuation models whose inputs are derived using market observable inputs, including interest rate yield curves, and reflects the asset or liability position as of the end of each reporting period. When the fair value of a derivative contract is positive, the counterparty owes us, thus creating a receivable risk for us. We are exposed to counterparty credit risk in the event of non-performance by counterparties to our derivative agreements. We minimize counterparty credit (or repayment) risk by entering into transactions with major financial institutions of investment grade credit rating. The fair value of these make-whole provisions was determined based on available market data and a with and without model.
Our exposure to market interest rate risk is not hedged in a manner that completely eliminates the effects of changing market conditions on earnings or cash flow. See Notes 2, 18 and 19 included in Item 8 of this Report for additional information about our derivative instruments.
Foreign Currency Risk
We have revenues, expenses, assets, and liabilities that are denominated in foreign currencies, principally the Canadian dollar and British pound sterling. Also, a significant number of employees are located in Canada and the U.K., and our subsidiaries in those countries transact business in those respective currencies. As a result, we have designated the Canadian dollar as the functional currency for Canadian operations. Similarly, the GBP has been designated as the functional currency for our operations in the U.K. When we consolidate the operations of these foreign subsidiaries into our financial results, because we report our results in U.S. dollars, we are required to translate the financial results and position of our foreign subsidiaries from their respective functional currencies into U.S. dollars. We translate the revenues, expenses, gains, and losses from our Canadian and U.K. subsidiaries into U.S. dollars using a weighted average exchange rate for the applicable fiscal period. We translate the assets and liabilities of our Canadian and U.K. subsidiaries into U.S. dollars at the exchange rate in effect at the applicable balance sheet date. Translation adjustments are not included in determining net income for the period but are disclosed and accumulated in a
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separate component of consolidated equity until sale or until a complete or substantially complete liquidation of the net investment in our foreign subsidiary takes place. Changes in the values of these items from one period to the next which result from exchange rate fluctuations are recorded in our consolidated statements of changes in stockholders’ equity as accumulated other comprehensive income (loss). For the year ended December 31, 2021, due to the weakening of the GBP versus the U.S. dollar, our foreign currency translation resulted in a loss of $0.2 million which we recorded as a decrease in accumulated other comprehensive loss. For the year ended December 31, 2020, we recorded a currency translation gain of $1.0 million. As a consequence, gross profit, operating results, profitability, and cash flows are impacted by relative changes in the value of the Canadian dollar and GBP. We have not repatriated earnings from our foreign subsidiaries but have elected to invest in new business opportunities there. See Note 10, “Income Taxes” to our consolidated financial statements in this Report. We do not hedge our exposure to foreign currency exchange risk.
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Item 8. Financial Statements and Supplementary Data

INDEX TO CONSOLIDATED FINANCIAL STATEMENTS
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REPORT OF INDEPENDENT REGISTERED PUBLIC ACCOUNTING FIRM


To the Stockholders and the Board of Directors of Ameresco, Inc.

Opinions on the Financial Statements and Internal Control over Financial Reporting
We have audited the accompanying consolidated balance sheets of Ameresco, Inc. (the Company) as of December 31, 2021 and 2020, and the related consolidated statements of income, comprehensive income, changes in redeemable non-controlling interests and stockholders’ equity, and cash flows for each of the three years in the period ended December 31, 2021, and the related notes (collectively, the financial statements). We also have audited the Company’s internal control over financial reporting as of December 31, 2021, based on criteria established in Internal Control — Integrated Framework issued by the Committee of Sponsoring Organizations of the Treadway Commission in 2013.
In our opinion, the financial statements referred to above present fairly, in all material respects, the financial position of the Company as of December 31, 2021 and 2020, and the results of its operations and its cash flows for each of the years in the three-year period ended December 31, 2021, in conformity with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States of America. Also in our opinion, the Company maintained, in all material respects, effective internal control over financial reporting as of December 31, 2021, based on criteria established in Internal Control — Integrated Framework issued by the Committee of Sponsoring Organizations of the Treadway Commission in 2013.
Basis for Opinion
The Company's management is responsible for these financial statements, for maintaining effective internal control over financial reporting, and for its assessment of the effectiveness of internal control over financial reporting, included in the accompanying Management’s Annual Report on Internal Control over Financial Reporting. Our responsibility is to express an opinion on the Company's financial statements and an opinion on the Company's internal control over financial reporting based on our audits. We are a public accounting firm registered with the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (United States) (PCAOB) and are required to be independent with respect to the Company in accordance with U.S. federal securities laws and the applicable rules and regulations of the Securities and Exchange Commission and the PCAOB.
We conducted our audits in accordance with the standards of the PCAOB. Those standards require that we plan and perform the audits to obtain reasonable assurance about whether the financial statements are free of material misstatement, whether due to error or fraud, and whether effective internal control over financial reporting was maintained in all material respects.
Our audits of the financial statements included performing procedures to assess the risks of material misstatement of the financial statements, whether due to error or fraud, and performing procedures that respond to those risks. Such procedures included examining, on a test basis, evidence regarding the amounts and disclosures in the financial statements. Our audits also included evaluating the accounting principles used and significant estimates made by management, as well as evaluating the overall presentation of the financial statements. Our audit of internal control over financial reporting included obtaining an understanding of internal control over financial reporting, assessing the risk that a material weakness exists, and testing and evaluating the design and operating effectiveness of internal control based on the assessed risk. Our audits also included performing such other procedures as we considered necessary in the circumstances. We believe that our audits provide a reasonable basis for our opinions.
Definition and Limitations of Internal Control Over Financial Reporting
A company's internal control over financial reporting is a process designed to provide reasonable assurance regarding the reliability of financial reporting and the preparation of financial statements for external purposes in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles. A company's internal control over financial reporting includes those policies and procedures that (1) pertain to the maintenance of records that, in reasonable detail, accurately and fairly reflect the transactions and dispositions of the assets of the company; (2) provide reasonable assurance that transactions are recorded as necessary to permit preparation of financial statements in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles, and that receipts and expenditures of the company are being made only in accordance with authorizations of management and directors of the company; and (3) provide reasonable assurance regarding prevention or timely detection of unauthorized acquisition, use or disposition of the company's assets that could have a material effect on the financial statements.

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Because of its inherent limitations, internal control over financial reporting may not prevent or detect misstatements. Also, projections of any evaluation of effectiveness to future periods are subject to the risk that controls may become inadequate because of changes in conditions, or that the degree of compliance with the policies or procedures may deteriorate.
Critical Audit Matters
The critical audit matters communicated below are matters arising from the current period audit of the financial statements that were communicated or required to be communicated to the audit committee and that: (1) relate to accounts or disclosures that are material to the financial statements and (2) involved our especially challenging, subjective or complex judgments. The communication of critical audit matters does not alter in any way our opinion on the financial statements, taken as a whole, and we are not, by communicating the critical audit matters below, providing separate opinions on the critical audit matters or on the accounts or disclosures to which they relate.
Goodwill Impairment
As described in Notes 2 and 5 to the financial statements, the Company’s goodwill balance was $71.2 million as of December 31, 2021. Management tests goodwill for impairment, at the reporting unit level, as of December 31 of each fiscal year, or more frequently if events or changes in circumstances indicate the asset might be impaired. To test goodwill for impairment, management compares the estimated fair value of each reporting unit with the carrying amount of each reporting unit, including the recorded goodwill. In estimating the fair value of each reporting unit, management uses a methodology which combines an income approach, using a discounted cash flows method, with a market approach, using a peer-based guideline company method based on the average of published multiples of earnings of comparable entities with similar operations and economic characteristics.
We identified the goodwill impairment assessment for certain of the Company’s reporting units as a critical audit matter because of the significant estimates and assumptions used by management when estimating the fair value of the these reporting units, including management’s forecasts of revenue and expense growth rates and management’s selection of the discount rates for the income approaches and management’s estimates of the multiples of earnings of comparable entities with similar operations and economic characteristics for the market approaches. Auditing management’s estimates and assumptions involved a high degree of auditor judgment and increased audit effort, including the use of our valuation specialists, due to the impact these assumptions have on the goodwill impairment assessment.
Our audit procedures related to the assessment of goodwill impairment included the following, among others:
We obtained an understanding of the relevant controls relating to management’s goodwill impairment assessment and tested such controls for design and operating effectiveness, including controls over management’s review of the significant assumptions used in the estimate of fair value of certain of the Company’s reporting units, including forecasted revenue and expense growth rates, the selected discount rates, and the selected multiples of earnings.
We evaluated the reasonableness of management’s forecasts of revenue and expense growth rates by comparing the projections to historical results.
We tested the underlying data used by management in their development of forecasts of revenue and expense growth rates for accuracy and completeness.
We evaluated the reasonableness of management’s selection of comparable entities with similar operations and economic characteristics.
With the assistance of our valuation specialists, we evaluated the reasonableness of the Company’s valuation methodology and significant assumptions by:
Evaluating the reasonableness of the discount rate and multiples of earnings by comparing the underlying source information to publicly available market data and verifying the accuracy of the calculations.
Developing an independent expectation of discount rates and compared against that selected by management.
Evaluating the appropriateness of the valuation methods used by management and testing their mathematical accuracy.
Revenue from Contracts with Customers – Project Revenue
As described in Notes 2 and 3 to the financial statements, the Company recognized revenue of $903.96 million during the year ended December 31, 2021 from the projects line of business which relates to the construction of energy efficiency projects, including the design, engineering and installation of an array of innovative technologies and techniques to improve energy efficiency and control the operation of a building’s energy- and-water-consuming systems. Typically, the Company provides a service of integrating a complex set of tasks and components such as design, engineering, construction management, and equipment procurement for a project contract. The Company’s project revenues are generated from long-term contracts whereby revenue is recognized over time using the cost-based input method. The Company uses total costs incurred on the project relative to the total expected costs to estimate progression towards the satisfaction of the performance obligation.
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Estimating the amount of project revenue to record from the Company’s long-term contracts requires management’s judgment in estimating final construction contract profits, which are driven by the total estimated consideration payable by the customer and total estimated contract costs. The Company estimates the total consideration payable by the customer when the contracts contain variable consideration provisions, which can include liquidated damages and/or penalties, based on the most likely amount anticipated to be recognized for transferring the promised goods or services. As a result, the Company may constrain revenue to the extent that a significant reversal in the amount of cumulative revenue recognized will not occur when the uncertainty associated with the variable consideration is subsequently resolved. Anticipated contract costs can be incurred over several years and are largely determined based on negotiated or estimated purchase contract terms and consider factors such as historical performance, seasonal and construction schedule risks, estimated subcontractor costs and contingency costs.
We identified the Company’s accounting for revenue recognition from the project line of business to be a critical audit matter due to the significant judgments used by management related to the estimation of final construction profits. Estimating the final construction profit on these long-term contracts requires management to develop estimates of the total consideration payable by the customer, when contracts contain variable consideration provisions, as well as total expected contract costs, including costs associated with labor, materials, equipment, subcontracting and outside engineering cost. Auditing management’s estimates and assumptions involved a high degree of auditor judgment and increased audit effort due to the impact these assumptions have on the revenue recognized.
Our audit procedures related to project revenue included the following, among others:
We obtained an understanding of the relevant controls related to the recognition of project revenue and tested such controls for design and operating effectiveness, including controls over the determination of the final estimated construction profit, which includes management’s review of the assumptions and key inputs used to recognize revenue on project contracts using the cost-to-cost input method, including costs associated with labor, materials, equipment, subcontracting and outside engineering along with estimates of total consideration payable when contracts contain variable consideration provisions.
We performed substantive analytical procedures on the Company’s project revenue line of business, with a focus on significant changes in gross margin, contract budgets and contract pricing from the prior year, on contracts open in both the current year and prior year.
We selected a sample of project contracts and evaluated the estimates of total costs for each of the project contracts by:
Evaluating management’s judgments related to the Company’s ability to achieve the estimates of final construction contract profit as well as achievement on project timelines by performing corroborating inquiries with Company personnel, including project managers, and comparing the estimates to documentation such as management’s internal budgets and specified contract terms.
Confirmation of project progression with customers, including identification of any delays in project timeline.
/s/ RSM US LLP
We have served as the Company's auditor since 2010.
Boston, Massachusetts
March 1, 2022


44

AMERESCO, INC.
CONSOLIDATED BALANCE SHEETS
(In thousands, except share amounts)
December 31,
20212020
ASSETS
Current assets:  
Cash and cash equivalents (1)
$50,450 $66,422 
Restricted cash (1)
24,267 22,063 
Accounts receivable, net (1)
161,970 125,010 
Accounts receivable retainage43,067 30,189 
Costs and estimated earnings in excess of billings (1)
306,172 185,960 
Inventory, net8,807 8,575 
Prepaid expenses and other current assets (1)
25,377 26,854 
Income tax receivable5,261 9,803 
Project development costs, net13,214 15,839 
Total current assets (1)
638,585 490,715 
Federal ESPC receivable557,669 396,725 
Property and equipment, net (1)
13,117 8,982 
Energy assets, net (1)
856,531 729,378 
Goodwill, net71,157 58,714 
Intangible assets, net6,961 927 
Operating lease assets (1)
41,982 39,151 
Restricted cash, non-current portion12,337 10,352 
Deferred income tax assets, net3,703 3,864 
Other assets (1)
22,779 15,307 
Total assets (1)
$2,224,821 $1,754,115 
LIABILITIES, REDEEMABLE NON-CONTROLLING INTERESTS AND STOCKHOLDERS’ EQUITY
Current liabilities:
Current portion of long-term debt and financing lease liabilities (1)
$78,934 $69,362 
Accounts payable (1)
308,963 230,916