VIEs are entities that lack sufficient equity to finance their activities without additional financial support from other parties or whose equity holders, as a group, lack one or more of the following characteristics: (a) direct or indirect ability to make decisions; (b) obligation to absorb expected losses; or (c) right to receive expected residual returns. VIEs must be evaluated quantitatively and qualitatively to determine the primary beneficiary, which is the reporting entity that has (a) the power to direct activities of a VIE that most significantly impact the VIEs economic performance and (b) the obligation to absorb losses of the VIE that could potentially be significant to the VIE or the right to receive benefits from the VIE that could potentially be significant to the VIE. The primary beneficiary is required to consolidate the VIE for financial reporting purposes. A VIE can have only one primary beneficiary, but may not have a primary beneficiary if no party meets the criteria described above.
To determine a VIE’s primary beneficiary, an enterprise must perform a qualitative assessment to determine which party, if any, has the power to direct activities of the VIE, the obligation to absorb losses, and/or receive its benefits. Therefore, an enterprise must identify the activities that most significantly impact the VIE’s economic performance and determine whether it, or another party, has the power to direct those activities. When evaluating whether the Company is the primary beneficiary of a VIE, we perform a qualitative analysis that considers the design of the VIE, the nature of our involvement and the variable interests held by other parties. If that evaluation is inconclusive as to which party absorbs a majority of the entity’s expected losses or residual returns, a quantitative analysis is performed to determine the primary beneficiary.
For our consolidated VIEs, we have presented on our consolidated balance sheets, to the extent material, the assets of our consolidated VIEs that can only be used to settle specific obligations of the consolidated VIE, and the liabilities of our consolidated VIEs for which creditors do not have recourse to our general assets outside of the VIE with all intercompany accounts and transactions eliminated.
Cash and Cash Equivalents
Cash and cash equivalents include all cash balances and short term investments with original maturity periods of three months or less.
Restricted cash consists of cash on deposit in financial institutions that is restricted to satisfy the requirements of certain debt and acquisition agreements and funds held within the Company's project companies that are restricted for current debt service payments and other purposes in accordance with the applicable debt agreements. These restrictions include: (i) cash on deposit in collateral accounts, debt service reserve accounts, and maintenance reserve accounts; and (ii) cash on deposit in operating accounts but subject to distribution restrictions due to debt defaults as of the balance sheet date.
As discussed in Note 9. Long-Term Debt, the Company experienced defaults under most of its non-recourse project level financing agreements prior to the issuance of the financial statements for the year ended December 31, 2015. As a result, the Company classified an additional $16.6 million to restricted cash as of December 31, 2015.
Cash Committed for Construction Projects
Cash committed for construction projects includes loan proceeds deposited into bank accounts in the normal course of business for general use only in the operations of the project company to build power plants. The loan proceeds cannot be used by other project companies or for general corporate purposes and is therefore considered restricted. In certain instances, withdrawal of such funds may only occur after certain milestones are met or expenditures during construction have been incurred and approved by the lender in accordance with the terms of the debt agreement. Approvals for the disbursement of such funds are typically received based on support for the qualified expenditures related to the projects provided there are no conditions of default under the loans.
Accounts Receivable and Allowance for Doubtful Accounts
Accounts receivable are reported on the consolidated balance sheets, including both billed and unbilled amounts, and are adjusted for any write-offs as well as the allowance for doubtful accounts. We establish an allowance for doubtful accounts to adjust our receivables to amounts considered to be ultimately collectible. Our allowance is based on a variety of factors, including the length of time receivables are past due, significant one-time events, the financial health of our customers and historical experience. There was no allowance for doubtful accounts as of December 31, 2015 and 2014. There were no write-offs of accounts receivable for the years ended December 31, 2015, 2014 and 2013.