Small Business Energy Efficiency Grants - Pennsylvania Joins In

Small Business Energy Efficiency Grants - Pennsylvania Joins In

January 22, 2009 08:25
by J. Wylie Donald

Small Business Energy Efficiency Grants

by Frances Ruml Beckley

Last year, Maryland offered grants to promote renewable energy business projects.  It was sold out within days.  Pennsylvania has just stepped onto the same path.  It is likely that the Commonwealth’s largess will be tapped just as quickly.

On January 12, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection announced that it is accepting applications for Small Business Energy Efficiency Grants, which were authorized as part of Pennsylvania’s Alternative Energy Investment Act passed last summer.  The applications will be accepted on a first-come-first-served basis until May 1, 2009 or until the three million dollars available in this grant round is exhausted.

The Grants are available to independent small businesses in the Commonwealth to purchase and install energy efficient equipment or processes.  Examples of eligible businesses include manufacturers, retailers, service providers, and agricultural concerns.  The business must be a for-profit entity with at least one full-time employee at the facility receiving the grant and no more than one hundred total employees.

Grants are available up to the lesser of $25,000 or 25% of an eligible project’s costs.  The project must save the small business at least 20% of its annual energy cost or result in a 20% cost saving for the system being replaced.  The project also must save the small business at least $1000 annually.  Residential rental units and dwellings are not eligible; neither are many air conditioning units, many wood heaters, waste oil fired furnaces, solar power systems, vehicle related upgrades for transportation equipment, or vending or coin-operated machines.

Examples of eligible projects include energy efficient lighting, high efficiency furnaces, boilers and air conditioners, geothermal heat pumps, windows and insulation, and energy efficient process equipment.  Some projects -- such as windows, doors and insulation -- require a professional energy assessment of the proposed improvements.  If the type of equipment being replaced is covered by the Energy Star program, then the equipment being installed must be Energy Star rated.  Costs cannot have been incurred before the January 12, 2009 grant opening date and projects must be completed by the earlier of 180 days after the grant agreement is executed or October 30, 2009.

The forms are available at 

Good luck with your application.  Let us know how it goes.

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The business case for the development of renewable energy projects, from biodiesel and ethanol to wind, solar, and distributed generation, is more compelling than ever as tax and regulatory incentives combine to attract investments. Emerging issues in environmental law and increasingly recognized principles of corporate social responsibility are encouraging public companies to voluntarily reduce greenhouse gas emissions, install clean energy alternatives, and invest overseas in projects under the Kyoto Protocol to respond to climate change concerns.

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