Tuesday, November 21, 2017

CFA Now Accepting Applications For Solar Energy Grants, Loans

Gov. Tom Wolf Tuesday announced the Solar Energy Program guidelines have been updated to include grants in addition to loans.
The program is open and accepting applications, offering almost $30 million in funding to promote the use of solar energy in Pennsylvania.
“The Solar Energy Program is vital in our efforts to make Pennsylvania a leader in clean energy,” Gov. Wolf said. “Developing new renewable energy sources including solar is critical to ensuring Pennsylvania has a balanced and diverse energy mix that maintains our position as a major energy producing state.”
The SEP provides financial assistance in the form of loans and grants that are used by eligible applicants to promote the generation and use of solar energy and the manufacture or assembly of solar equipment in the Commonwealth.
The program is administered jointly by the Department of Community and Economic Development and the Department of Environmental Protection under the direction of the Commonwealth Financing Authority.
The updated guidelines expand the program from only offering loans to now offering both loans and grants.
For solar equipment manufacturing projects, SEP will offer up to $40,000 in loans or $5,000 in grants for every new job created within three years.
For energy generation or distribution projects, SEP will offer loans up to $5 million or $3 per watt, whichever is less, and grants up to $1 million or $1.50 per watt, whichever is less.
SEP loans will be repaid over a period not to exceed 22 years for equipment and 15 years for real estate.
Applicants must provide matching funds of at least $1 for every $3 of loan funding awarded, and at least $1 for every $1 of grant funding awarded.
Applicants eligible for SEP funding include:
-- Businesses – A corporation, partnership, sole proprietorship, limited liability company, business trust or other CFA-approved commercial entity. The term also includes not-for-profit entities.
-- Economic Development Organizations – A nonprofit corporation or association whose purpose is the enhancement of economic conditions in their community.
-- Political Subdivision – A municipality, county, or school district.
The SEP is one of several ways that the Wolf Administration is promoting solar energy in the Commonwealth.
Last week, Gov. Wolf signed new legislation to bolster solar energy in Pennsylvania known as Act 40. This legislation requires that for a renewable facility to generate credits, the electricity the facility generates must be delivered to an electricity distributor operating within the commonwealth.
Prior to Act 40 taking effect, Pennsylvania allowed these credits to be generated anywhere in the PJM region, which stretches from North Carolina to Illinois. This resulted in an oversupply of credits, and Pennsylvania consumer dollars going to support solar facilities in other states.
The passage of Act 40 will help ensure that Pennsylvania is receiving the environmental and other benefits of solar development here in the Commonwealth.
Applications are being accepted on a rolling basis and must be received 60 days before the next scheduled CBF Board meeting.  That means the upcoming deadlines are November 24; January 20; March 22; May 18; and July 20.
The first approvals for the Solar Energy Program are expected in early 2018.
For more information and to apply, visit the CFA Solar Energy Program webpage.  Questions should be directed to DCED’s Center for Business Financing at 717-787-6245.
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