By Lorri Drumm Herald Managing Editor Sep 14, 2020
DEP Offering Grants to Small Businesses and Farmers
The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) announced the availability of $1 million in grant funding to Pennsylvania small businesses and farmers for energy efficiency, pollution prevention, and natural resource protection projects through the Small Business Advantage grant program. New to the program this year is the opportunity for farmers to install solar pumping systems for their agricultural operations.
“Pennsylvania is committed to assisting those small business owners who want to become energy efficient, increase their profitability, and help the environment,” said DEP Secretary Patrick McDonnell. “This funding will support projects designed to reduce operating costs and boost competitiveness, while simultaneously protecting the environment.”
Eligible projects include adopting or acquiring equipment or processes that reduce energy use or pollution. Examples of eligible projects are HVAC and boiler upgrades, high-efficiency LED lighting, solvent recovery and waste recycling systems, and auxiliary power units deployed as anti-idling technology for trucks.
Last year, 233 small businesses were awarded grants for their projects. Natural resource protection projects may include planting riparian buffers, installation of streambank fencing to keep livestock out of streams, and investing in agricultural storm water management projects, with the goal of reducing sediment and nutrient loads in our waterways.
“We are excited to expand the program to help lower energy bills through the use of solar energy,” McDonnell said. “Encouraging businesses to embrace alternative energy projects helps clean our air, reduces greenhouse gases, and give small business owners a sense of satisfaction on making smart choices.”
Pennsylvania-based small business owners with 100 or fewer full-time equivalent employees are eligible. Projects must save the business a minimum of $500 and 25 percent annually in energy consumption, or pollution related expenses.
Businesses can apply for 50 percent matching funds of up to $7,000 to adopt or acquire energy-efficient or pollution prevention equipment or processes. Only costs incurred between July 1, 2020, and June 30, 2021 are eligible.
Applications will be considered on a first come, first served basis, and will be accepted until fiscal year 2020-21 funds are exhausted or April 12, 2021, whichever occurs first. All applications must be submitted through the Commonwealth’s Single Application for Assistance website. Printed, faxed, and mailed applications are not accepted.
The complete grant application package, which includes step-by-step instructions and instructional videos for completing the online application, is available by visiting the DEP Small Business Advantage Grant website.