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Client Alert: Pennsylvania Solar Funding Available For Property Owners//Businesses

07.20.09

The below information is of particular interest to property owners and businesses in PA.  Any land owner or business is eligible to take advantage of PA funding opportunities for solar energy projects.  Funding can be significant.
 
At the end of last week, Governor Rendell announced $23 million in new grants and loans for companies developing solar energy capabilities around the State. The State funded eight projects ranging from a loan of $13.1 million to a company which manufactures solar photovoltaic equipment to a grant of $4,500 towards the purchase of a solar hot water system for a special needs facility. Funding also was given to rooftop solar photovoltaic systems at a few different locations.
 
The funding is the initial outlay of money from Pennsylvania’s Solar Energy Program, which supports the generation and use of solar energy, and the manufacture and assembly of solar equipment. Eligible entities include businesses, economic development organizations and political subdivisions. 
 
Fixed rate loans for solar energy generation or distribution projects can be in amounts up to $5 million or $2.25 per watt, whichever is less, for loans of up to 15 years. Grants for solar energy generation or distribution projects, solar research and development facilities, and solar thermal projects can be awarded in amounts up to $1 million or $2.25 per watt, whichever is less. As of April, 2009, the loan rate was 5%.
 
Component manufacturers of solar energy generation equipment can receive grants of up to $5,000 and loans of up to $35,000 for every new job created by the business within three years after approval of the funding. 
 
Pennsylvania also is offering loan guarantees in the form of grants that may be used if the applicant defaults on its financing. The loan guarantees are limited to 75% of the deficiency up to $30 million, and a term of five years.
 
The State also can provide grants for planning and feasibility studies up to 50% of the total cost of the planning project or $175,000, whichever is less. 
 
For all types of support, there is a general requirement that applicants provide at least $1 for every $1 of program funds awarded. There is a 1% commitment fee on all approved loans.
Funds can be used for a variety of purposes relating to the project, including acquisition of land and buildings and clearing and preparation of land, in addition to purchase of a solar photovoltaic system.
 
Funds are awarded on a rolling basis. The next round of awards will be in October, with applications due in late August, 2009.
 
The link to the State’s press release for the funding is http://www.depweb.state.pa.us/news/cwp/view.asp?a=3&q=547725
If you would like additional information about the Pennsylvania Solar Program and opportunities that may be available, please contact either Douglas Schleicher, dschleicher@klehr.com, 215-569-2795, chairman of the Environmental Department, or Julie Beddingfield (LEED AP), jbeddingfield@klehr.com, 215-569-1639.