Green Business Bureau green funding
One of the original 13 colonies, New York was the eleventh state to be officially admitted to the Union on July 26, 1788, the date it ratified the Constitution of the United States. To celebrate this happy occasion, we’ve put together a list of just a few of the many incentives offered by the state of New York for businesses to go green. PACE financing -
PACE financing -The Municipal Sustainable Energy Programs, which function on a local level, offer loans of up to 10% of appraised real property value or cost of qualified improvements for energy improvements.
Personal Tax Credit -A Green Building Tax Credit of up to $2 million per buildling and distributed over 5 years is available to owners and tenants of eligible buildings and tenant spaces. Projects must meet certain “green” standards and can qualify under 6 different program components. THese standards increase energy efficiency, improve indoor air quality, and reduce the environmental impacts of large commercial and residential buildings in New York State, among other benefits. For more information visit: http://www.dec.ny.gov/energy/1540.html
Property Tax Incentives – One example is a 15-year real property tax exemption for solar and wind energy systems constructed in New York State. As currently effective, the law is a local option exemption, meaning that local governments are permitted to decide whether or not to allow it.
State Rebate Program – Under the New York Energy $mart Program, the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority offers several different funding options for companies. Check out their website at http://www.nyserda.org/. Participants in NYSERDA’s COmmercial Lighting Program can receive up to $50,000 for projects designed to improve energy-efficient lighting in commercial facilities. $53 million is available to conduct technical assessments of energy-efficiency measures in building designs and to offset up to 75% of the incremental capital costs to purchase and install energy-efficient equipment. Maximum incentive amounts vary by project type and incentive category.
Utility Rebate Programs – Several utility companies in New York offer rebates for businesses which practie energy efficiency and conservation. For example, Central Hudson Gas & Electric offers up to 70 percent of the equipment cost of a qualified efficiency upgrade. The Long Island Power Authority provides a variety of incentives for its business customers to increase the energy efficiency of their facilities through its Commercial Construction Program. Depending on the project, aid can range from $10,000 to $50,000. National Fuel offers total customized rebates of up to $25,000 for energy efficient equipment ranging from unit heaters to steamers and boilers.
Industry Recruitment and Support – One incentive is 50% cost share of up to $200,000 to hlep clean energy businesses achieve success, to grow, and to develop new markets through new or expanded activities in New York.
Economic Recovery Funding – There are many energy-related funding opportunities authorized through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). To search available options go to: http://www.nyserda.org/economicrecovery/recoveryfundingsearch.aspx
These are only a few of the options available to businesses in New York. Be sure to inquire at the local level to see what other incentives are available to your business in your county and city. Happy 222nd Birthday New York!
Wading through the morass of information on green business grant programs can be challenging, particularly for small businesses that don’t have the expertise or staff to manage grant writing. To ease the burden, our industry experts offer this advice on how to find the best programs for your needs and how to increase your odds of winning their approval.
1. Call your utility company and ask about the grants and rebates they offer.
The variety of programs vary, but almost all utilities offer some incentives to offset the cost of energy reduction projects, says PG&E’s Katie Romans. “Larger customers may have a rep they deal with directly who will walk them through the process, while smaller customers may have to call the utility directly and ask for assistance.”
Utilities also offer energy audits to help customers identify areas for improvement, which can help focus your grant writing and get you on the utility company’s radar when future programs open up.
2. Scour the web for grants, rebates and other incentive programs related to your project goals.
Along with visiting federal and state websites, including the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and departments of energy and commerce, check out DSIRE, a database of information on state, local, utility, and federal incentives that promote renewable energy and energy efficiency; Energy Star’s Rebate Finder, which breaks out incentives for purchasing Energy Star energy-efficient technology based on type and region; and www.grants.gov, a database of federal government grants.
“Every state is different, and they all offer incentive programs through different departments,” says John Harding director of the North Carolina Board of Science and Technology. “So plan to invest some time into your research.”
3. Sign up for listservs and email alerts for sites from which you want updates on new programs and deadlines.
This will ensure you don’t miss out on valuable grant opportunities, suggests Tommy Evans, president of Evans Environmental Energies, a small biodiesel manufacturer in North Carolina. His company received a $75,000 grant in 2008 from the North Carolina Green Business Fund.
“I get daily emails about deadlines and new grant programs from a lot of federal and state sites,” he says. “It keeps me informed about new programs that might fit our needs.”
4. Make sure your idea or project closely matches what the grant is trying to accomplish.
“It’s a waste of your time and their time if you apply for grants that don’t align with your goals,” says Evans.
5. Have a management team in place to run the project.
“We get proposals with great ideas, but they don’t have the expertise to carry them out,” says Harding. Unfortunately, those projects get eliminated from consideration.
6. Learn how to write a compelling and relevant grant proposal.
It should describe in a small amount of space your idea, why it’s important, your qualifications, and what you expect to accomplish, says Harding. “We see applications from a lot of companies that have great ideas and a strong management team, but if you can’t sell your idea in a well-written grant you are probably not going to get the funding.”
He advises working with a professional grant writer or researching grant writing skills before submitting your proposal.
7. Read the entire grant application before you start and do exactly what it says.
“The No. 1 mistake people make with grant writing is not following directions,” says Martha Ozonoff, executive director of California’s Releaf program, a nonprofit that awards grants for urban and community forest projects. “Even if it’s a good project, if it’s not done correctly you’ll get a lower rating, and that can mean the difference between getting funded or not.”
She advises having someone read your proposal before submitting it to double-check for mistakes and to make sure it makes sense. “You can’t assume the grantor will know your project the way you do,” says Ozonoff. “A fresh set of eyes can identify gaps in your story.”
8. Adjust your budget to take advantage of grant opportunities.
Companies should compare short- and long-term budget planning against grant opportunities to see if purchasing decisions can be swapped out, suggests Rachel Beckhardt, project manager for the Environmental Defense Fund.
“For example, if a fleet plans to purchase a cherry picker this year and a bucket truck next year, but a grant for hybrid trucks comes up, they might consider switching the purchases around,” she says. “With a little flexibility you can leverage these grants to make your budget go further.”
9. Be prepared to show your results.
“There is no such thing as free money,” says Beckhardt. “When the government gives you money they expect you to be accountable for what you did with it,” she says. “Companies must be prepared to produce reports on how the money was spent and what was accomplished.”
10. Don’t give up.
You may need to apply for 10 grants before you win one, warns Evans, who applied for several grants before receiving the North Carolina Green Business grant last year. “There is a lot of competition out there, but if your project is aligned with the program’s goals and you write a good grant, you can get lucky,” he says. “It’s definitely worth it to keep trying.”
Source: Sarah Fister Gale