States Offer Renewable Energy Funding

March 24, 2004

Several states around the country are offering up money this year to support renewable energy and energy efficiency projects. Homeowners and businesses in Wisconsin can receive cash-back rewards of up to $35,000 to help them install, expand, or repair commercially available solar and wind systems. Homeowners may also access up to $30,000 to install or expand commercially available solar hot water systems. The money is being offered through the Focus on Energy program, Wisconsin's energy efficiency and renewable energy initiative. Focus on Energy is also offering grants of up to $70,000 to businesses for installing commercially available bioenergy systems that produce electricity and use thermal energy. Low interest loans are also available for some renewables projects.

Focus on Energy claims that nearly 3,000 Wisconsin businesses have reduced their annual energy expenses by a total of nearly $15 million since July of 2001 due to energy efficiency improvements. Over their lifetime, these improvements will save state businesses $120.6 million. For example, McCain Foods USA will save more than $49,000 annually in electricity costs after upgrading the compressed air systems at its potato processing plant in Plover, WI. By reducing annual electricity consumption by more than 1.4 million kilowatt-hours, the improvement will pay for itself in two years. For more information on Wisconsin's grants and efficiency programs, see the Focus on Energy Web site.

In Connecticut, the Connecticut Clean Energy Fund is offering funding through a new three-year program for photovoltaic installations on commercial, industrial, and institutional buildings. The fund seeks proposals over the next three years and will provide funding to projects that demonstrate solar as a viable clean energy resource in Connecticut. See the Clean Energy Fund's press release on the program.

In Hawaii, the Hawaiian Electric Company is partnering with investors in order to finance renewable energy projects connected to the electrical grid. With initial approval to invest up to $10 million in renewable energy generation projects, the Company is seeking projects that have a capacity of at least 1 megawatt and a planned commercial date of operation no later than December 31, 2008. Proposals are due by April 22, 2004. For more information, see the Company's Web site.

The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) has a announced that $12 million is available to support demonstration, feasibility study, and product development of distributed generation or combined heat and power systems. The deadline for proposals is April 29, 2004. For more information see NYSERDA's Web site.

The State of Pennsylvania's Energy Harvest Initiative recently completed its first year by granting $5 million in funds to 32 recipients. The grants are designed to promote advanced energy technologies. The largest grant, of $54,182 went to Pennsylvania State Cooperative Extension of Westmoreland County to install and demonstrate a hybrid wind and solar energy generation system at the Donohoe Center Complex in Greensburg. The system offers a source of green power and will be used to develop educational programs for farmers and rural residents. Governor Edward G. Rendell has announced plans to expand the Energy Harvest Initiative by $80 million over four years. For more information on Energy Harvest see the Web site.