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EMAP Newsletter – Fall 2023 Edition

The Fall 2023 edition of the EMAP Newsletter, the First Stop, is now available for print, download, and sharing.  Included is information on funding programs, opportunities for public comment, a small business success story, and a Q&A guide to submitting electronic RFDs.
   

Pennsylvania Agriculture Energy Efficiency Rebate Program Now Accepting Applications

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is now accepting applications for the Agriculture Energy Efficiency Rebate Program, which provides funding to agricultural producers to help them purchase energy-efficient equipment.

The program offers rebates for the purchase of LED lighting systems, efficient ventilation equipment, and efficient milk pumping and cooling equipment. Rebates are also available for installation costs.

The maximum rebate is $7,500 per technology category, up to 50% of the equipment purchase costs.

To be eligible for the program, applicants must meet the following criteria:

  • Be a Pennsylvania agricultural producer
  • Own or lease a farm in Pennsylvania
  • Install the eligible equipment on a Pennsylvania farm

Applications are being accepted on a first-come, first-served basis until December 31, 2023. Approved applicants will be issued a voucher, which they can then use to purchase the eligible equipment. Once the equipment is installed, the applicant can submit a payment request form with required documentation to the DEP to receive the rebate moneys.

For more information, visit the Pennsylvania Agriculture Energy Efficiency Rebate Program website.

2023 DEP Small Business Advantage Grant

The Pennsylvania DEP’s Small Business Advantage Grant program is now open and is accepting applications as of August 18, 2023. This grant program is an excellent opportunity for Pennsylvania small businesses to reduce their environmental impact while reducing operating costs, eliminating pollution, and become more efficient.

The Small Business Advantage Grant (SBAG) is a grant program providing 50 percent matching grants, with a maximum grant award varying from up to $5,000 to up to $8,000, to enable a Pennsylvania small business to invest in pollution prevention measures, install energy efficient equipment, or implement natural resource protection projects. Well-designed energy efficient or pollution prevention projects can help small businesses cut costs and reduce the risk of regulatory issues, while simultaneously protecting the environment.

Larger grant award amounts will be given preference to projects that are located in an environmental justice area in Pennsylvania.  A small business can find out if they are located in an EJ area by using DEP’s EJ Areas Viewer interactive map.

Examples of eligible projects for the Small Business Advantage Grant include, but are not limited to, the following:
  • Energy efficient LED lighting,
  • High efficiency furnaces, boilers and air conditioners,
  • Digital X-ray equipment,
  • Water & waste recycling processes,
  • Solvent recovery systems,
  • Agricultural BMPs.

Advantage Grant applications are reviewed and awarded on a first-come, first-serve basis. Pennsylvania businesses with fewer than 100 full-time employees are eligible to apply.  Applicants must be for-profit entities located in Pennsylvania and registered with the PA Department of State.  Eligible projects must save the applicant a minimum of $500 annually and save operating costs by a minimum of 25%.

CLICK HERE to learn more.

Funding Opportunity for Small Businesses: Alternative Fuels Incentive Grant (AFIG) Program

The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), through its Energy Programs Office, has announced an exciting funding opportunity for small businesses in Pennsylvania. The Alternative Fuels Incentive Grant (AFIG) Program aims to improve air quality, reduce reliance on imported oil, and promote the use of homegrown alternative fuels. This program not only benefits the economy but also aligns with the greenhouse gas emissions reduction goals outlined in the 2021 Pennsylvania Climate Action Plan.

Funding Categories:

Approximately $3 million in grants will be available through the AFIG Program to support various initiatives related to alternative fuel transportation. Small businesses, as well as school districts, municipal authorities, political subdivisions, nonprofit entities, and corporations registered in Pennsylvania, are eligible to apply for funding under the following categories:
  1. Retrofitting Vehicles: Grants will cover incremental costs associated with retrofitting vehicles to operate on alternative fuels, promoting cleaner transportation options.
  2. Purchasing Alternative Fuel Vehicles: Funding can be utilized to offset incremental costs for purchasing new alternative fuel vehicles, encouraging the adoption of advanced vehicle technologies.
  3. Refueling Equipment: Grants will cover the cost of purchasing and installing refueling equipment that services alternative fuel vehicles, facilitating the growth of refueling infrastructure.
  4. Research and Development: Funding is available for research, training, development, and demonstration projects focused on new applications or next-phase technology related to alternative fuel vehicles, promoting innovation in the sector.

Priority Areas for 2023:

The AFIG Program gives priority to specific projects and entities for the 2023 funding cycle. The following areas will receive special attention:
  • Zero Emission Vehicle Projects: Initiatives that promote the use of zero-emission vehicles, such as electric vehicles, will be prioritized.
  • Renewable Natural Gas Vehicle and Infrastructure Projects: Funding will support projects related to renewable natural gas vehicle adoption and the development of associated infrastructure.
  • Medium-Duty and Light-Duty Fleet Refueling Infrastructure Projects: Emphasis will be placed on projects that focus on refueling infrastructure for medium-duty fleets (class 3-6 vehicles) and light-duty fleets (class 1-2 vehicles).
  • Environmental Justice Areas: Projects located in or predominantly serving environmental justice areas will receive priority attention. Environmental justice areas are communities disproportionately affected by environmental challenges.
  • Minority, Veteran, or Woman-Owned Businesses: Applications from minority-owned, veteran-owned, or woman-owned businesses will be given special consideration.

Application Process and Timeline:

Small businesses interested in applying for the AFIG Program can access the program guidelines and application instructions on the Department’s AFIG website. Applications must be submitted online through the Commonwealth’s eGrants system. The application period opens on June 30, 2023, and the Department will collect and review applications received by specific deadlines:
  • First Deadline: 11:59 p.m. on Friday, August 25, 2023.
  • Second Deadline: 4 p.m. on Friday, December 15, 2023.
Please note that hard copy applications will not be accepted.

Opportunities for Small Businesses:

The Alternative Fuels Incentive Grant (AFIG) Program presents a significant opportunity for small businesses in Pennsylvania to access funding for projects related to alternative fuel transportation. By incentivizing the use of alternative fuels, this program supports the state’s goals of improving air quality, reducing reliance on imported oil, and advancing the Pennsylvania Climate Action Plan. Small businesses can explore the available funding categories and align their initiatives with the priority areas for 2023. By participating in the AFIG Program, small businesses can contribute to a cleaner environment while enjoying the benefits of innovation and financial support.

Extension for Medium and Heavy Duty Zero-Emission Vehicles Grant Program

The deadline for grant applications in the Driving PA Forward Initiative’s Medium and Heavy-Duty Zero-Emission Vehicle Fleet Pilot Grant Program has been extended by DEP. Instead of March 1, the new deadline is March 31, 2023.

The main goal of the program is to swap out old diesel vehicles with new zero-emission vehicles. This initiative aims to reduce air pollution and enhance air quality in Pennsylvania. Local freight trucks in the Class 4-8 range, manufactured between 1992 and 2009, and primarily operating within Pennsylvania, are eligible for replacement. The replacement vehicles must be new zero-emission trucks that belong to the same class and serve a similar purpose.

To learn more, visit the Driving PA Forward MHD-ZEV Fleet webpage.

Agriculture Energy Efficiency Rebate Program Deadline Extension

DEP announced the extension of the Agriculture Energy Efficiency Rebate Program which provides funding to eligible agricultural producers for agricultural energy efficiency projects in Pennsylvania. The program provides rebates to assist agricultural producers with the purchase of light emitting diode (LED) lighting systems, efficient ventilation equipment and efficient milk pumping and cooling equipment. The application deadline is being extended from March 31, 2023, to June 30, 2023.

Level 2 Electric Vehicle Charging Rebates Available

Availability of Funding

Under the Driving PA Forward program, for-profit small businesses may be eligible for rebates that install Level 2 electric vehicle charging equipment.  The application period is currently open until funding runs out.

Eligibility

Eligible applicants include businesses that are legally incorporated in or registered to do business in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Eligible locations include publicly accessible non-government owned property and workplace property where the charging stations can serve either employee and/or light duty fleet vehicles.

Program Overview and How to Apply

The following video is offered by Pennsylvania DEP and provides an overview of the Level 2 Electric Vehicle Charging Rebate Program and a walk-through of the electronic application process.  

EPA Seeking Public Comment on the Inflation Reduction Act

EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation is seeking public comment on a set of non-regulatory dockets on various programs and grants related to the implementation of the Inflation Reduction Act.  The public, including small businesses, may comment on these dockets through January 18, 2023. More information on this Request for Information can be found here. Topics of the non-regulatory dockets include the following the areas:
  • Climate Pollution Reduction Grants
  • Funding to Address Air Pollution
  • Methane Emissions Reduction Program
  • Funding for Implementation of American Innovation and Manufacturing Act
  • Low Emissions Electricity Program & Greenhouse Gas Corporate Reporting

Applications for Medium & Heavy-Duty Zero Emission Vehicle Fleet Grants now open

The Department of Environmental Protection is now accepting applications for grants through the Driving PA Forward Initiative’s Medium and Heavy-Duty (MHD) Zero-Emission Vehicle Fleet Pilot Grant Program.  The deadline for applications is March 1. The intent of the program is to replace aging diesel vehicles with new zero-emission vehicles to reduce air emissions and improve air quality in Pennsylvania.  Model year 1992–2009 Class 4–8 local freight trucks that operate predominantly in Pennsylvania are eligible for replacement. Eligible project vehicles must be replaced with new zero-emission trucks of similar class and vocation. For more information, visit the Driving PA Forward MHD-ZEV Fleet webpage.

Pennsylvania DEP Small Business Advantage Grant Now Open

Pennsylvania DEP officially opened the Small Business Advantage Grant Program on October 8, 2022.
This grant assists small businesses who are looking to make pollution prevention, energy efficiency, or natural resource conservation projects. Here are some important details on the grant:
    • The grant program operates on a first-come, first-served basis and provides matching grants which range from a maximum of 50% or $5,000 up to 80% or $8,000. The variation in grant funding amount is determined by whether the project is located in an environmental justice area, it results in significant environmental savings, or both.
    • Eligible projects must save the small businesses with a minimum of $500 per year and at least 20% in annual energy consumption or pollution-related expenses.
 

Agriculture Energy Efficiency Rebate Program

Pennsylvania DEP is once again offering rebates to farms and agricultural producers in the Commonwealth for energy efficiency projects.  The DEP Agriculture Energy Efficiency Rebate Program is now open in its second year.  Applications are being accepted on a first-come, first-serve basis starting September 17, 2022 through March 31, 2023. Implementing energy efficiency measures is typically one of the easiest ways for any small business, farm, or agricultural operation to reduce operational costs, save money, reduce waste, and do good for the environment. Eligible projects for these rebates include LED lighting, variable frequency drives for milk vacuum pumps, ventilation fans, and refrigeration or cooling equipment. Information on eligibility and rebate amounts can be found here.
Jeremy Hancher is the EMAP Program Manager located at the Widener University SBDC.  He holds over 15 years of experience in environmental compliance, environmental policy, and program management.  He is proud to be the team lead of the award-winning EMAP program which provides free and confidential environmental assistance to the Pennsylvania small business community in fulfillment of the requirements of the Pennsylvania Air Pollution Control Act and Section 507 of the federal Clean Air Act.
In 2015, Jeremy was part of the team effort when EMAP was recognized by US EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy for Outstanding Accomplishments by a State Small Business Environmental Assistance Provider in Providing Technical Environmental Assistance to the Small Business Community. Jeremy holds a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Pittsburgh, a Master’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania, and a certificate from the Wharton School.