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

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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.
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.