Small businesses still have time to get in on the remaining $1 million in rebates offered through Pennsylvania's Sunshine Solar Program, but only until Dec. 31.
Authorized by the Alternative Energy Investment Act of July 2008 and administered by the state Department of Environmental Protection, the program also is offered to homeowners.
Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett is encouraging small businesses to act on the program, which is on a first-come first-served basis. Offered to small businesses of 100 or fewer employees, the program includes rebates of up to $52,500 for projects that involve solar electric and up to $50,000 for solar hot water projects in Pennsylvania.
According to Ken Fenske, owner of Anapode Solar in Bethlehem, the state is giving 75 cents back to a business or homeowner for every watt of solar power that is installed in a project. Businesses and homeowners are required to use Department of Environmental Protection contractors that are mandated by the state. The installer applies for the rebate on behalf of the homeowner or business once the project is completed.
Fenske, however, said the savings of 75 cents per watt is not worthwhile considering the expense of using one of the mandated contractors.
"We sell do-it-yourself solar kits that don't qualify for the rebate because a business or homeowner is not considered a certified contractor by the state's mandates," he said.
To obtain a rebate for a new project, a Pennsylvania Sunshine rebate application must be submitted, along with a nonrefundable application fee of $150. In addition, all applicants must provide proof of a minimum $250 deposit with an approved solar installer.
Complete information and requirements for the Sunshine Solar Program and a list of approved installers is available on DEP's website, www.dep.state.pa.us; keyword: Sunshine.