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Grants will help Berks businesses go green

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Past recipients of SEF grants include Reading Rising Park, a group of small neighborhood businesses, organized by Entrepreneur Connection, which requested and received a grant for $14,421 from the fund. The grant funded the renovation of Reading Rising Park, including the installation of solar-powered lighting at Second and Franklin streets.
Past recipients of SEF grants include Reading Rising Park, a group of small neighborhood businesses, organized by Entrepreneur Connection, which requested and received a grant for $14,421 from the fund. The grant funded the renovation of Reading Rising Park, including the installation of solar-powered lighting at Second and Franklin streets. - (Photo / )

Around $270,000 in grants will be distributed by the Met-Ed/Penelec Sustainable Energy Fund in 2019. for projects in the utilities' territories that support green initiatives and workforce development.

Jason Brudereck, director of communications for the Berks County Community Foundation, which runs the Met-Ed portion of the program, said grants will range from $2,000 to $50,000 for projects and programs that support the development and use of clean energy technology and energy efficiency.

The grants will be reviewed in two rounds. The first group of applications will be accepted online from Jan. 15 to March 15 with a decision made in July.

The second round of applications will be accepted from Aug. 15 to Oct. 15 with a decision made in December.

Grants awarded through the two periods will total $195,000

But, Brudereck said, funding green projects is just part of the fund’s goals. It also seeks to develop the green energy workforce in the region and plans to make three grants of $25,000 each towards workforce development in the green energy field.

“There is a need for more training in the sustainable energy field,” Brudereck said. “We need people trained in this field to work or start new companies.”

For projects that don’t qualify for the grants, or for those that need more capital than is available through the program, Brudereck said the fund also makes loans and investments.

Program-related investments can range from $25,000 to $500,000, but applicants need to go through standard loan-approval processes.

Projects funded by the SEF has in the past include the installation of solar water heaters, wind turbine manufacturing and construction of LEED-certified projects.

 

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Stacy Wescoe

Stacy Wescoe

Writer and online editor Stacy Wescoe has her finger on the pulse of the business community in the Greater Lehigh Valley and keeps you up-to-date with technology and trends, plus what coworkers and competitors are talking about around the water cooler — and on social media. She can be reached at stacyw@lvb.com or 610-807-9619, ext. 4104. Follow her on Twitter at @morestacy and on Facebook. Circle Stacy Wescoe on .

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