The state Department of Environmental Protection announced two programs for small businesses whose projects save in energy consumption and pollution-related expenses.
The Small Business Advantage Grant Program and Pollution Prevention Assistance Account are designed to work in conjunction with each other to help small businesses who work to cut costs and reduce the risk of regulatory problems, while at the same time protecting the environment.
“As companies are learning how to become leaner, any cost saving measures are helpful,” Deb Heffner, economic development coordinator for Greater Reading Economic Partnership, said this morning. “Businesses don’t always have the capital to go for greener technology, so this is an opportunity to do that at a reduced cost.”
The Small Business Advantage Grant provides funding for a project costing at least $500 and will fund up to $9,500 or 50 percent of the eligible project costs, whichever is less, to enable a Pennsylvania small business to adopt or acquire energy efficient or pollution prevention equipment or processes.
The application period is open; awards will be made on a first-come, first-served basis. Applications will be taken through 4 p.m. on April 15. Once received, the applications typically are reviewed within 90 days.
Eligible businesses are any for-profit or limited liability corporation, partnership, sole proprietorship or other legal entity with 100 or fewer full-time employees.
The project must be in Pennsylvania and owned by the applicant, unless it is a franchise, and must save the business a minimum of 25 percent annually in energy consumption or pollution-related expenses.
The grants can provide funding for projects that include auxiliary power units deployed as anti-idling technology for trucks, heating, ventilation and air conditioning and boiler upgrades, high-efficiency lighting, solvent recovery systems and waste recycling systems.
Grants can also apply to home-based businesses that comply with conditions outlined in the program guidelines, and require follow-up to demonstrate reduction in energy consumption or pollution.
The Pollution Prevention Assistance Account is a loan program administered by the state Department of Environmental Protection and Department of Community and Economic Development, and can be used in conjunction with the Small Business Advantage Grant Program.
The program is to help small businesses implement pollution prevention and energy-efficiency projects, enabling them to adopt or install equipment or processes that reduce pollution, energy use or raw materials.
Funding is for 75 percent of the total eligible project cost up to $100,000, whichever is less. The existing interest rate is 2 percent for a 10-year term.
Businesses in Pennsylvania are eligible if they have 100 or fewer full-time employees and adopt or install pollution prevention or energy efficient equipment or processes directly related to the business activity.
The Determination of Eligibility Application first must be submitted and approved by the state Department of Environmental Protection before a loan application can be submitted to DCED.