We have been receiving a lot of inquires about the new Alternative Energy initiative for PA. I spoke to an official with the state and although a bill has been signed by Gov Rendell, the prvisions have not yet been defined by the legislature.

Below you will find an overview along with a link for a free email update. As PA defines their program, they will be emailing these updates to those individuals or companies who have signed up for this request. Please take a few minutes after you read the article to sign up and stay informed.

Should you like to know more about solar opportunities in PA, you may email george@hbsadvantage.com or visit us on the web www.hutchinsonbusinesssolutions.com

On July 9, 2008, Governor Edward G. Rendell signed into law the $650 million Alternative Energy Investment Fund, providing Pennsylvania with new resources to spur innovation, development and the use of alternative energy solutions.

The fund will help residential consumers and small businesses reduce electricity consumption and save money by incorporating renewable energy technologies and energy conservation and efficiency measures. Incentives in the form of grants, loans, reimbursements or rebates will be available for projects including, but not limited to, solar energy, energy conservation and building weatherization.

The Alternative Energy Investment Fund will also encourage economic development and renewable energy projects on the part of businesses, political subdivisions and non-profit organizations. Tax credits, grants, loans or reimbursements will be available to entities engaged in developing and deploying renewable energy and energy efficient projects.

The consumer and small business programs, which are being developed now along with guidelines and application procedures, will be administered by the Department of Environmental Protection. The economic development programs will be administered by the Commonwealth Financing Authority with technical assistance from the Department of Environmental Protection. For more information visit www.newpa.com.

The PA DEP has created a webpage for interested people to enter their email addresses for receiving email updates about the status of these new programs.  Please visit http://www.ahs2.dep.state.pa.us/aeifsignup/ to sign up for these program updates.


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:                                                             CONTACT:  

July 9, 2008                                                                                                     Chuck Ardo



Michael Smith (DEP)



Governor Signs Special Session House Bill 1; Underscores Importance of Continuing Work to Address Pending Electricity Rate Spikes


YORK – At a time when conventional energy prices are at or near record highs, Governor Edward G. Rendell today signed into law a new fund that will save families and small businesses money on their energy bills by supporting investments in energy conservation and efficiency. 


As part of the $650 million package, residential consumers and small businesses will be eligible for $92.5 million in loans, grants, reimbursements and rebates to support energy conservation and weatherization projects that can ultimately reduce energy bills. Another $40 million is available to provide financial assistance through the state’s Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program, or LIHEAP, and establish an energy efficiency loan fund through the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency.


Households and small businesses can also qualify for $100 million to support the installation of solar energy technology. Solar power is a key cost-saving technology that enables homes and businesses to generate their own electricity and sell any excess power back to the grid through net metering.


Carnegie Mellon University estimates the technology could help reduce electricity demand by 5 percent during the 100 most expensive hours of the year—typically, times when the sun is most intense and temperatures the highest—which would save Pennsylvania ratepayers $1.9 billion annually. Electricity rates can be 15 to 30 times more during periods when demand is highest.


The Governor said these kinds of investments are important today because consumers who now find it difficult to pay for gasoline, diesel fuel, natural gas and heating oil will only face greater financial hardship when the generation rate caps that have held electricity prices in check since the mid-1990s expire, leading to double-digit rate increases.


“Families are having to make the difficult decision of whether or not to stay in their homes because they can barely afford to fill up their gas tank or go to the grocery store where higher energy prices have pushed up the price of food,” said Governor Rendell. “Likewise, businesses are questioning whether or not to shut their doors because it costs so much to keep the lights on and the machines running. 


“This should concern all of us because the residential consumers and businesses in the five utility service territories where rate caps haven’t expired—PECO, PPL, Allegheny Power, MetEd and Penelec—are facing a $4 billion increase in their electricity rates by 2011,” said the Governor. “At a time when gasoline and diesel fuel are at $4 and $5 per gallon and natural gas has more than doubled since last year, these rate increases will be the straw that breaks the camel’s back.


“We’re putting new resources in place that will help consumers lower their energy use and generate their own power in a cleaner and increasingly more cost-effective manner.”


The Governor will also work throughout the summer to reach an agreement with the legislature on measures that will improve what he called the state’s flawed energy policies and protect consumers from the pending electricity rate spikes.


“While I’m disappointed we were unable to reach an agreement on key measures related to electricity, specifically on conservation, energy efficiency and requiring service to be provided at the lowest reasonable rate, I’m encouraged by the commitment by all of the parties to get something done this fall. We’ll work throughout the summer to improve Pennsylvania’s energy policy so it works for consumers and protects them from the volatility of the open market and collusion or fraud.


“It is a moral imperative that we act promptly to protect consumers from these rate spikes. It has been more than a year and a half since I first unveiled my plan to shield families and businesses from feeling the financial pain that will result from the shortcomings of deregulation.  Too much time has elapsed and our ratepayers are now that much closer to paying billions of dollars in electricity costs,” the Governor said.


In addition to supporting energy conservation, efficiency measures, and financial assistance, the Governor outlined new strategic investments made possible under the fund that will spur billions of dollars in new, private economic development projects from alternative energy companies and early stage businesses that will create thousands of jobs in a rapidly growing industry.


“Pennsylvania has established itself as leader in developing and deploying clean renewable energy resources,” said the Governor, citing some of the world’s leading businesses that now call Pennsylvania home, like Conergy, Gamesa and Iberdrola. “However, the $1 billion in private investment that has flowed into Pennsylvania and the 3,000 jobs we’ve created in the renewable energy industry only begin to scratch the surface of our potential.


“This new investment fund will strategically target new resources to leverage as much as $3.5 billion in private investment and create at least 13,000 new, good-paying jobs in an industry that is sure to be to the 21st century what information technology and biosciences were to the later 20th century.”


Included among the new $650 million fund is $500 million that provides:


  • $165 million for loans and grants to spur the development of alternative and renewable energy projects (except solar) among businesses and local governments;
  • $100 million to provide loans, grants and rebates that cover up to 35 percent of the costs residential consumers and small businesses incur for installing for solar energy technology;
  • $80 million in grants and loans for economic development projects in the solar sector;
  • $40 million to the Ben Franklin Technology Development Authority to support early stage activities, such as incubator support services, translational and early stage research in startup businesses that develop and implement energy efficiency technologies;
  • $25 million for wind energy and geothermal projects;
  • $25 million for green buildings. Homeowners and small businesses will benefit from grants and loans to build energy efficient structures or renovate an existing building to improve its energy efficiency;
  • $40 million ($10 million annually for four years) to support LIHEAP so the commonwealth can help low-income customers manage higher energy prices, severe weather conditions, or disasters; and
  • $25 million for pollution control technology to help energy generators meet state and federal standards.

The law, originally Special Session House Bill 1, will also establish a $150 million consumer energy program for individuals and small businesses that will support projects that conserve energy and use it more efficiently—something that is increasingly important as the costs for electricity, fuels and natural gas continue to increase.


The $150 million will be allocated over eight years, with $20 million annually through 2014-15 and another $10 million in 2015-16 that will include:


  • $92.5 million so homeowners and small business owners can cover 25 percent of the cost of purchasing and installing energy conservation tools and weatherize their buildings;
  • $50 million in tax credits of up to $1 million a year per project for developing and building alternative energy projects, which will help Pennsylvania companies invest and grow here; and.
  • $5 million to support an Energy Efficiency Loan Fund through the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency.


For more information on the 2008-09 budget, visit www.pa.gov.


For more information about solar opportunities in the Phial surrounding area contact HBS Solar 856-857-1230 or email george@hbsadvantage.com. Ask about our free proforma.

July 23, 2008

Pennsylvania Governor Edward Rendell has approved a bill that establishes a $500 million fund to support alternative energy projects. Special Session House Bill 1 authorizes the Commonwealth Financing Authority to borrow $500 million, most of which will be split into six funding sources relating to energy efficiency and renewable energy: $80 million in grants and loans for solar energy projects; $100 million in grants, loans, and rebates for up to 35% of the cost of solar energy projects at residences and small businesses; $165 million in grants and loans for alternative energy projects, excluding solar energy, at businesses and local government facilities; $25 million for wind and geothermal energy projects; $40 million to help start-up businesses involved in energy efficiency technologies; and $25 million in grants and loans to improve the energy efficiency of new and existing homes and small business buildings. An additional $65 million will go toward pollution control technologies and to help low-income families pay their energy bills.

The bill defines alternative energy projects as projects that employ alternative fuels; biomass, wind, solar, and geothermal energy sources; waste energy; waste coal; clean coal technologies; and other energy sources included in the state’s Alternative Energy Portfolio Standards Act. It also includes facilities that manufacture products or parts for alternative energy, alternative fuels, energy efficiency, or energy conservation, as well as research and development facilities for alternative energy and alternative fuels. Last but not least, it includes projects “for the development or enhancement of rail transportation systems that deliver alternative fuels or high-efficiency locomotives.” The bill places no time limit on the payout of the various funds, and it pays off the debt by drawing $40 million per year from the state’s general fund for the next 30 years. See the article from the EERE Network News on the state’s Alternative Energy Portfolio Standards Act.

In addition to the $500 million fund, the bill creates a Consumer Energy Program that is funded at $15 million for the next 3 fiscal years, then gradually decreases to $8 million by the 2015-2016 fiscal year, for a total of $100 million. Of that, $92.5 million will support loans, grants, and rebates for up to 25% of the cost of energy efficiency improvements to homes and small businesses, while $5 million will support low-interest loans for energy efficiency improvements to homes. An additional $50 million will be available over the next 8 years to support tax credits for 15% of the cost of alternative energy projects, capped at $1 million per year for each project. See the governor’s press release and the full text of the bill (PDF 250 KB). Download Adobe Reader.

Governor Rendell also approved two bills on July 10 that relate to biofuels. House Bill 1202 could add as much as 1 billion gallons of advanced biofuels to the state’s fuel supply. It requires all retail diesel fuel sold in the state to contain 2% biodiesel, once the in-state production of biodiesel reaches 40 million gallons per year, increasing incrementally to a 20% biodiesel requirement, once the in-state production of biodiesel reaches 400 million gallons per year (but only if vehicle manufacturers approve the use of 20% biodiesel). Likewise, all retail gasoline sold in the state must contain 10% ethanol, once the in-state production of cellulosic ethanol reaches 350 million gallons per year. The state already has a biodiesel production capacity of 60 million gallons per year, so the 2% biodiesel requirement could go into effect soon, if production is high enough. To encourage biodiesel production, Special Session Senate Bill 22 will offer a subsidy of 75 cents per gallon of biodiesel produced, capped at $1.9 million per year for each producer. The bill also expands a hybrid vehicle rebate program to include plug-in hybrids and other alternative fuel vehicles. See the governor’s press release and the full text of HB 1202 (PDF 42 KB) and SB 22 (PDF 20 KB).

Our perspective:

PA has joined the solar revolution. With the approval of the above bill funding, rebates and tax credits are now being made available. Contact HBS Solar and ask for a free proforma. Those businesses located in the Phila surrounding area call 856-857-1230 or email george@hbsadvantage.com


HARRISBURG, PA – Applications are now available for three programs that are helping Pennsylvania to grow its economy, achieve energy independence, and make it easier for consumers and businesses to develop and use advanced, clean energy resources.


Applications for the Energy Harvest and Alternative Fuels Incentive Grant programs, as well as funding from the Pennsylvania Energy Development Authority, can be downloaded from http://www.depweb.state.pa.us/.


Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Kathleen A. McGinty said the funds available through these programs will expand the use of renewable energy technologies in the commonwealth and help citizens and businesses manage increasing energy costs by using alternatives that also boost the state’s economy.


“We’re investing in the future of Pennsylvania’s families and businesses by using our resources to build a new energy economy in the commonwealth — o­ne that encourages clean and renewable resources that are indigenous to our state and are, increasingly, more cost competitive with conventional fuels,” said McGinty.


“The o­ngoing run-up in energy prices is putting a pinch o­n the pocketbooks and budgets of consumers and companies. The investments we’re making through these three programs will help spur the development of energy from things such as solar, wind and biomass — all of which Pennsylvania has in abundance. By supporting these technologies and opening new markets to their use, we’re not o­nly working to create new jobs, but also making these alternatives more cost effective for consumers, which will save them money o­n their energy bills.”


Details o­n the three grant program rounds that opened today are as follows:


— Pennsylvania Energy Development Authority (PEDA)

This year, up to $12.8 million is available through two PEDA grant opportunities. Up to $11 million will be available statewide for innovative, advanced energy projects and advanced energy businesses interested in locating to the state.


Another $1.8 million is available to municipalities, local government authorities and first responders in Duquesne Light Company’s electric service territory and immediately adjacent areas for energy efficiency and renewable power. The funds are intended to help local governments and first responders cope with rising energy costs and to ensure a secure energy supply for critical operations.


Governor Edward G. Rendell revived PEDA after years of inactivity to help spark innovation and economic development in Pennsylvania’s energy industry. Since 2005, PEDA has approved 81 grants and loans totaling more than $31 million for clean energy projects that are leveraging an estimated $362 million in other investment.


Alternative Fuels Incentive Grants (AFIG)


AFIG grants help support energy security by investing in companies that produce and market homegrown biofuels and consumers that purchase hybrid vehicles. This year, more funding is available to for fleet vehicles, providing incentives for businesses to incorporate the latest fuel and engine technologies.


Approximately $10 million is available this year. AFIG will continue funding to cover the added cost to purchase biofuel blends, as well as continuing the 5 cents per gallon production incentive for biofuels.

Since Governor Rendell expanded the AFIG three years ago, it has provided more than $17.8 million to 54 projects and leveraged $164 million in investments by public and private fleet operators, fuel providers and the federal government. AFIG funding awarded since 2004 has supported the use of more than 6 million gallons of biodiesel-blended fuel, as well as the production of 37 million gallons of biodiesel through 2009.


In addition, over the past three years, AFIG has invested approximately $4.5 million in rebates for the purchase of nearly 9,000 hybrid electric vehicles.


— Energy Harvest

Approximately $5 million will be available through the Energy Harvest grant program, which was established by Governor Rendell in 2003.


Energy Harvest promotes awareness and builds markets for cleaner or renewable energy technologies. Innovative projects that are eligible include renewable energy deployment, including biomass; waste coal reclamation for energy; deployment of innovative efficiency technologies; and distributed generation projects.


Since 2003, Energy Harvest has invested nearly $26 million and leveraged $66 million in private investments.

Applications for all three grant programs must be postmarked or received by June 20. Directions for submitting applications to each of the programs can be found in the respective application guideline.


For more information and to download applications and guidelines, visit http://www.depweb.state.pa.us/, keywords: PEDA, Energy Harvest or Alternative Fuels.



Should you want to learn more about opportunities to invest in alternative energy resources such as solar, wind etc. email george@hbsadvantage.com

 AS reported on SolarPowerRocks.com

This post is a list of where to get information, help, and most importantly, MONEY, for energy efficient improvements for your small business or home if you live in Pennsylvania. Enjoy.


  • EMAP, the Environmental Management Assistance Program was created by the Pennsylvania Small Business Development Centers which have consultants to help you (for free) in anything dealing with Energy Efficiency. Here you can sign up for an energy assessment and someone will come out and see where you would best be benefited by energy efficiency improvements. You can also call 877-ASK-EMAP and get a free consultant to answer any questions about energy efficiency.

    • The Small Business Advantage Program grants money for energy efficiency upgrades like solar power and pollution prevention. That’s free money…. but they’re out of it. Gotta wait till next year.


    • “Growing Greener” is a PA program with a boatload of cash ($600 mil) to dole out for green projects. Here’s how to apply.


    • “Energy Harvest” is another PA grant program where Pennsylvania fights for Federal grant money. Energy harvest is closed for 2007 but go here to be notified when it reopens.


    • “AFIG,” The Alternative Fuels Incentive Grant Program is a fairly small PA grant program with money for things like bio diesel, so if you want to convert your old diesel benzo you might be able to get some free ducats here for that…. But no money for rims :-(… I checked.


    • Yay, more acronyms… The PPAA, or Pollution Prevention Assistance Account Loan Program has low interest loans for small business taking on projects to reduce waste, pollution, or energy use (yay, that mean solar power!). You can get up to 75% of the cost of the project at a rate of, no kidding, 2%… BAM!


    • SAG, the Site Assessment Grant Program funds up to 80 percent of the cost of a site assessment. It’s closed for the time being… call 717-772-8951 to find out if and when it re-opens. Also, while you’re at it, another program out of money that will reopen is PEDA, the Pennsylvania Energy Development Authority from which you can solicit money….. next year.


    • NEWPA offers some low-interest loans for small business complying with some energy efficient practices.


    Hope this helps… this covers the vast majority of ways to get free money or cheap money in Pennsylvania for your solar power projects.


    Governor Rendell is has become a big promoter of Solar Energy in Pennsylvania. Currently the PA statehouse is decussing incentives that will help open the door to more businesses and homeowners to participate in the solar initiative.


    Stay tuned, we’ll keep you updated.


    To learn more about Solar opportunities in PA email george@hbsadvantage.com