Finding Grants for Renewable Energy Projects
From solar power to wind energy, grants are being offered by state and federal governments and large utility companies.
Finding grants can mean sorting through thousand of pages of information and then you need to find our which grants or rebates or tax incentives you might quality for.
The available grants are time limited in most cases and there are deadlines to meet both for application and for using the grant money to utilize renewable energy resources.
On the state level, grants are often co-sponsored by state agencies and utility companies. The first contact to make is to call your local utility company or visit their website. If they are participating in grants they will be able to point you in the right direction.
Why would a profit-making energy electric company want to help you use less of their product? Energy use continues to grow. In part this is due to a natural population increase but much of additional requirements for electricity are a reflection of our lifestyle.
Instant-on appliances and entertainment units draw power even when they are turned off. We have more gadgets and bigger appliances today and all of these require electrical power.
Very simply, as individuals, most people in the U.S. use more electricity than they used ten or twenty years ago. The increased use has put a burden on the power grids in many highly populated areas of the country.
A commercial electric company is willing to participate in helping people use renewable energy in order to reduce the load on its power grid. Building new power plants is tremendously expensive and building fossil fuel plants during a time when we know the limitations of this fuel doesn't make financial sense.
By helping some customers utilize renewable energy, the commercial utilities can continue to supply power to customers without enlarging their power grid or production plant.
Several government agencies such as the Department of Treasury have websites that outline various grants available. Many of the larger grants are available only to commercial companies but quite a few of them can be utilized by individuals.
Land owners can often qualify for almost any grant associated with renewable energy as agricultural entities are included in the requirements for larger commercial grants. The definition of "farming" is quite broad for some of the grant offers.
Don't be put off by thinking "agricultural" means only large farming conglomerates. Often a person owning 20 acres of land can qualify for a commercial grant to use renewable energy for irrigation.
Grants for wind energy can benefit more than the recipient of the grant money. Wind energy is very popular right now and wind farms are sprouting up throughout the country. Many of the grants can be applied for by a homeowner, rancher or farmer who can build one or two wind towers and provide power to his entire property.
For a larger power company that gets a grant to build a wind farm composed of multiple wind turbines, a land owner can benefit by renting his land for the construction. These are long term leases and attractive to struggling farmers and ranchers in this economy.
At one time it was believed land rented out for wind farms could not be used for any other purpose. Further studies proved livestock can graze peacefully around the towers and crops can be grown on the same land where the wind farm turbines are placed. This has led many people previously resistant to be willing to offer their land as a wind farm location.
Rural development agencies are also excellent source of information about grants. They may carry a list of current funding available and that list will include the requirements for qualifying and the steps you need to take before applying for grant money.
Long Lists of Requirements
Each grant will list the requirements for eligibility. If you are unsure whether you meet the requirements there should be a contact email or phone number you can call with questions.
For many grants, a visit from a representative of your local utility company may be the first step in application. This is to determine whether the energy resource you use is truly compatible to your area and your needs. If you plan to apply for a grant to add wind energy a site assessment is a requirement and your local power company can help you with a site assessment.
You may also be required to have an assessment of your home and to make some changes to make your home more energy efficient. Often any changes you make that improve energy efficiency of your property will result in more financial incentives for you along with the grant you are applying for.
Many of the federal grants for renewable and alternative energy were made available as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. The Act not only provides grants for businesses and homeowners but also has a provision that offers the alternative of a tax credit instead of a grant.
Applications for these grants are completed online and there are sites offering questions and answers about the process to help you understand the various rules and regulations involved.
If you are wondering how to get grants specifically for renewable energy projects, the answer is simply to go online and start looking for them. You will be surprised at how many possibilities are open to you.
Grants will often pay 1/3 to 1/2 the cost of installing a wind tower or solar system and the savings will go on for years as you power your home with renewable resources freely available to you. Receiving a grant will allow you to recoup your initial investment in equipment with only a few years of energy use.