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Wednesday, January 14th, 2009

January 12, 2009 — Harrisburg, PA
COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA Dept. of Environmental Protection

YORK HAVEN – Pennsylvania’s small businesses can cut costs by improving their energy efficiency through the state’s recently created Alternative Energy Investment Fund, acting Environmental Protection Secretary John Hanger said today.
Hanger announced the opening of the $3 million Small Business Energy Efficiency Grant Program—the first program available through the $650 million fund signed into law by Governor Edward G. Rendell last July.

Hanger noted that small businesses that work to improve energy efficiency today will be better positioned to compete down the road.

“Small businesses need to cut their costs now more than ever,” said Hanger. “Firms that commit to using energy wisely will be able to weather the current economic uncertainty, enhance their competitiveness, and be better prepared to manage rising electric rates.

“The Small Business Energy Efficiency Grants, and other programs through the Alternative Energy Investment Fund that will be announced in coming months, are part of Governor Rendell’s commitment to create good jobs, secure our energy independence, and foster a cleaner environment.”

Hanger unveiled the new grant program at Die-Tech Inc., a precision metal stamping company that is evaluating energy-efficiency upgrades to its heating and cooling system.

To qualify for a Small Business Energy Efficiency grant, projects must save at least 20 percent of the applicant’s annual energy costs and at least $1,000 a year in energy costs. The grants will provide up to 25 percent of project costs, with a maximum grant of $25,000.

Beginning today, applications are available at, keyword: Small Business Energy Efficiency Grant Program. Applications will also be available by contacting the Department of Environmental Protection, Office of Energy and Technology Deployment, 15th Floor, Rachel Carson State Office Building, 400 Market St., P. O. Box 8772, Harrisburg, PA 17105-8772. Applications can also be obtained by calling (717) 783-8411 or e-mailing

Applications must be received by May 1. Grants will be awarded to eligible applicants on a first-come, first-served basis until the $3 million in available funds are depleted.

Grants will apply to energy efficiency improvements on systems such as lighting, heating, cooling, refrigeration and process machinery, as well as building insulation and weatherization improvement projects.

Only project costs incurred today and in the future are eligible for funding.

An eligible applicant must be an independent, for-profit small business with 100 employees or fewer whose business or facility is located within Pennsylvania. Examples of small businesses in Pennsylvania that are eligible include manufacturers, retailers, service providers, mining businesses and agricultural operations. The Alternative Energy Investment Fund will make $650 million in new capital available to enable Pennsylvania to compete more effectively in the global clean energy economy, with more than $237 million targeted toward helping families and small businesses conserve electricity and manage higher energy prices.

Other Alternative Energy Investment Fund programs are now in development. Of the $650 million fund, $500 million will be provided through bond financing through the Commonwealth Financing Authority. The highly anticipated Pennsylvania Sunshine Program that will provide up to 35 percent of the costs for residential and small business solar energy projects will be available once the bond is issued.

A Residential Energy Efficiency Loan and Rebate Program is expected to be available in the near future. The residential and small business energy efficiency programs will work in conjunction with energy conservation measures that are part of Act 129, another cornerstone of Governor Rendell’s original Energy Independence Strategy.

Act 129, signed by Governor Rendell in October, requires utilities to adopt and implement cost-effective plans to cut electricity use 1 percent by 2011 and 3 percent by 2013. Utilities must also implement plans to cut energy use 4.5 percent during peak demand periods when market prices are highest — typically the hottest days of summer and the coldest days of winter— by 2013.

“By reducing demand for electricity through energy efficiency and conservation, and by increasing the supply of clean energy, we will be able to help hold down the market prices for electricity,” Hanger said. “Act 129 alone will save energy consumers $500 million over the next five years and up to $800 million annually beginning in 2013. These savings, along with recent declines in fuel costs, if sustained, will likely moderate the expected cost increases when rate caps expire statewide at the end of 2010. “However, we must do more to alleviate what will be a significant hardship for our businesses and families,” said Hanger. “Policies to mitigate further rate increases remain necessary and Governor Rendell has repeatedly urged members of the General Assembly to make this one of their first orders of business in 2009.”

For more information, visit, keyword: Small Business Energy Efficiency Grants Program.