In July 2008, Pennsylvania enacted a broad $650 million alternative energy bill designed to provide support for a variety of renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies. Included in this legislation was a provision authorizing the creation of a $25 million grant and loan program for high performance buildings. The program is jointly administered by the Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) and the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), under the direction of Commonwealth Finance Authority (CFA). Program guidelines were issued in April 2009 and revised in November 2009. Incentives are available to both in-state small businesses (100 or fewer total employees) and individuals for the construction or major renovation of homes or commercial buildings. Homes must be primary residences in order to be eligible.
The program will offer support for green buildings in the form of loans, grants and loan guarantees (i.e., grants to be used in the event of a financing default). In order to be eligible for incentives, new construction and major renovation projects must achieve the applicable Gold certification under USGBC LEED or the National Green Building Standard, or at least 3 Globes under the GBI Green Globes system. Buildings must also meet additional requirements in certain categories. Funds may be used for the following project costs:
Acquisition of land and buildings, rights-of-way, and easements necessary for project construction
Clearing and preparation of land to build an eligible project
Construction or renovation of a high performance building
Project planning, design, and modeling work
Fees for registration and certification of a project
Commissioning and enhanced verification of building performance
Administrative costs of the applicant to administer a grant
The individual support mechanisms are described in more detail below. For all types of support, there is a general requirement that applicants provide matching funds equivalent to the funding offered under the program.
- Small Businesses
Loans for high performance building projects for small businesses shall not exceed $2 million. Loans for individual residence projects shall not exceed $100,000.
Grants for high performance building projects shall not exceed $500,000 or 10% of the total eligible building construction/renovation costs, whichever is less.
Grants shall not exceed $2 million for a small business and $100,000 for an individual and have a term of not more than five years. The grants funds may only be drawn upon in the event the grant recipient defaults on its financing and there is a deficiency in collateral for the lending institution to collect upon.
Visit the program web site and review the funding guidelines for additional program details and application procedures.
There is a matching investment requirement of at least $1 for every $1 of program funds awarded. There is a $100 non-refundable application fee due at the time of submission made payable to the CFA. There is a 1% commitment fee on all approved loans.