I’m happy to announce some good news for nonprofits and not-for-profits. There are finally some solar incentives available for entities that do not pay taxes, including charitable, educational, scientific, religious, and artistic organizations. Connecticut has opened two very generous grant programs – the On-Site Renewable Distributed Generation program and the ARRA Commercial Solar PV program – that will help make solar a viable option for these groups.
Since nonprofits and not-for-profits are ineligible for the 30% federal tax credit available for residential and commercial installations, it was previously difficult to justify the renewable energy expenditures. With the new grants available in Connecticut, this levels the playing field and gives these entities a larger motivation to move forward with a solar power project.
ARRA Commercial Solar PV Program – Projects between 50 kW and 200kW AC
This is a state grant program intended for on-site solar power generation. The payout of the grant will be determined by the Connecticut Clean Energy Fund (CCEF) based on a reasonable time to breakeven compared to purchasing the electricity from the utility. Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis until the funding is exhausted. See the CCEF website for additional details on eligibility and application requirements. Funding limits for not-for-profit projects for the first 100 kW (PTC) is $4.50 per watt and the next 100 to 200 kW (PTC) is $4.00 per watt.
On-Site Renewable Distributed Generation (OSDG) Program – Projects between 10 kW and 200 kW AC
This is a state grant program for on-site generation projects in CL&P and UI service territories. The payout of the grant will be determined by the Connecticut Clean Energy Fund (CCEF) based on a reasonable time to breakeven. To qualify for the current round of funding, proposals must be submitted by February 28th, 2011. Funding limits for not-for-profit projects for the first 100 kW (PTC) is $4.00 per watt and the next 100 to 200 kW (PTC) is $3.50 per watt.
To give you an idea of how generous these grant programs are, the average installed cost per watt for a U.S. solar project was $7.16 per watt (STC) in 2010according to the Open PV Project. A not-for-profit project could qualify for one or both grants mentioned above and reduce the upfront cost of a system by 50% to up to 100% potentially. The grants I mentioned above establish that funding is determined by a reasonable time to breakeven so it’s safe to say that the CCEF won’t fund the entire project. It will, however, pay for a large portion of the installed cost.
If you’re affiliated with a nonprofit or not-for-profit in Connecticut, I would suggest that you don’t wait to look into solar power for your organization. The ARRA program will only be available until funding is exhausted and applications for the OSDG program are due by the end of February. Brightstar Solar is a licensed Connecticut solar installer who can help nonprofits maximize incentives, navigate the installation process, and complete the necessary grant and permitting paperwork. Please reach out to us for a free solar evaluation and complimentary financial analysis of your site.