DEP Announces Small Business Advantage Grants to Lower Operating Costs

Harrisburg, Pennsylvania (PRESS RELEASE – December 18, 2010) – State investments are helping Pennsylvania small-business owners continue to lower their operating costs by conserving energy and reducing pollution, Department of Environmental Protection Secretary John Hanger said.

Hanger announced that 90 small businesses across the state will receive more than $560,000 in grants through the Small Business Advantage program to reduce energy use and pollution, enabling them to become more competitive.

“Small-business owners face many challenges including how to reinvest their hard-earned dollars,” said Hanger. “In recent years, a growing number of small-business owners have realized that investing in projects that reduce pollution and energy use produce immediate and long-term positive results. Owners can improve their bottom lines, allowing them to make significant investments in their own futures, and the economic and environmental future of Pennsylvania, as well.”

Pennsylvania’s Small Business Advantage program provides small businesses (those with fewer than 100 employees) with 50-percent matching reimbursement grants of up to $7,500 to implement projects that will save at least 20 percent annually in pollution prevention or energy-related costs. Since 2004, the Small Business Advantage Grant program has invested $6.7 million in 1,220 small businesses.

Examples of eligible projects include HVAC and boiler upgrades, high-efficiency lighting, solvent recovery and waste recycling systems, and auxiliary power units that help large trucks reduce time spent with idling engines.

The 90 projects in 40 counties will receive a total of $564,291 and leverage an additional $1.1 million in private investments. In the first year, they will have a cumulative savings of $521,782 in operating expenses related to reductions in energy and pollution.

The savings include:

  • 1.3 million kilowatt-hours of electricity–enough to power 130 homes
  • 110,421 therms of natural gas
  • 28,000 gallons of propane
  • 26,000 gallons of kerosene and fuel oil; and
  • 40,741 gallons of diesel fuel

In addition, the projects will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by nearly five million pounds, equivalent to the total energy used by 190 homes or removing 425 passenger vehicles from the roads.

Governor Rendell has initiated several other programs to assist small business owners. The Alternative Energy Investment Act he signed into law in July 2008, created the Small Business Energy Efficiency program, which provides a 25 percent reimbursement grant up to $25,000 to help small businesses acquire equipment or adopt processes that promote energy efficiency. The program has awarded $2.3 million to 214 small businesses.

The Investment Act also created the Sunshine Solar program, which reimburses small business owners and homeowners up to 35 percent of the purchase and installation costs of solar energy technology. To date, this program has allocated more than $44 million to 664 businesses to install solar energy technology. These projects will generate 59 megawatts of electricity, or enough annually to power 7,000 average homes in Pennsylvania.

“These financial incentives have made energy-conserving and pollution-reducing technologies more affordable to a greater number of small business owners in the state,” said Hanger. “These types of projects can make a business more productive and more profitable — a combination that is good for the company, the employees, the economy and the environment.”

About DEP

The Department of Environmental Protection’s mission is to protect Pennsylvania’s air, land and water from pollution and to provide for the health and safety of its citizens through a cleaner environment. We will work as partners with individuals, organizations, governments and businesses to prevent pollution and restore our natural resources.

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