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Power Up Your Renewable Ag Energy

Pa. economic development official outlines new funding opportunities.

Agricultural businesses in Pennsylvania have an unequalled opportunity to spur alternative energy and conservation projects. That's the word from a state economic development official at this week's Northeast Renewable Energy Conference in State College, Pa.

Rebecca Bagley, deputy secretary of the Department of Community and Economic Development, outlined a number of funding and tax credits coming with the $650 million Alternative Energy Investment Act signed into law July 9.

The monies will be available to individuals and businesses developing alternative and renewable energy technologies that reduce electricity consumption and save money. DCED and the Department of Environmental Protection are developing the guidelines and applications.

Here are the targeted areas, according to Bagley, that might apply to agriculture:

  • $165 million for clean and alternative energy projects (not including solar).
  • $80 million for solar-related alternative energy production projects.
  • $40 million to support early-stage business development activities through Ben Franklin Technology Partners to companies developing and implementing alternative energy and energy efficiency technologies.
  • $25 million for high- performance "green" buildings construction or renovation by small businesses or homeowners.
  • $25 million for geothermal or wind energy projects, including manufacturing facilities for wind energy
  • $50 million in tax credits equal to help with development, construction and equipment costs for alternative energy production projects.
  • $100 million to support installation of solar energy technology, to help homes and businesses generate their own electricity, reduce energy use during peak-rate periods, and sell any excess power back to the grid through net metering.
  • $45 million for financial assistance through the state's Low Income Heating Assistance Program and to establish an energy efficiency loan fund through the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency.
  • $92.5 million for grants, loans, reimbursements or rebates for consumer conservation and weatherization projects, such as installing energy-efficient windows, doors, or heating and cooling systems, insulation, air-sealing, or geothermal heat pumps.
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