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SEPCO's blog on all things renewable and green

Finding Funds for Nonprofits Renewable Energy Projects

Posted by SEPCO

8/26/14 9:30 AM

Money_for_Non_ProfitsMany organizations do not qualify for the renewable energy tax credits since they are nonprofit. That seems unfair since there is little incentive to get these types of organizations to utilize renewable energy. This bothered me and so I did some research and here is what I found that nonprofit organizations, such as churches, HOA’s and other organizations can do to gather the funds to utilize solar energy without killing their bottom line.

Grants

There are still grants that are available and nonprofits can qualify for these. Grants can be difficult to find, but with a little research, you may be able to find one that fits your needs best. Some great information can be found on the Energy.gov, FedCenter.gov and EPA.gov website about funding and financing of renewable energy project. Also talking to your local community representative may help find what local incentives are available for renewable energy projects. If there is nothing currently available, you can work on possibly sparking an interest and getting them to consider it in the near future.

Fundraising

Fundraising is a great way to get your community involved in your renewable energy efforts. You can hold something as simple as a spaghetti dinner or bake sale that can end up generating quite a bit of funds. You can also dedicate a plaque to larger donors of the project. As long as you make your community feel involved in the process, they will be happy to step forward and take a sense of pride in the project.

Crowdfunding

Crowdfunding is becoming hugely popular as a way to run get funds for a project by giving different level of incentives to help gain more traction. I’m sure by now you have heard of the Potato Salad at Kickstarter to more relevant Solar Roadways at Indigogo that gained some huge traction. Once you create your campaign, sharing it with your community is the first step, but having them share it out can allow those who would like to help your cause, but may not be located nearby, become a part of your project.

Leasing

Some organizations have gone through a leasing agency who can take care of the tax credits and grants search and claiming paperwork and your organization can still benefit. Instead of paying full price, there are leasing organizations that will take an additional discount off your system and then lease it back to you over the course of a number of years. You get a lower price and can slowly pay off your system instead of needing the total amount in one lump sum.

These are just a few options to those nonprofit organizations that still want to utilize renewable energy sources and complete projects to help make their organization a little greener to gain the funds for their projects. What other options have you heard of? We’d love to be able to add more to our list and help all organizations be able to put their green foot forward.

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Topics: Solar Lighting, Solar Tax Incentives, Solar Rebates, Funding

Financials Behind Renewable Energy

Posted by SEPCO

1/17/12 9:30 AM

Renewable energy presents numerous exciting financial benefits to consumers, in addition to the obvious environmental merits. As fossil based energy reserves – natural gas, coal and petroleum – continue to dwindle, there is an increasingly growing drive to seek alternative sources that are more sustainable and eco-friendly.

From federal tax credits and bonus depreciation schemes to state incentives for efficient energy use, consumers stand to gain from adopting renewable energy alternatives. Additionally, a number of utilities offer rebates of up to $4000 for wind and solar installations. The most widely used forms of renewable energy in homes are wind and solar electric systems. Homeowners can either choose to power parts of their homes or meet their entire home power needs using a renewable source. Here’s how you can benefit from your renewable energy system:

Solar Save Money

Federal tax credits

When you install a renewable energy system or purchase an energy efficient appliance, you automatically become eligible for some form of federal tax credit. Some existing tax credits run through 2011, while others run through 2016.

Products eligible through 2011, according to the Department of Energy:

• A $300 credit on biomass stoves rated with at least 75 percent thermal efficiency assessed using a lower heating value.

• Electric heat pumps and central air conditioning split and package systems also carry a credit of $300. For central air conditioning split systems, the requirements are that EER ≥13 (Energy Efficiency Ratio); SEER ≥16 (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio), and the package system requires that EER ≥12; SEER ≥14. For electric heat pump split systems, requirements are that HSPF ≥8.5 (Heating Season Performance Factor); EER ≥12.5; SEER ≥15, while the package system requirements are HSPF ≥8; EER ≥12; SEER ≥15. Other eligible HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning) systems include $150 for furnaces and boilers, and $50 for an advanced main air circulating fan.

Products eligible through 2016:

• Geothermal heat pump systems carry a 30 percent credit without an upper limit. It applies both to new and existing homes as long as it is placed in service by December 31 2016.

• Solar electric systems carry a credit of 30 percent of cost without an upper limit. The requirements for a solar water heating system is that the qualifying property must generate at least 50 percent of the energy from the sun, as well as having a certification from the SRCC – Solar Rating and Certification Corporation. For photovoltaic solar systems, they must generate power for the home and must meet fire and electrical code regulations.

• Wind energy systems also carry a 30 percent credit without an upper limit. The requirement for small residential wind turbines is that the nameplate capacity should not exceed 100 kilowatts.

• Residential fuel cell systems with efficiency of at least 30 percent have a 30 percent credit but must have a capacity of 0.5kW minimum.

• Plug-in vehicles and other small electric cars also have tax credits of up to $7500, depending on battery capacity.

State and utility incentives

There are various state and utility incentives both for residential and commercial setups. Many states operate rebate programs through environmentally based non-governmental organizations. Other states allow consumers and utilities to directly enter into power selling arrangements, where a consumer can either sell excess power generated by their renewable energy system, or have their annual energy costs heavily slashed.

One of the most popular consumer-utility arrangements is the net-metering system, where the consumer benefits most. It’s no surprise that many utilities are hostile to this concept, and some have even opposed a number of proposed state policies that would have even made it easier for homeowners to use the concept.

The net-metering concept works under the Public Utilities Regulatory Policies Act (PURPA), which allows consumers who generate their own energy to connect to a utility grid and the utility must purchase any excess power generated.

Net-metering works for both wind and solar electric systems. Homeowners, for instance, can save between $10 and $40 a month with a 10-kilowatt wind electric system. But savings can be bigger depending on how much energy you produce.

In a net metering system, a meter will read backwards (credit) when there’s excess power generated. The value of that credit is normally calculated at the prevailing wholesale unit rate – for peak or off peak. When there’s less power generated from the system and the grid supplies the majority, the meter reads positive and the credit reduces. At the end of the year, if your meter has a net credit, the utility will pay you the equivalent in cash, calculated at the wholesale cost of a unit.

There are a number of other state specific incentives for renewable energy. It’s imperative to look for a particular scheme in your locality that you might be eligible for if you’re planning to install a renewable energy system.

This guest post was written by Couponing contributing writer, James Lander. Couponing is devoted to sharing couponing techniques and top retailer coupons.

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Topics: Guest Post, Solar Tax Incentives, Solar Rebates

Good News from FPL 2012 Solar Incentives Application is Back

Posted by SEPCO

11/3/11 9:30 AM

Solar Rebate Program

FPL has opened the application period for the 2012 solar rebate program on October 27th. This is an ongoing pilot program to help reduce energy consumption and peak demand, but you have to hurry as it is first come, first serve. The rebates include solar photovoltaic (PV) and solar water heating systems.

How much is available?

The Florida Public Service Commission (PSC) has authorized $15.5 million for 2012 and the program will be available from October 2011 through September 2012. Half the funds were issued on October 27th, but the remainder is going to be issued in Spring 2012, so there is still time to get your application in.

FPL’s vice president Marlene Santos states “These rebates can help significantly defray the upfront cost of a customer’s investment in distributed renewable energy generation, but the annual funding is limited and first-come, first-served so we continue to encourage interested customers to make sure they have the necessary components of the application ready.”

What is available?

Residential Solar Water Heating: FPL’s program for residential solar water heating provides $1,000 per installation.

Business Solar Water Heating: Businesses will be eligible for variable rebate based on the size of the system equaling $30 per 1,000 BTU / day of the maximum rated output of the new system, up to $50,000 per site. Businesses with multiple sites can receive up to $150,000 for the year.

Residential Solar PV: The incentive for solar power installed on a home is $2,000 per kW of the rated direct-current (DC) output up to $20,000.

Business Solar PV: Businesses will be eligible for variable rebate based on the output of the system up to $50,000 per site and is calculated at $2 per DC Watt of the solar panel rating up to the first 10 kW, $1.50 for 10 kW to 25 kW, and $1 for every kW above 25. Multiple locations can receive a total of $150,000 per funding year.

What about Non-for-Profit Organization?

FPL has a limited number of rebates available for qualifying non-for-profit organizations that install solar water heaters in new construction for low income families. FPL also provides education programs while producing energy at schools and other educational facilities. FPL plans on installing at least oneNextGenerationSolarEducationCenterin 28 school districts inFlorida.

What to do next?

Visit www.FPL.com/solarrebates for more information on the application process and checklists. Also contact your local PV or Solar Hot Water systems installer. You can also look up more information on technology advancements and information at www.fsec.ucf.edu.

What if you are not an FPL customer?

Don’t worry; there is still money available through Federal, State, and Local tax incentives. Visit www.dsireusa.org for more information on tax incentives. You can also contact your local energy company to see what is available locally.

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Topics: Solar Power, Solar Tax Incentives, Solar Rebates

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