Solar Energy Grants for Nonprofits – How to Apply for Solar Energy Grants

In the last two years, the world has changed dramatically. The pandemic has forced organizations to adapt, and non-profit solar energy grants are one great example. The United States government, in particular, has stepped up to support the development of renewable energy sources and technologies. Since March 2020, the Federal Government has provided over $13 billion in green energy grants and loans to support the fight against the pandemic.

If you’re a non-profit organization that’s been affected by the pandemic and looking for new ways to fund your operations, you’ve probably considered applying for a solar energy grant. But what is a solar energy grant, and how can non-profits apply for them? Let’s take a look.

What Are Solar Energy Grants?

Broadly speaking, a solar energy grant is an award given to support the installation of renewable energy systems, mainly solar photovoltaic (PV) systems. However, a solar energy grant can also be used to install water-efficient appliances or upgrade your building’s heating and cooling infrastructure.

These funds are provided by the United States government through the Department of Energy (DOE), and are mostly made available to non-profit organizations. For those familiar with the Sustainable Energy for All (SEforALL) program, the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Solar Energy Grants program is the federal government’s version of the SEforALL program. As a result, the DOE Solar Energy Grants program actually is a superset of the SEforALL program, since SEforALL only covers solar energy systems. In other words, the DOE’s Solar Energy Grants program addresses more issues related to renewable energy and sustainable living than the SEforALL program alone.

Why Are Non-Profits Preferred?

Non-profits, as a rule, are preferred above for-profit applicants when it comes to receiving solar energy grants. According to the Department of Energy, this is because the for-profit sector is more likely to favor immediate returns over long-term costs, benefits, and sustainability. The DOE specifically notes that the immediate payback of a solar energy system can be as little as four to six months, and the benefits of renewable energy sources and electric vehicles can be seen for decades.

Nonprofits, on the other hand, are more likely to favor the greater good and, as a result, are more sustainable in the long run. These organizations are more likely to reinvest money back into the community, sponsor projects and programs that benefit the environment, and utilize energy-saving tactics and technology.

How Do You Apply For A Solar Energy Grant?

To apply for a solar energy grant, you need to first determine the size of the budget you have to work with. This, in turn, will dictate the type of system you can install. Larger nonprofit organizations, for example, can apply for a system with an output greater than 100kW.

Once you have this information, you can contact the Department of Energy to begin the application process. Keep in mind that this process can take several months to complete, so you’ll need to be patient.

What Types Of Systems Can You Install With A Solar Grant?

In general, the Department of Energy’s Solar Energy Grants program supports the installation of photovoltaic (PV) systems, which generate electricity through the conversion of sunlight into electricity. However, the department notes that it also offers support for micro-hydroelectric systems, which produce electricity using water power from a small stream or lake. Both systems, however, must be operated and maintained using solar energy.

As a general rule, smaller systems (up to 10 kW) are easier to install and maintain than larger ones, and, as a result, make for better projects for smaller organizations or individuals who lack the necessary expertise. On the other hand, larger systems are better suited for large organizations or governments who have the necessary funds and staff to support and maintain them.

How Much Does It Cost To Install A Solar Energy System?

If you’re looking to install a solar energy system, you’ll need to look at the cost. This, in turn, will depend on a number of factors, including the type, size, and brand of the system you choose. In 2020, prices for solar energy systems vary from $10,000 to $25,000. However, as this is an item that you’ll be able to pay back over time, the cost of solar energy systems is considered well worth it. In fact, many homeowners choose to refinance their mortgage to cover the cost of their solar energy system.

What Are The Benefits Of A Solar Energy System?

When the Department of Energy awarded its first solar energy grants in 2009, it became one of the first agencies to do so. Since then, the program has grown rapidly, and, as of April 2020, over $10 billion in funds have been awarded to support projects across the United States. These funds are provided to support the installation of renewable energy systems, which help reduce the country’s dependence on fossil fuels and their harmful effects on the environment. In 2020 alone, it is estimated that the department will provide over $13 billion in renewable energy funding.

As a result of these funds, the United States now has over 170 million solar energy systems in residential, commercial, and educational buildings across the country. This makes the U.S. the largest market for alternative energy systems in the world. Furthermore, these systems produce no carbon dioxide, save for the small amount generated when they are initially installed. As a result, homeowners can benefit from reduced energy bills, lower utility costs, and a more sustainable environment. In 2020 alone, it is estimated that over 730,000 new jobs will be created due to the increased demand for solar energy systems.

How Long Will It Take To See The Benefits Of A Solar Energy System?

Since the solar energy systems are designed to produce electricity and not just provide light, the benefits will begin to be felt almost immediately after they’ve been installed. In some cases, homeowners have seen immediate savings of $500 or more per month, all courtesy of their rooftop solar power system.

As a general rule, it takes three to six years for the savings from a solar energy system to be fully realized. This is because it takes time for the electricity produced by a solar energy system to be added to the grid and, as a result, appear on the bill. In 2020 alone, it is estimated that over 3.7 million Americans have installed solar energy systems and seen savings of over $20 billion. In other words, it’s a win-win situation: not only do you receive funding to support your nonprofit organization, but you can also help to create sustainable energy jobs and reduce your country’s dependence on fossil fuels.

Where Can I Learn More About This Program?

In addition to contacting the Department of Energy to begin the application process, you can learn more online at the department’s website or in person at one of their regional offices.

In the last couple of years, the world has changed dramatically. While much of the focus in the mainstream media has been on the impact of the pandemic, renewable energy and sustainability have risen as a result. This trend has also been reflected in the government’s support of alternative energy sources and technologies, such as solar energy. Since March 2020, the United States government has provided over $13 billion in support for solar energy systems, demonstrating the profound impact that the pandemic has had on the country’s renewable energy industry and the importance of this support mechanism. In the coming months and years, we will continue to see increased support for solar energy systems and other clean energy sources, as climate change becomes ever more of a looming threat.

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