Merski, Harkins: $1 million in DEP grants available to small businesses, farms

Grants to fund energy efficiency, pollution control, environmental protection projects

HARRISBURG, July 29 – Grant funding of $1 million is available from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection to help small businesses and farms “grow green” and become more energy efficient while reducing operating costs, state Reps. Bob Merski and Pat Harkins, both D-Erie, announced.

The grants – which will be awarded through the DEP’s Small Business Advantage Grant program – will fund projects to promote energy efficiency, pollution prevention and natural resource protection.

“I urge local small businesses to take advantage of this grant opportunity, which is a terrific way for them to make improvements that boost efficiency and cut operating expenses, making them more competitive while at the same time helping to protect the environment,” Merski said.

Harkins agreed, noting, “The funding is especially valuable because it allows small business owners to make equipment-related improvements such as HVAC and boiler upgrades, installation of solar-powered or high-efficiency LED lighting, improved recycling systems and acquisition of auxiliary power units that can minimize truck engine idling time.”

Funding is also available for projects that protect natural resources through construction of riparian buffers, streambank fencing to keep livestock from streams, and stormwater systems to reduce sediment in waterways.

Small business owners with 100 or fewer full-time employees are eligible, and the project to be funded must save the business a minimum of $500 and 25% annually in energy consumption or pollution-related expenses.

Businesses can apply for 50% matching funds of up to $7,000 to adopt or acquire energy efficient or pollution-prevention equipment or processes. Only costs incurred between July 1, 2019, and June 30, 2020, are eligible. The grants are awarded on a first-come basis, and applications will be accepted until fiscal year 2019-20 funds are exhausted or April 12, whichever occurs first. 

The complete grant application package – which includes instructions and videos on how to  complete the online application – is available by visiting www.dep.pa.gov, clicking on “Grants,” then on “Small Business Ombudsman,” and then on “Small Business Advantage Grant.” 

Last year, about 200 small businesses were awarded nearly $950,000 for projects.