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Energy Efficiency and Solar Grants

Grants to Washington Agencies, IHEs, and School Districts
to Increase Energy Efficiency and Solar Energy Usage

Agency Type:


Funding Source:

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Washington State Department of Commerce

Deadline Date:

12/31/18 5:00 PM PST Receipt


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Grants to Washington public higher education institutions, school districts, and local and state agencies for projects to increase efficient energy usage and install solar energy systems throughout the State. Funding is intended to reduce energy consumption, lower operational expenses, install solar modules and inverters, and improve health and safety through the replacement of outdated heating systems.

The Energy Efficiency and Solar Grants Program provides Energy Efficiency grants, for operational cost savings improvements to facilities and related projects that result in energy and operational cost savings; and Solar grants, for projects that involve the purchase and installation of solar energy systems, including solar modules and inverters, with a preference for Washington-manufactured products.

All projects must:

- Be located in the State of Washington.
- Benefit and be owned by the applicant.
- Be retrofits of existing buildings and structures.
- Comply with utility, local, state, and federal laws, regulations, and policies, as applicable.
- Demonstrate benefit to Washington State and its citizens.
- Result in energy and operational cost savings.

In addition, solar projects must:

- For solar photovoltaic (PV) or solar thermal system the project must provide a minimum of 20,000 kilowatt hour (kWh) or equivalent Btu/year of generation.
- For small cities and towns with populations of 5,000 or less, the minimum is 10,000 kWh or equivalent Btu/year of generation.

Energy Efficiency grants: For school district applicants, priority will be given to school districts that demonstrate improved health and safety through reduced exposure to PCBs, and replacing outdated heating systems that use oil or propane as fuel sources as identified by the Washington State University Extension Energy Program.

Solar grants: Preference will be given to projects with components manufactured in Washington.

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 144052

Estimated Size of Grant:

The maximum grant award is:

- Energy Efficiency projects: $500,000
- Solar projects: $350,000

Commerce will be using the following statewide average energy rates in determining the project’s simple payback:

- Electricity $0.0856/kWh
- Gas $0.818/therm
- Fuel Oil $2.04/gal
- Propane $1.05/gal
- Wood Pellets and other fuels, provide documentation of the commercial price available

- A total of $7,129,500 will be competitively awarded for Energy Efficiency Projects.
- A total of $1,697,500 will be competitively awarded for solar projects.

Term of Contract:

All projects must be completed within 18 months of execution of the grant agreement; however, extensions may be considered on a case-by-case basis.

All projects must enter into a contract for construction on or after award. Projects must not enter into a contract for construction prior to award.

For Energy Efficiency grants, the program allows the following maximum simple paybacks:

- 35 years for energy efficiency projects
- 20 years for lighting and municipal street lighting projects

For Solar grants, the maximum simple paybacks is 100 years.

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

Eligible Applicants are:

- Local agencies: Includes city and any town, county, special district, municipal corporation, agency, port district or authority, tribal government, or political subdivision of any type, or any other entity or authority of local government in corporate form or otherwise.
- Public higher education institutions
- School districts
- State agencies

Commerce will be using the list of small cities and towns determined annually by the Office of Financial Management (OFM) Applicants should reference the official April 1, 2018 Population Determination. (See the Population list in Supporting Documents below.)
Applicants must have current registration with the State’s Department of Revenue and Secretary of State, as applicable.

The legislation mandates that for the Energy Efficiency Funding:

- At least twenty percent (20%) be awarded to small cities or towns with a population of five thousand or fewer residents.
- The higher the leverage ratio of non-state funding sources to state grant, the higher the project ranking.
- The higher the energy savings, the higher the ranking.
- For school district applicants: Priority consideration must be given to school districts that demonstrate improve health and safety through reduced exposure to polychlorinated biphenyl, and replacing outstated heating systems that use oil or propane as fuel sources. Priority consideration must be given to applicants that have not received grant awards for this purpose in prior biennia.

State agencies may not submit applications for leased facilities. Local agencies and higher educational facilities may submit applications for leased facilities as long as there is a minimum 10-year lease from the time of the final Commerce grant payment.

This program is does not include new construction projects.

Community solar projects are not eligible.

Pre-Application Information:

Applications must be received by 5:00 PM (PST) on Monday, December 31, 2018.

Successful Applicants will be notified by close of business March 1, 2019.

The Final Q&A will be published on 12/28/2018. No questions will be accepted after 5:00PM on 12/26/2018.

Estimated Timeline:

- 9/13/2018 Application Opens
- 9/18/2018 Recorded webinar on the application process – 10:00AM – 12:00PM
- 9/21/2018 Frequently asked questions document updated/posted weekly
- 12/26/2018 Question Deadline (Questions submitted after 5PM on 12/26/2018 will not be answered.)
- 12/28/2018 Last FAQ Update (The Final FAQ will be published the morning of 12/28/2018)
- 12/31/2018 Application Closes
- 3/1/2019 Awardees and non-awardees notified
- March 2019 Debriefing Conferences

COMMERCE reserves the right to revise the above schedule.

Applicants may submit one project per application. They must submit Solar Projects and Energy Efficiency Projects separately on the appropriate application. Solar and energy efficiency grant applications will be scored separately.

If an Energy Efficiency project includes a solar installation, the solar costs and data must be deducted from the Energy Efficiency application and submitted as a solar application.

Appicants may submit applications under other Notices of Funding Opportunity; however, The Energy Division at the Department of Commerce will not make multiple awards for the same project.

For funds awarded from federal sources (ARRA), the following federal requirements will apply to your project. If the requirements are contradictory to the state requirements, the most stringent requirements apply. It is the applicant’s responsibility to ensure understanding and compliance, with all utility, local, state and federal requirements. It is the applicant’s responsibility to ensure that all subcontractors and consultants understand and comply with all requirements including, but not limited to:

- Active Registration through
- Buy American Provisions of the Recovery Act
- Presidential Executive Order on Buy American and Hire American
- Davis Bacon
- Historic Preservation
- National Environmental Policy Act

All contracts will be performance based, with payment made upon successful completion and commercial operation of the project.

Minimum Match Requirements:

- Small Cities and Towns, 33% of the total project cost (leverage ratio of 1:2)
- All others, 50% of the total project cost (leverage ratio of 1:1)

Energy Efficiency Leverage Goals:

Energy Efficiency projects will be scored on the leverage ratio of non-state funding sources to state grant. Projects will be scored based on a goal of 75% (leverage ratio of 3:1).

The NOFO Coordinator is the sole point of contact in COMMERCE for this grant application process. All communication between the Applicant and COMMERCE upon receipt of this NOFO shall be with the NOFO Coordinator, Dever Haffner-Ratliffe.

Webinar recording:

Contact Information:

Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.

Submit applications and address all questions to:

Dever Haffner-Ratliffe, NOFO Coordinator
P.O. Box 42525, Olympia WA 98504-2525
1011 Plum Street SE, Olympia WA 98504-2525
(Subject Line naming convention:
- For Energy Efficiency: _EE&S_Energy APP PKG
- For Solar: _EE&S_Solar APP PKG)

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: Washington

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