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States Fund Renewable Energy Projects

Sixteen states have taken the lead in funding for renewable energy projects through tax and production incentives, rebates, grants, and loans.

June/July 09

A focus of the Obama administration has been to promote the usage of renewable energy (i.e., alternative energy generation including solar, wind, fuel cell, geothermal, tidal, etc.). The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (Stimulus Bill) passed and signed in February 2009 directed considerable federal government funds to stimulate activity in this area. The Department of Energy (DOE) apportionment stemming from the Stimulus Bill is listed in the interactive table above. The bill authorized $16.8 billion in funds, of which $756 million has been awarded as of May 2009. In order to move these funds into the economy quickly, it apportioned much of the funds to the states for funding existing programs.

The table lists the top 16 state incentive programs for corporate (commercial and industrial) activities to build and upgrade facilities, purchase and install renewable energy machinery and equipment, and generate electricity via renewables. Companies that are expanding, relocating, or considering upgrading existing facilities may take advantage of these programs in order to obtain a cleaner energy footprint, reduce dependence on foreign energy sources, and take control of their energy costs.

To be included in the table, incentives must be available throughout the state. There may be, however, local property tax abatements that have been passed at the state level, yet must be authorized by each locale within; these are noted as "Local Option." Several states - including California, Connecticut, and Massachusetts - have initiated programs via an electrical usage surcharge to provide sustained, ongoing funds for renewable energy projects. Many local governments and utilities within states have special programs for their own markets, including California (i.e., Los Angeles Water and Power Department, Sonoma County, etc.) and Florida (Lakeland and Miami-Dade counties, and cities including Gainesville, Orlando, and Tallahassee) to name only a few. Depending upon project location, these may augment statewide and federal programs.

The table does not contain incentives to attract renewable companies into states. The table also does not include incentives directed to farms, governmental entities and institutions, homebuilders, installers, residential developers, non-profits, research and development, and schools. Please review individual programs for requirements, timing, and funding availability.

Richard Greene advises on renewable energy strategy and programs for corporate entities as part of location strategy, and with governments and developers on opportunities for green urban renewal. In addition, he has worked domestically and internationally with renewable energy companies on location strategy and funding since 2000.

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