How US businesses can access federal stimulus money

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Courtesy of Energy Efficiency Markets LLC

I thought that “federal stimulus” would be high on Google’s hit list. But alas, when I checked its analysis of hot trends yesterday, I discovered that “Rockin’ Robin” is number one.

Thanks to American Idol this 1950s song dominates the search engine. Bringing more music to the ears of business owners, however, is the $20 billion made available for energy efficiency through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. While it is easy to find information about homeowner opportunities (www.energystar.gov), it is difficult to ferret out how Joe-business USA can take advantage of the act’s benefits.

I did, however, find a few valuable sources. Linked-in brought me to a paper by law firm K&L Gates that advises companies with early stage projects on how to apply for money. The paper focuses on renewable energy, but also touches on efficiency, and includes guidance on how to approach government fund managers. Applicants need to make the case that their projects are “game changing” to win priority. They also must be “shovel-ready” – able to begin in 90 days.

Energytaxincentives.org, a coalition of public interest groups, offers detailed information on existing incentives for commercial buildings, appliance manufacturers and combined heat and power. But the site appears to be still updating to include the ARRA, not surprising considering how many funding details are yet to be worked out, particularly at the state level.

The old standby, Dsireusa.org, is quickly updating information to include ARRA offerings. Those who manufacture certain energy saving and renewable energy products will find details about the 30% tax credit at the site. The program offers $2.3 billion in credits for projects certified by the US Treasury. Preference will go to those projects that are commercially viable, and are best at producing jobs, reducing air pollution, deploying commercial technology and getting off the ground quickly. The Treasury also will look at the applicant’s costs for generating energy, saving energy or reducing greenhouse gases. Additional guidelines will be available in August.

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