Society & Culture & Entertainment Writing

Grants for Funding Solar Energy

    • Grants can help advance the use of solar energy systems.Sun image by KPICKS from Fotolia.com

      As fossil fuel resources dwindle and the threat of global climate change looms, many are turning to renewable energy sources. Solar energy, or radiation from the sun, is a renewable resource. It can be converted into heat and electricity with solar photovoltaic cells, which capture the sun's rays in panels, and through concentrating solar power plants, which use solar thermal collectors to heat liquid, create steam and power generators. Federal, state and local government agencies provide grants to fund solar energy systems.

    Solar Energy Initiative

    • The National Science Foundation offers solar energy grants through its Solar Energy Initiative program. The program's goal is to "support interdisciplinary efforts by groups of researchers to address the scientific challenges of highly efficient harvesting, conversion and storage of solar energy," according to grant guidelines.

      Project proposals must include collaboration among at least three co-principal investigators, one each from the fields of chemistry, materials research and mathematical sciences. Proposals must connect the three fields in innovative ways to develop new approaches toward solar energy capture, transformation and storage. Universities and four-year colleges accredited in the United States are eligible to apply. The average grant amount is $500,000 per year over a three-year period.

      National Science Foundation

      4201 Wilson Blvd.

      Arlington, VA 22230

      703-292-8428

      nsf.gov

    Energy for Sustainability

    • The National Science Foundation offers grants through the Energy for Sustainability program. Grants fund environmentally sustainable projects that use renewable domestic resources to produce electricity. Preference is given to projects with an emphasis on using solar energy, including photovoltaic solar energy and bioenergy conversion.

      According to grant guidelines, while solar photovoltaic technology can "harvest and convert sunlight directly to electricity," much current technology employs toxic or non-recyclable materials. Proposals that include "environmentally benign materials and processes for photovoltaic devices" may receive preference. Grants average $100,000 per year for three years.

      National Science Foundation

      4201 Wilson Blvd.

      Arlington, VA 22230

      703-292-8320

      nsf.gov

    Solar Energy Grant Program

    • The Maryland Energy Administration offers grants through the Solar Energy Grant Program. The program gives two types of grants, solar photovoltaic and solar hot water. Solar photovoltaic grants provide $500 per kilowatt of electricity-generating capacity. Maximum awards are $10,000 for a 20-kilowatt-generating system. Solar hot water grants award up to 20 percent of the total cost of installing a solar hot water system, with a maximum award of $1,500. Maryland-based homeowners are eligible to apply.

      Maryland Energy Administration

      60 West St., Suite 300

      Annapolis, MD 21401

      410-260-7655

      energy.state.md.us

    Climate Smart Solar Grant

    • Boulder, Colorado, offers the Climate Smart Solar Grant program. Funds can be used to pay for installation of solar electric or thermal systems in the homes of people with low to moderate incomes, and on the sites of non-profit agencies. Grants generally award up to 50 percent of project costs, with average amounts ranging from $1,600 to $18,000. Grants are awarded in the form of reimbursement for installations. Grant applications must be submitted by March 15 or Aug. 15 each year.

      City of Boulder

      Local Environmental Action Division

      P.O. Box 791

      Boulder, CO 80306

      303-441-1914

      bouldercolorado.gov

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