La Plata Electric Association recently announced the creation of a renewable-generation grants program to support area nonprofits and encourage new renewable-electricity generation projects.
To qualify for the grants, a nonprofit group must be an LPEA member in good standing and located in the co-op’s service area.
“Our board of directors is very enthusiastic about increasing distributed, renewable generation projects in La Plata and Archuleta counties,” said Ron Meier, manager of engineering and member relations at LPEA, in a news release. “Cost is often a barrier for our consumer-members, especially not-for-profits. For these organizations, a grant, such as this, is win-win because, by installing renewable generation, they will reduce their electric bills, enabling their valuable dollars to go to serving the community.”
Grants range from $5,000 to $40,000. LPEA anticipates it will grant a total of $40,000 for 2018. Preference will be given to projects that secure up to 50 percent in matching funds. It is also possible that partial grants will be awarded.
Funds will be distributed from the local renewable-generation fund, which allows members to contribute to the support and development of renewable generation projects in the area. The LPEA board of directors strives to give as much funding as possible back to the community to benefit its members.
“We ask that applicants request funds for a specific project,” said Dan Harms, manager of rates, technology and energy policy at LPEA, in the news release. “For example, installation of solar panels to provide electricity for a homeless shelter or a church, or something as small as solar panels on the dog kennels at our rescue locations, to keep the pups warm in the winter, or power a water pump at a nonprofit community garden.”
Applicants must provide documentation of nonprofit tax status and proof of easement or title to the property where the renewable generation project will be installed. Also, an engineering review is required to determine the system’s impact on the proposed location. The review can be conducted before or after the application is submitted but must be completed before grant funds are distributed.
“All renewable projects seeking interconnection with LPEA’s grid, be they individual homes or businesses, or now with this grant, must undergo an engineering review,” Meier said. “It’s purely to ensure that LPEA’s equipment and that section of our system can manage the new distributed generation load. We also want to help our consumer-members understand the nuances of producing their own electricity.”
The application deadline is Nov. 1.
To apply online, visit www.lpea.coop. For more information about the grant application process, call or email Jeannie Bennett at 382-3505 or firstname.lastname@example.org.