Energy and Green Incentives

V Small Business Administration Information

US Department of Energy (DOE)

DOE has numerous grant opportunities for energy businesses in the areas of energy research, energy efficiency and renewable energy. Grant deadlines for programs vary.

Department of Treasury Renewable Energy Investment Tax Credit

This program provides tax credits on the installation of alternative energy systems. Eligibility: bioenergy, commercial heating and cooling, manufacturing, alternative fuel vehicles, hydrogen and fuel cells, water, wind, solar, weatherization, heating and cooling, water heating.

Business Energy Investment Tax Credit & Renewable Electricity Production Tax Credit

Businesses that install new electricity-generating renewable energy systems after December 31, 2008 can choose the federal energy investment tax credit or the federal production tax credit. The Energy-Efficient Commercial Buildings Tax Deduction Program provides a federal tax deduction for installation of interior lighting, building envelopes or heating and cooling systems to achieve energy savings.

Energy-Efficient Commercial Buildings Tax Deduction

The Energy-Efficient Commercial Buildings Tax Deduction Program provides a federal tax deduction for installation of interior lighting, building envelopes or heating and cooling systems to achieve energy savings.

Fuel Cell Motor Vehicle Tax Credit

A federal tax credit of up to $4,000 is available for consumers who purchase a qualified light-duty fuel cell vehicle.

Qualified Plug-In Electric Drive Motor Vehicle Tax Credit

A federal tax credit between $2,500 and $7,500 is available for consumers who purchase a new, qualified plug-in electric drive motor vehicle after December 31, 2009.

Property Tax Exclusion For Solar Energy Systems

California provides property tax exclusion for certain types of solar energy systems installed on “new construction” between January 1, 1999 and December 31, 2016.

Go Solar California

Go Solar California is a state energy campaign that builds on over 10 years of solar rebates offered to customers that fall within California’s three investor-owned utility territories: Pacific Gas & Electric; Southern California Edison and San Diego Gas & Electric. For more detail see the Utility Incentive section of this report.

Electric Vehicle Charging Station Program

The Electric Vehicle Charging Station program through CalCAP, provides finance incentives to both lenders and borrowers for the purchase and installation of electric vehicle charging stations at California businesses. CalCAP provides rebates to borrowers who participate, and may provide lenders with up to 100% coverage on certain loan defaults.

Energy Efficiency Financing Program

The California Energy Commission provides loans on projects that have proven energy and/or capacity savings.

California Energy Commission Alternative and Renewable Fuel and Vehicle Technology Program

Also established by the California Alternative and Renewable Fuel, Vehicle Technology, Clean Air, and Carbon Reduction Act of 2007, the Energy Commission Alternative and Renewable Fuel and Vehicle Technology Program has an annual program budget of approximately $100 million to support projects (through grants, loans, loan guarantees, revolving loans, etc.) that:

  • Develop and improve alternative and renewable low-carbon fuels
  • Optimize alternative and renewable fuels for existing and developing engine technologies
  • Produce alternative and renewable low-carbon fuels in California
  • Decrease, on a full fuel cycle basis, the overall impact and carbon footprint of alternative and renewable fuels and increase sustainability
  • Expand fuel infrastructure, fueling stations, and equipment
  • Improve light-, medium-, and heavy-duty vehicle technologies
  • Retrofit medium- and heavy-duty on-road and non-road vehicle fleets
  • Expand infrastructure connected with existing fleets, public transit, and transportation corridors
  • Establish workforce training programs, conduct public education and promotion, and create technology center


Self-Generation Incentive Program (SGIP)

SGIP is a peak-load reduction program that incentivizes the development and commercialization of new, existing and emerging distributed energy resources by providing rebates for qualified distributed energy systems installed on the customer’s side of the utility meter. Eligibility for participation in the SGIP is now based on greenhouse gas emissions reductions. Eligible technologies include wind turbines, fuel cells, organic rankine cycle/waste heat capture, pressure reduction turbines, advanced energy storage, and combined heat and power gas turbines, micro-turbines, and internal combustion engines. The program no longer supports solar photovoltaic technologies – these were moved under the purview of the California Solar Initiative in 2006.

California Air Resources Board Air Quality Improvement Program

The Air Quality Improvement Program— established by the California Alternative and Renewable Fuel, Vehicle Technology, Clean Air, and Carbon Reduction Act of 2007—is a voluntary incentive program administered by the California Air Resources Board to fund clean vehicle and equipment projects, research on biofuels production and the air quality impacts of alternative fuels, and workforce training. Currently, the California Air Resources Board offers the following Air Quality Improvement Programs:

Energy Innovations Small Grant Program

The Energy Innovations Small Grant (EISG) Program provides up to $95,000 for hardware projects and $50,000 for modeling projects to small businesses, non-profits, individuals and academic institutions to conduct research that establishes the feasibility of new, innovative energy concepts.

Research projects must target one of the specified R&D areas, address a California energy problem and provide a potential benefit to California electric and natural gas ratepayers.

Electric Program Investment Charge (EPIC)

EPIC is the state’s premier energy research, development and deployment program for the advancement of science and technology in the fields of energy efficiency, renewable energy, advanced electricity technologies, energy related environmental protection, transmission and distribution, as well as transportation technologies.

Self-Generation Incentive Program

The California Public Utilities Commission Self Generation Incentive Program provides up-front and performance-based incentives for technologies that achieve greenhouse gas emission reductions and serve a project’s on-site electric load.

Alternative & Renewable Fuel and Vehicle Technology Program

This program provides financial incentives (as much as $100 million annually through competitive grants, loans, loan guarantees, revolving loans, and other appropriate measures or means) for businesses, vehicle and technology manufacturers, workforce training partners, fleet owners, consumers and academic institutions to develop and deploy alternative and renewable fuels, as well as advanced transportation technologies that help the state meet its policy objectives on climate change.

Hybrid & Zero Emission Truck and Bus Voucher Incentive Project (HVIP)

The Incentive Project is designed to accelerate California’s deployment of new hybrid and zero-emission trucks and buses. Air Resources Board (ARB) has teamed with CALSTART to implement this first-come, first-served program. The HVIP Implementation Manual defines the roles and responsibilities of ARB, CALSTART, vehicle dealers and vehicle purchasers in project implementation. ARB must approve hybrid truck and bus models for them to become eligible for the program. This program is a component of the AB118 program.

The Air Quality Improvement Program / Clean Rebate Projects

Clean Rebate Project is intended to encourage and accelerate zero emission vehicle deployment and technology innovation. Rebates range from $900 for zero-emission motorcycles and neighborhood electric vehicles to $1,500 for plug-in hybrid electric vehicles and $2,500 for full function zero emission vehicles.

The Carl Moyer Memorial Air Quality Standards Attainment Program

This program provides grant funding for cleaner-than-required engines and equipment. Grants are administered by local air quality management districts. The program focuses on cleaning the air by replacing older heavy-duty diesels with electric, alternative-fuel, or cleaner diesel technologies.

Loan Assistance for California Equipment Program

The California Air Resources Board has developed innovative financing programs to provide fleet owners, particularly small business owners, easier access to loan opportunities. The ARB’s loan programs offer several options to increase financing accessibility including loans, loan guarantees and other mechanisms to assist industries affected by ARB regulations.

Pollution Control Tax-Exempt Bond Financing Program

The California Pollution Control financing Authority (CPCFA) provides tax-exempt bond financing for pollution control projects. The Tax-Exempt Bond Financing Program provides California businesses assistance with acquisition or construction of qualified pollution control, waste disposal, waste recovery facilities and the acquisition and installation of new equipment.

As a “conduit issuer” of tax-exempt private activity bonds, CPCFA is able to facilitate low cost financing to qualified waste and recycling projects. Projects that control pollution may qualify for tax-exempt financing as allowed by federal tax law. Examples of recent assistance include projects to purchase clean-air vehicles by waste companies, recyclers of used oil, animal waste conversions to clean burning fuel, and construction and demolition debris recycling programs.

CPCFA works with participating financial institutions to assist small business with loans of up to $2.5 million. CPCFA also assists with the clean-up of contaminated sites through a $60 million grant and loan program as well as a site-assessment loan program.

Recycling Market Development Zones Revolving Loan Program

The Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle) administers a Recycling Market Development Zone (RMDZ) Loan Program to encourage recycling businesses located within California to locate new manufacturing facilities as well as expand existing operations. The program provides low-interest rate loans for the purchase of equipment and qualifying business expenses.

Beverage Container Recycling Grants (CalRecycle)

CalRecycle provides grant funding to projects that implement new or enhance existing programs that provide convenient beverage container recycling opportunities in various locations statewide. Eligible projects include: bars and restaurants, colleges, universities, schools, community events, entertainment and hospitality venues, fitness centers, multifamily dwellings, office buildings, parks and recreational areas as well as sporting complexes and facilities. The program provides up to $100,000 for preliminary endangerment assessments and up to $2.5 million for clean up or removal of hazardous waste for redevelopment.

Cleanup Loans and Environmental Assistance to Neighborhoods (CLEAN) Loan Program

The Cleanup Loans and Environmental Assistance to Neighborhoods Loan Program provides low interest rate loans to finance environmental assessments and hazardous waste cleanup activities of designated Brownfields and underutilized urban properties.

Brownfields Revolving Loan Fund Program

This program provides low-interest rate loans between $200,000 and $900,000 for financing cleanup activities of sites by eligible public or private property owners including government agencies, private property owners as well as non-profit organizations.

Multi-Family Affordable Solar Housing Program (MASH)

The MASH Program is overseen by the California Public Utilities Commission and provides incentives to qualifying affordable housing within the service territories of Pacific Gas & Electric Company (PG&E), Southern California Edison Company (SCE), and San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E). MASH provides fixed, up front, capacity-based incentives for qualifying solar energy systems. The amount of the incentive depends on which Track (1C or 1D) the applicant is eligible for.

Single-Family Affordable Solar Housing Program (SASH)

The CSI Single-family Affordable Solar Housing (SASH) Program provides fully subsidized 1 kW systems to very low-income households, and highly subsidized systems to other low-income households. GRID Alternatives, a non-profit solar organization, manages the $108 million SASH Program overseen by the CPUC.

Property Assessed Clean Energy Programs (PACE)

Within Energy Upgrade California, several (PACE) programs have appeared at the local level for commercial projects, allowing commercial property owners to fund energy efficiency projects over time on their property tax bill.

Natural Gas Rate Reduction – SoCalGas

Southern California Gas Company offers natural gas at discounted rates to customers fueling natural gas vehicles.

Natural Gas Rate Reduction – Southern California Edison

Southern California Edison offers a discounted rate to customers for electricity used to charge EVs. Two rate schedules are available for EV charging during on- and off-peak hours.

Coulomb Technologies ChargePoint America

Program offers electric vehicle supply equipment (i.e., chargers) at no cost to individuals or entities in the Los Angeles metropolitan area. To be eligible for a public or commercial charging system, an entity must be located within the specified metropolitan areas and in “high use” areas, and provide public access to the charging system. Companies and municipalities may apply on the ChargePoint America Web site. Some utilities will provide funding towards installation costs.

ECOtality, The EV Project

Through the EV Project, ECOtality offers electric vehicle supply equipment at no cost to individuals in the Los Angeles metropolitan area. To be eligible for free home charging stations, individuals living within the specified areas must purchase a qualified electric vehicle. The EV Project incentive program will also cover most, if not all, installation costs.