Types of Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Grants for Businesses and How to Apply for Them

Factory that has been upgraded using energy grants for businesses

By: Micki Vandeloo, President, Lakeview Consulting

With a national focus on clean energy and zero emission initiatives, it is not surprising that the number of sources of grants for renewable energy and energy efficiency grants has dramatically increased at the state and federal level.  However, there are also some long-standing programs to help fund manufacturing renewable energy and energy efficiency investments.  Here are some examples of the variety of grants to support these projects by funding source and be sure to subscribe to the Manufacturing Grants Database to see all grant opportunities at the state and federal level!

Utility Company Incentive Programs

Many states provide funding to large utilities to incentivize energy efficiency projects undertaken by manufacturers. Many manufacturers don’t know this funding is available and don’t take advantage of it.


  • Ameren Illinois and Missouri Business Energy Savings Programs – Industrial customers can access incentives for LED lighting, HVAC, compressed air, motor controls, refrigeration and more.
  • Duke Energy’s Smart Saver Rebates and Incentives (North Carolina, South Carolina, Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana, and Florida) – This utility incentivizes lighting upgrades, HVAC projects, industrial equipment purchases and provides custom incentive funding for larger projects that combine a variety of energy efficiency investments.

State Energy Efficiency/Renewable Energy Programs

While some state agencies, such as those in California, have had long-standing programs to help manufacturers purchase and install energy efficiency/renewable energy, many more states have now gotten on this bandwagon to meet aggressive emission reduction policies.


  • Kentucky New Ventures Fund – The Kentucky New Energy Venture Fund (KNEV) supports the development and commercialization of alternative fuel and renewable energy products, processes, and services in Kentucky.
  • Arkansas Level 2 EVSE Rebate ProgramThe Level 2 Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment (EVSE) Reimbursement Rebate Program provides rebates for the installation of Level 2 electric vehicle charging stations and is open to government, private, and non-profit entities across the state on a “first-come, first-serve” basis.
  • Hawaii Diesel Replacement Rebate (DRR) – The Diesel Replacement Rebate (DRR) program provides rebates for the replacement of medium- and heavy-duty diesel vehicles with new, battery-electric equivalents.

Federal Energy Efficiency/Renewable Energy Programs

As has been heavily publicized, the federal government has invested billions of dollars into reducing carbon emissions and installing energy efficient and renewable energy equipment, particularly for industrial facilities, which are some of the biggest sources of carbon emissions.

Now that you know about the sources of funding, how do you best access these grants?  Here are some tips for those interested in applying for funding.

  • Read the funding documents/websites carefully. Make sure you are eligible to apply for funding and that your project qualifies.  Make sure to read any Requests for Proposal or Funding Opportunity Announcement documents carefully.  If you are interested in USDA funding, first make sure your plant is in a qualified area.
  • Provide enough “runway” to apply for and receive notification of funding prior to purchase of equipment or vehicles. If you plan to purchase any renewable energy or energy efficient equipment or vehicles, make sure you apply for the funding well in advance of the purchase to allow time for the funder to make its decision on award.  With the exception of rebate programs, you will not be able to get funding to support equipment you have already purchased.
  • Utilize the resources available to help you with applications. Many utility companies have Business Advisors that help manufacturers navigate the application process.  You can contact them directly through the utility website.  In addition, local USDA offices and government funding agencies have knowledgeable staff that can help you figure out if funding is right for your project.

 If you are planning to install energy efficient or renewable energy equipment, I hope this article has convinced you to at least check with state and federal programs or with your local utility to see if a portion of your investment can be funded.  It will be time well spent!

Free Download: The Complete Manufacturer's Gudie to Grant Funding

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