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Each week seems to include the announcement of a new prong of federal or state response to the economic downturn. The multitude of stimulus benefits can become confusing, even in particular stimulus areas such as incentives to go green. To help navigate these green benefits, the Database of State Incentives for Renewable Energy (DSIRE) offers an invaluable map of federal, state and municipal incentives for both renewable energy use and energy efficiency.
DSIRE is a project of the North Carolina Solar Center and the Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC), funded by the U.S. Department of Energy. It updates its database of green incentives regularly, including those added by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.
When searching state and federal incentives, here are some areas to look for possible benefits for small businesses.
Tax Deductions and Credits: These include deductions for energy efficient commercial buildings, deductions for depreciation of certain renewable energy related equipment, and expanded tax credits for using a variety of renewable energy sources to power your business.
Loan Programs and Grants: Federal, and some state governments have enacted grant programs to help fund the purchase of solar and other renewable energy producing equipment. Some municipalities also offer loan programs to help connect small businesses with loan programs designed specifically to fund investment in the long term savings of renewable.
Green Building Incentives: Many municipalities offer incentives (such as fee waivers, fast-tracking of permitting, and others) for construction projects that incorporate renewable energy use into building design.
For more information, see DSIRE's compilation of federal incentives, and DSIRE's compilation of incentives in your state.