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Tennessee Solar Institute announces $14.5M for second round of grants

Tennessee Solar Institute (TSI) announced late yesterday it is seeking grant applications for $14.5 million in incentives for solar innovation projects that encourage the development of Tennessee's solar industry. The Solar Innovation Grant Program is the second grant opportunity available through the $23.5 million Solar Opportunity Fund.

Solar Innovation grants are available to qualifying Tennessee solar industry firms seeking financial assistance to help strengthen their offerings to the solar industry as well as improve energy efficiency in their place of operations.

"The purpose of the Solar Innovation Grant Program is to advance Tennessee's competitive advantage in the solar industry," said Director of Programs for Tennessee Solar InstituteJohn Sanseverino, in a press release. "Reducing energy usage and increasing energy efficiency in the workplace is also a major emphasis of the program."

Eligible applicants include qualified for-profit firms, working in or seeking to expand business in the solar industry in Tennessee. To apply, a business must submit a proposal defining how grant funds will be used to advance the solar industry through various process improvements and/or training opportunities.

Applicants with approved proposals may be awarded up to $500,000 in grant funds, depending on project category. 

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Applications for the Solar Innovation grant must be received by the Tennessee Solar Institute no later than September 24, 2010.  Detailed information and application materials for the Solar Innovation Grant Program are available on the TSI website.

TSI will accept proposals for grant funding in the following categories:  

Technical Assistance - Applicants will obtain tools and resources needed to implement sustainable clean energy programs in their place of operation.
Workforce Development - Applicants will participate in workforce development projects that include education and training programs related to the manufacturing, sale, installation and maintenance of solar systems and equipment.
Renewable Energy Products Integration - Applicants will incorporate renewable energy products in their place of operation with the intent of reducing green house gases and energy consumption. These improvements also demonstrate commercially-available renewable energy technologies to potential customers.
Process Improvements - Applicants will integrate manufacturing process improvements that increase overall efficiency and productivity.
Technology Improvements - Applicants will incorporate changes in manufacturing operations by adding new technologies and methods that speed the deployment of products and create opportunities for entry into new markets.
Facilities and Equipment Improvements - Applicants will reduce energy consumption through traditional energy efficiency retrofits by upgrading facilities and installing energy-efficient equipment.

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