U.S. Department of Treasury - Renewable Energy Grants

October 11, 2012


Note: The application window for this program closed September 30, 2012, and no new applications are being accepted. This summary appears for information purposes only. See the program web site for information on pending application processing, program statistics and other program details.
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (H.R. 1) allows taxpayers eligible for the federal business energy investment tax credit (ITC) to take this credit or to receive a grant from the U.S. Treasury Department instead of taking the business ITC for new installations. The new law also allows taxpayers eligible for the renewable electricity production tax credit (PTC) to receive a grant from the U.S. Treasury Department instead of taking the PTC for new installations. (It does not allow taxpayers eligible for the residential renewable energy tax credit to receive a grant instead of taking this credit.) Taxpayers may not use more than one of these incentives. Tax credits allowed under the ITC with respect to progress expenditures on eligible energy property will be recaptured if the project receives a grant. The grant is not included in the gross income of the taxpayer. This grant cannot be taken for systems where construction began after December 31, 2011.
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (H.R. 1), enacted in February 2009, created a renewable energy grant program that is administered by the U.S. Department of Treasury. This cash grant may be taken in lieu of the federal business energy investment tax credit (ITC). In July 2009 the Department of Treasury issued documents detailing guidelines for the grants, terms and conditions and a sample application. There is an online application process, and applications are currently being accepted. See the US Department of Treasury program web site for more information, including answers to frequently asked questions and program guidance. The Treasury also maintains a list of award recipients on the website. The Department of Treasury has also filed a sample form that recipients of the grant must fill out each year to avoid recapture. Grants are available to eligible property* placed in service in 2009, 2010 or 2011 or placed in service by the specified credit termination date,** if construction began in 2009, 2010 or 2011. Originally, this program was only available to systems placed in service in 2009 or 2010 or where construction began in 2009 or 2010, but Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act of 2010 (H.R. 4853), signed in December 2010, extended the program through 2011. The guidelines include a "safe harbor" provision that sets the beginning of construction at the point where the applicant has incurred or paid at least 5% of the total cost of the property, excluding land and certain preliminary planning activities. Generally, construction begins when "physical work of a significant nature" begins. Below is a list of important program details as they apply to each different eligible technology.
  • Solar. The grant is equal to 30% of the basis of the property for solar energy. Eligible solar-energy property includes equipment that uses solar energy to generate electricity, to heat or cool (or provide hot water for use in) a structure, or to provide solar process heat. Passive solar systems and solar pool-heating systems are not eligible. Hybrid solar-lighting systems, which use solar energy to illuminate the inside of a structure using fiber-optic distributed sunlight, are eligible.

  • Fuel Cells. The grant is equal to 30% of the basis of the property for fuel cells. The grant for fuel cells is capped at $1,500 per 0.5 kilowatt (kW) in capacity. Eligible property includes fuel cells with a minimum capacity of 0.5 kW that have an electricity-only generation efficiency of 30% or higher.

  • Small Wind Turbines. The grant is equal to 30% of the basis of the property for small wind turbines. Eligible small wind property includes wind turbines up to 100 kW in capacity.

  • Qualified Facilities. The grant is equal to 30% of the basis of the property for qualified facilities that produce electricity. Qualified facilities include wind energy facilities, closed-loop biomass facilities, open-loop biomass facilities, geothermal energy facilities, landfill gas facilities, trash facilities, qualified hydropower facilities, and marine and hydrokinetic renewable energy facilities.

  • Geothermal Heat Pumps. The grant is equal to 10% of the basis of the property for geothermal heat pumps.

  • Microturbines. The grant is equal to 10% of the basis of the property for microturbines. The grant for microturbines is capped at $200 per kW of capacity. Eligible property includes microturbines up to two megawatts (MW) in capacity that have an electricity-only generation efficiency of 26% or higher.

  • Combined Heat and Power (CHP). The grant is equal to 10% of the basis of the property for CHP. Eligible CHP property generally includes systems up to 50 MW in capacity that exceed 60% energy efficiency, subject to certain limitations and reductions for large systems. The efficiency requirement does not apply to CHP systems that use biomass for at least 90% of the system's energy source, but the grant may be reduced for less-efficient systems.

It is important to note that only tax-paying entities are eligible for this grant. Federal, state and local government bodies, non-profits, qualified energy tax credit bond lenders, and cooperative electric companies are not eligible to receive this grant. Partnerships or pass-thru entities for the organizations described above are also not eligible to receive this grant, except in cases where the ineligible party only owns an indirect interest in the applicant through a taxable C corporation. Grant applications must be submitted before October 1, 2012. The U.S. Treasury Department will make payment of the grant within 60 days of the grant application date or the date the property is placed in service, whichever is later.


* Definitions of eligible property types and renewable technologies can be found in the U.S. Code, Title 26, § 45 and § 48.
** Credit termination date of January 1, 2013, for wind; January 1, 2014, for closed-loop biomass, open-loop biomass, landfill gas, trash, qualified hydropower, marine and hydrokinetic; January 1, 2017, for fuel cells, small wind, solar, geothermal, microturbines, CHP and geothermal heat pumps.

Program Overview

Implementing Sector: Federal
Category: Financial Incentive
State: Federal
Incentive Type: Grant Program
Web Site: http://www.treasury.gov/initiatives/recovery/Pages/1603.aspx
Administrator: U.S. Department of Treasury
Start Date: 01/01/2009
Eligible Renewable/Other Technologies:
  • Solar Water Heat
  • Solar Space Heat
  • Geothermal Electric
  • Solar Thermal Electric
  • Solar Thermal Process Heat
  • Solar Photovoltaics
  • Wind (All)
  • Biomass
  • Hydroelectric
  • Geothermal Heat Pumps
  • Municipal Solid Waste
  • Combined Heat & Power
  • Fuel Cells using Non-Renewable Fuels
  • Landfill Gas
  • Tidal
  • Wave
  • Ocean Thermal
  • Wind (Small)
  • Fuel Cells using Renewable Fuels
  • Microturbines
Incentive Amount: 30% of property that is part of a qualified facility, qualified fuel cell property, solar property, or qualified small wind property
10% of all other property
Maximum Incentive: $1,500 per 0.5 kW for qualified fuel cell property
$200 per kW for qualified microturbine property
50 MW for CHP property, with limitations for large systems


Name: H.R. 1: Div. B, Sec. 1104 & 1603
Date Enacted: 2/17/2009
Effective Date: 1/1/2009
Name: U.S. Department of Treasury: Placed in Service Guidance
Date Enacted: 07/09/2009, subsequently amended
Name: H.R. 4853
Date Enacted: 12/17/2010
Name: U.S. Department of Treasury: Begun Construction Guidance
Date Enacted: 07/09/2009, subsequently amended


Name: Grant Information
Email: 1603Questions@do.treas.gov

This information is sourced from DSIRE; the most comprehensive source of information on incentives and policies that support renewables and energy efficiency in the United States. Established in 1995, DSIRE is operated by the N.C. Clean Energy Technology Center at N.C. State University.