Grant round is closed. Applications were due November 8.

Alternative landscaping equipment grant Q&A

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Q1: Is my project eligible?
A1: Any project that reduces emissions from 2-cycle gasoline engines used in landscaping by purchasing and using battery/electric-powered equipment will be considered, as long as the applicant is eligible. MPCA is encouraging a wide variety of organizations to apply with diverse projects.

Q2: Am I still eligible for a grant if I have received a previous grant?
A2: Yes, you remain eligible. However, if the MPCA has previously funded a similar project, the applicant should clearly show how the new project differs from that of the previously MPCA-funded project(s).

Q3: The RFP states that a business that has under 500 employees is eligible; does that include all of our facilities?
A3: That 500 number includes all facilities, operations, parent companies, etc. If a business is independently owned and operated (such as a franchise), only count the number of employees under that independently owned and operated operation.

Q4: May other sources of funds be used for the match?
A4: Some projects may exceed the maximum award amount available. The MPCA encourages these projects to consider the low-interest Small Business Loan program (www.pca.state.mn.us/smallbizloan). This program is available year-round. Additionally, if the applicant has secured other grant funding that may also be used for the applicant’s match funding.

Q5: May the required match be in-kind instead of cash?
A5: Matching funds may only be cash.

Q6: Do applicants need to go through a procurement process to come up with project costs?
A6: Applicants are not required to submit a bid with their application. However, a bid would be accepted with the application to assure projects costs are accurate. Keep in mind that projects are scored and evaluated based on the grant dollars requested and the emissions reductions the project will produce. Once grants are awarded, if they are between $10,000 and $24,000 they must be competitively awarded based on a minimum of two (2) verbal quotes or bids or awarded to a targeted vendor.

Q7: Do I have to turn in my existing, gas-powered equipment?
A7: Yes, existing, gas-powered equipment must be rendered inoperable and proof must be submitted with invoice materials for a grant reimbursement.

Q8: How do I calculate my emissions?
A8: The MPCA will calculate emission reductions with information provided in the grant application using this following calculator: File Handheld 2-cycle engine emissions calculator (p-sbap5-36)

Q9: How do I calculate my $/lb level to know what my points are on the Application Evaluation Score Sheet?
A9: Simply take the amount of grant funding being requested and divide by the annual pounds of VOCs being reduced through your project. For example, if a project is reducing 3,000 pounds VOCs and requesting $15,000, the $/lb would be $5/pound ($15,000 / 3,000 lbs) and receive 30 points on the scoring sheet. 

Q10: Does the organization size part of the “Application evaluation score sheet” apply to all eligible entities or just to a business?
A10: This scoring criteria applies to all eligible entities. For example, a business of 250 and a municipality of 250 will receive the same score.

Q11: Does everyone who applies for this grant need to submit the “Affidavit of Non-collusion” with the application materials?
A11: Yes. If this is not provided, MPCA staff will contact the applicant to supply this. If the applicant does not supply this the application will be deemed ineligible.

Q12: My MPCA Air Permit requires me to put certain pollution controls in my business. Can this grant help with those costs?
A12: No. This grant is only for the reduction of emissions from 2-cycle gasoline engines used in landscaping through the purchase and use of similar battery/electric-powered equipment. Projects that are required due to permit or other regulations are ineligible.

Q13: When will the grant funds be available to those awarded?
A13: Grant funding will be reimbursed upon completion of the project, once invoices and any needed documentation have been provided.

Q14: Is this grant applicable to replacing an existing gas-powered UTV used in landscaping work with a new electric-powered UTV?
A14: Any 2-cycle, gasoline-powered equipment used in landscaping operations that is being replaced with an equivalent battery- or electric-powered piece of equipment is eligible. (Updated 10/16/2019)

Q15: If I don’t have gas-powered items to replace; can I still get funding to match the cost of battery-operated machinery?
A15: No, applicants must replace equivalent gasoline-powered equipment in order to be eligible for this RFP.

Q16: Is there a maximum dollar limit or number of units that anyone applicant can apply for? Similarly, is there a maximum dollar limit or number of units that can be requested as part of any one project?
A16: The maximum grant request is $24,000. There is no maximum to the number of units an applicant can apply for. Each application is viewed as one project.

Q17: Can other state or federal funding sources be used as match funding for the grant application?
A17: Yes, other state and/or federal funding, outside of other MPCA funding, can be used as match funding for this RFP.

Q18: Can you elaborate on expectations for the Voter Registration Language?
A18: This is standard RFP language that comes from the state Office of Grants Management. The statute requires each state agency or community-based public agency or nonprofit corporation that contracts with the state agency to carry out obligations of the state agency to provide voter registration services for employees and the public.

Q19: Are State agencies eligible for this RFP?
A19: Yes, State agencies, other than the MPCA, are eligible for this RFP

Q20: I currently have a Stihl KombiMotor gasoline-powered tool. Can I scrap that and receive grant funding for a battery-operated version of one of the tools it is used for?
A20: Yes, gasoline-powered equipment with remaining life that is being scrapped for an equivalent battery- or electric-powered piece of equipment is eligible. In this case the motor component of the gasoline-powered tool would need to be rendered inoperable.

Q21: Can I include additional batteries and/or chargers as part of my grant project?
A21: Yes, batteries and chargers can be included as part of the grant project. You do not need to have an equivalent battery and/or charger to switch out for this portion of your project.

Q22: Can I apply for grant funding for equipment I have already purchased?
A22: Any expenses incurred before a grant is awarded and the contract is fully executed are not eligible for reimbursement.

Q23: How do I prove that my gasoline-powered equipment is inoperable?
A23: The method of rendering your gasoline-powered equipment inoperable can be determined by each grantee, so long as they are able to provide documented proof that the equipment is no longer operable. Previous grantees have provided documentation from a recycler, a receipt from a scrap yard, or provided a picture of the equipment with a hole drilled in the engine.

Q24: Can a public library apply for this grant?
A24: Businesses with under 500 employees, governmental agencies, educational institutions, nonprofits, and/or industry associations are eligible for this grant.