Grant round closed April 8.

Grant for wood and metal finishing operations Q&A

Applicants with questions regarding this RFP must email questions to grants.pca@state.mn.us, subject line: “Wood and metal finishing operations question”

Questions and answers will be posted here frequently during the application period.

Q1: Is my project eligible?
A1: Any project that includes the purchase and use of alternative finishing products that result in lower VOC and HAP emissions. The finishing products must be applied to wood, wood composites, or metal substrates; incidental coating of plastics with the same finishing product is allowed.

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: In order to be eligible you must be either:

  • A for-profit business with under 500 employees, which 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.
  • A governmental entity, educational institution, or non-profit organization with any number of employees.

Q4: May other sources of funds be used for the match?
A4: Match funding may be cash, in-kind, loans, or other grants. 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.

Q5: Does the organization size part of the “Application evaluation score sheet” apply to all eligible entities or just to a business?
A5: This scoring criteria applies to all eligible entities. For example, a business of 250 and a municipality of 250 will receive the same score.

Q6: Does everyone who applies for this grant need to submit the “Affidavit of Non-collusion” with the application materials?
A6: 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.

Q7: Is the auto body sector (shops reducing VOCs through converting from solvent to waterborne paints and materials) eligible under this grant?
A7: Any business whose finishing operations are integral to the manufacturing of final saleable products are eligible. Projects must include the purchase and use of alternative finishing products that result in lower VOC and HAP emissions. The finishing products must be applied to wood, wood composites, or metal substrates; incidental coating of plastics with the same finishing product is allowed.

Q8: Can a non-profit entity registered as a vendor in SWIFT apply on behalf of grant applicants?
A8: In order to be eligible, finishing operations must be integral to the manufacturing of final saleable products of the applicant organization.

Q9: Do you happen to know what the timing of potential projects should be? Or would that be worked out during the grant agreement? We are evaluating some alternate coatings technologies, but there are timing considerations for fixed asset purchases and a potential install might get pushed out to 2021.
A9: All grant funding must be spent by June 2021.

Q10: We apply a few hundred different/custom colors each year, each color having different a density, VOC % and HAP %. We have been using an alternative product that we would like to use more of but needs to be formulated each time a new color is selected, therefore knowing what “future state” looks like is difficult to quantify as SDS sheets or chemical composition hasn’t been determined.   Can we use an average or historical data to predict what the benefit would be?

A10: In this situation it is recommended to do the following:
In Step 2 on the emissions calculator, for each manufacturer product line proposed for alternative use, the business should:

  • Provide a representative sample of SDSs from custom colors previously used or known (Option A), OR
  • Provide an SDS for the alternative manufacturer product line's base (prior to color addition) (Option B)

And

  • A 'worst-case' representation should be provided in a separate row to account for future custom colors or color additions in the product line. The 'worst-case' identifies the highest anticipated pollutant content among future colors. The best way to represent the worst-case when custom colors will vary in density is to provide the VOC and HAP total content in pounds of pollutant per gallon of product (lb/gallon).

It is recommended for the applicant to explain on the grant application how the alternative material is being represented.
If more than one manufacturer product line or product base is being proposed, the business should repeat the above process for each.