Grant closed. Applications due May 29.

Grants for solvent and coating emission reductions: Questions and answers

Applicants who have any questions regarding this RFP must email questions to grants.pca@state.mn.us, subject line: “Solvent and Coating Emission Reductions grant question.”

Answers to questions will be posted here frequently.

Q1: Is my project eligible?
A1: Projects that include the purchase and use of alternative solvent or coating products and related equipment that result in lower VOC emissions are eligible.

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. Additionally, 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 using eligible products and/or equipment is eligible for this grant. Projects must include the purchase and use of alternative finishing products and/or equipment that results in lower VOC emissions.

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: My proposed project is well over the $3,000 maximum grant. Should I only list the portion of my project that fits within the grant dollar limits?
A9: While the awarded grant maximum is $3,000, applicants are encouraged to include all project details, including all products and equipment, as part of their application.

Q10: Is there a timeframe from when the conversion had to have been completed by?
A10: The conversion must be completed in full before the end date of the grant agreement. This date is determined by MPCA staff during the draft period of the grant agreements.

Q11: In the process of converting, already converted, converted 12 years ago? Does anyone fall into this category?
A11: The funding is for conversions that will happen after being awarded a grant and executing a grant agreement. Work that has already occurred is ineligible for funding.

Q12: I have an auto repair shop and use solvents to clean parts. Who can help me find alternative solvents with lower VOCs?
A12: The Minnesota Technical Assistance Program (MnTAP) provides no-cost technical assistance to help businesses reduce waste and has information on pollution prevention opportunities, such as alternative solvents, for a variety of industries: 612-624-1300 or e-mail at mntap@umn.eduYou may also contact Michelle Gage (MnTAP) at mcgage@umn.edu

Q13: How do I fill out the grant request and matching funds section in the application?
A13: Examples of how to fill out the section for [Grant amount request/matching funds/total project cost]: 

  • If a paint gun costs $500 and the paint gun is the whole extent of your project costs, you would need to match dollar for dollar what you’re requesting. Your match must be for at least 50% of the total project cost. You could request $250 and match $250.
  • For a more expensive project, like converting a paint booth, that costs $50,000. You could request the grant maximum of $3,000 and match $47,000.

Q14: I recently purchased equipment that could qualify. Am I eligible for the grant?
A14: No: Equipment purchased before the grant contract is fully executed would not be eligible. The Request for Proposals includes this as ineligible costs: “Any expenses incurred before the contract is fully executed including applicant’s expense for preparing the eligibility and cost applications or any expenses incurred during work plan application and final work plan development.”

Q15: Wondering about eligibility for UV curing technology, thinner recycler, infrared curing technology, and updated paint guns with better transfer efficiency.
A15: While recyclers do have environmental benefits, they don’t lead to VOC reduction at the facility and would therefore not be eligible. UV curing and infrared technology are eligible if they lead to a reduction of VOC emissions at the facility. The RFP states (page 2): “Eligible projects include the purchase of equipment that reduces the use of VOC-containing solvents or coatings and/or of alternative solvent or coating product(s) which result in lower VOC emissions.”