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Illinois Country Living


Get a Geothermal Grant
Grants still available for not-for-profits and public geothermal heat pump projects

Grants of up to $50,000 to fund geothermal heating and cooling projects in not-for-profit and public institutions served by Illinois electric cooperatives are still available. The grant funding is being offered through GeoAlliance, a unique venture between the Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation (ICECF) and the Association of Illinois Electric Cooperatives (AIEC) to further the education and proliferation of geothermal technology in rural areas.

The ICECF funded the program with a total of $1 million, and the AIEC acts as its administrator. The original Oct. 31 application deadline has been extended until Feb. 1, 2009, or until the remaining funds are depleted.

According to Nancy Nixon, Marketing Administrator at the Association of Illinois Electric Cooperative, “With energy costs on the rise, there has never been a better time to install geothermal technology than now. Geothermal heat pump systems use the earth’s natural energy and that’s why they are so efficient and so inexpensive to operate. In the summer, heat and humidity from inside a building is transferred into the earth through tubing in the ground. During the winter the process is reversed. Just a minimal amount of electricity is used to operate the circulating pumps, fans, controls and compressor, which along with the heat exchangers are the major components of the geothermal heat pump.”

Though geothermal systems typically cost more than standard heating/cooling systems, the quick payback and subsequent savings make the technology very attractive.

GeoAlliance grants fund one-third of the incremental difference between a standard fossil fuel furnace/air conditioning system and a geothermal system, up to $50,000 per grant.

To date, 29 projects have been funded or approved for funding and several others are awaiting approval. Some of the projects include a 130-ton system in the 60,000 sq. ft. temporary library storage facility at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, a 32-ton system in the Kaskaskia College Sports and Wellness Complex in Centralia and a 20-ton system in the 8,349 sq. ft. cancer wing of Sarah Bush Lincoln Health Center in Mattoon.

The GeoAlliance application process is basic by grant writing standards. It includes submitting a completed application, proof of 501 (c) (3) status tax exempt status, bids for a standard fossil fuel system (must be a minimum of 10 SEER) and a geothermal system, a full energy analysis completed by the bidding geothermal dealer, a description of the project, financing specifics and a summary of weekly and annual hours of use for programmed activities in the facility. An application would also need to include the scope of the project, the project timeline and estimated completion date. Eligible geothermal projects must be sized at 10 tons or greater.

The remaining GeoAlliance Grant funds are available on a first-come, first-serve basis. To download a GeoAlliance Grant application form, go to www.aiec.coop. On the Web site home page, under the Energy Efficiency button, double-click on the GeoAlliance button. The application and a list of criteria for applying and funded project profiles can be found there.

For questions about the program, contact Nancy Nixon at 217-241-7954.

© 2014 Illinois Country Living Magazine.
Association of Illinois Electric Cooperatives

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