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FY21 Low-to-Moderate Income Energy Efficiency Grant

 

LMI header.PNG 
UPDATE: Governor Larry Hogan issued an executive order​ on March 12th mandating teleworking for non-essential state employees across all state agencies in response to COVID-19.  The staff of the Maryland Energy Administration (MEA) has been preparing for this possibility and will continue working to serve Marylanders. During this time, MEA program staff can be reached most directly via email and will be monitoring the dedicated email for this program lmireports.mea@maryland.gov 
 

 


The Maryland Energy Administration’s (MEA) Low-to-Moderate Income (LMI) grant program ​will again be implemented competitively on a regional basis for state fiscal year 2021 (FY21). With a budget of $6.5 million, the program is designed to support energy efficiency projects and activities for low-to-moderate income (LMI) Marylanders. As the program design has some modifications from previous years, MEA encourages all potential applicants to review all program documents carefully and to view the recorded webinar on the application process that will be posted at a later date (currently anticipated to be posted in approximately mid-July, see “How to Apply” tab below). More information on the application documents and process can be found below in the “How to Apply” section.

Please expand the drop-down menu below to get details regarding program overview, eligibility requirements, and application documents.

Program Overview

 

The Fiscal Year 2021 (FY21) LMI grant has an initially-allocated budget of up to $6.5 million, subject to funding availability, from the Strategic Energy Investment Fund ("SEIF") for energy efficiency projects. The Program funds ("Funds") are available to entities that serve Maryland’s LMI residents.

MEA LMI grants ("Grants") will be competitively awarded for energy efficiency projects that generate significant reductions in energy use and pass on the benefits of the savings to Maryland’s LMI residents. Projects that maximize energy savings per dollar of MEA investment and the number of LMI residents served will receive grant funding priority.

 

New for FY21: Due to COVID-19 related limitations, regulations, best practices and safety guidelines, the MEA LMI program is taking the following actions for the FY21 program cycle:

 

  1. Increasing the simple payback requirements for cost-effective projects to up to 12 years for residential projects and up to 18 years for commercial projects.

  2. Project feasibility is increased as an evaluation criterion. All project applications should present a clear, detailed description of project feasibility in anticipation of potential COVID-19 related challenges. Applications which demonstrate a feasible plan of action in response to COVID-19 related challenges will be prioritized. Cost-effective projects that clearly demonstrate the ability to be completed by an expedited project construction deadline while in compliance with federal, state, and locally-issued orders concerning COVID-19 will be prioritized by the review team.

  3. If necessary, grantees will be allowed to invoice up to 50% of the allowable Indirect Costs at the beginning stages of the project to help support planning, operations and project implementation.

 

Funds are allocated to each Maryland Region (see map below) based on the number of LMI income households located within the respective Region, in order to ensure an equitable distribution of grant funds. Grants will then be awarded competitively within the applicant pool for each Region.

The map below shows each region’s anticipated allocation of funds, which together total $6.5 million in FY21.

 

FY21LMIMap.png

Eligible Projects

 

Projects implemented by nonprofit organizations and local governments that provide energy efficiency and weatherization measures to LMI Maryland homes, as well as commercial buildings that primarily serve LMI Marylanders (e.g. a homeless shelter), are eligible for grant consideration.

For a more detailed description of eligible projects, please refer to the FY21 LMI Grant Program Application Document in the section below titled How to Apply.

All construction activities for each project selected for LMI Program grant funding from FY21 must be completed by August 1, 2022 with all invoices and project reports submitted to MEA no later than September 1, 2022.

Project Types

  1. Whole Home/Building Residential Retrofits: Whole Home/Whole Building upgrades consist of performing a Building Performance Institute level energy audit on the residential home or building and then installing cost-effective energy efficiency and weatherization measures to achieve an aggregate simple payback of 12 years or less based on the audit results. Examples of installed measures are LED light bulbs, ENERGY STAR® qualified appliance upgrades, insulation improvements, air sealing, etc.

  2. Whole Building Commercial Retrofits: Similar to the residential retrofits above, an energy audit on a commercial building is performed followed by the installation of cost-effective energy efficiency and weatherization measures to achieve an aggregate simple payback of 18 years or less based on the audit results. Examples of installed measures are LED light bulbs, control upgrades, insulation improvements, air sealing, etc.

  3. New Construction with Incremental Efficiency Upgrades: New construction projects in which the project aims to improve efficiency to above-code levels. Only the incremental purchase cost of upgrading to a higher level of energy efficiency is reimbursable under the Program.

  4. Limited Upgrades to Existing Commercial/Residential Buildings: An existing building/home in which the project does not require an energy audit, but rather seeks to make limited cost-effective upgrades to improve the performance and efficiency of the home/building.

 

More information on eligible project types and measures is located in the Eligible Projects & Measures section in the FY21 Application and Instructions.docxFY21 Application and Instructions.

Income Limits

Grants must be used to fund energy efficiency projects that benefit Maryland’s LMI population. For the purposes of this application, low and moderate income households are defined as:

 

  • Low Income - at or below 175% of the federal poverty level
  • Moderate Income - above Low Income, but at or below 85% of median income by county

 

While grants will be allocated based on region, income limits are based on the particular county in which a project is located. The income limits for “moderate income” for calendar year 2020 can be found on the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) website. Income eligibility limits for “low income”, which is now established as 175% of the federal poverty level, can be found in the table below.

 
LMI Income Limits Table.png
 
 

Review Criteria

Projects that maximize energy savings per dollar of MEA investment and the number of LMI residents served will receive grant funding priority. In addition, projects which have the flexibility to be scaled up and/or down based on funding availability will be looked at favorably. Primary FY21 review criteria include:

 

  • Annual energy savings per dollar of MEA investment

  • Impact on Maryland's low-to-moderate income residents

  • Project feasibility - For FY21, project feasibility will have increased importance in the review criteria due to COVID-19. Applicants should prepare a complete and detailed implementation plan that clearly describes how the project will be completed by the project deadline or earlier and adhere to Maryland guidelines and regulations pertaining to COVID-19.

  • Applicant response to FY21 Application Exercise

  • Accuracy of energy savings and cost information

  • If applicable, Applicant's compliance with grant requirements for a past LMI program grant or any other relevant State programs

  • Applicant's willingness and ability to deliver energy upgrades to households that are not eligible for assistance through other channels

  • Whether the proposed method of delivery will provide the best value to the State of Maryland

  • Projects located in Priority Funding Areas

 

How to Apply

 

Download, review, and complete the FY21 Application and Instructions.docxFY21 Application and Instructions. Instructions for completing the application as well as proper submission procedure are included in the Application Form document. MEA strongly encourages applicants to fully review the application instructions prior to completing the application.

Grant overview and help video: Information on the FY21 LMI Program and information on the application can be accessed through the FY21 LMI program information video​.

MEA is encouraging the use of electronic applications to streamline processing and reduce environmental impacts. If you cannot apply electronically, please contact us and we will work with you on an alternative method to submit an application.

Emailed applications must be received by 11:59 p.m. EDT on October 1, 2020. MEA strongly encourages applicants to submit their completed applications at least one day prior to the deadline to avoid any technical difficulties that may arise. No applications will be accepted after the deadline.

 

Electronic applications should be submitted to MEA’s technical assistance contractor at:

MEALMI@newportpartnersllc.com

 

Previous Cycles of the LMI Program
Read about past cycles of the LMI Program.

LMI 2020
LMI 2019
LMI 2018
LMI 2017
LMI 2016
LMI 2015
LMI 2014

Additional Questions

Please direct any questions about the MEA LMI Grant Program to Dean Fisher (Phone: 443-306-8791). For questions about the LMI applications, contact MEA technical support contractor Sam Bowles (Phone: 301-889-0017).