The Appalachian Solar Finance Fund (SFF) jumpstarts emerging local solar markets in Central Appalachia.
By deploying targeted financial tools designed to unlock new solar energy projects that face unique barriers due to region-specific challenges, the SFF promotes economic recovery and diversification in Central Appalachian communities impacted by the decline of the coal industry.
The SFF’s targeted blend of financing options can be used to:
- offset pre-development and early-stage project costs
- replace the value of the federal Investment Tax Credit (ITC) for tax-exempt institutions, and
- support innovative, replicable approaches to project development and financing that unlock additional solar deployment in the region.
These tools are deployed through competitive:
- select sub-grant awards and
- contracts for technical assistance services
- public institutions,
- nonprofit entities and
- commercial businesses serving as anchor institutions in their local communities.
A review of project readiness and impact criteria ensures that SFF-financed projects are:
- financially viable and
- highly probable to result in more solar being deployed in the region, with
- tangible community benefits.
What happens during the application review process?
1. Applicant receives confirmation of geographic and categorical eligibility
2. SFF works with applicant to assess investment readiness, determine threshold need for funding support and help secure project financing
3. Financial Review Advisor recommends appropriate level and type of funding support for each eligible application
4. Review Committee evaluates recommendations and votes on funding support levels and contingencies for each eligible application
5. Applicant is notified of Review Committee’s decision
6. Applicant signs MOU outlining conditions and timeframe for funding disbursement
7. Applicant successfully completes contingencies detailed in MOU
8. Applicant signs sub-award agreement with SFF
9. SFF releases funds to applicant
10. Applicant reports on project status and outcomes
The resulting solar projects produce a powerful convergence of:
- employment opportunities,
- business creation,
- new investments and
- wealth retention in communities directly impacted by the decline in the coal economy.