If you're looking for all energy efficiency grants for business in one place, we've got you covered!

Becoming more energy efficient has two positive outcomes: it decreases your costs over time, and it helps fight climate change. While fighting climate change might be contentious, we can all agree we all want to save money!

With that in mind, investing in energy efficiency is something worth considering for your business. Quite often it does call for some upfront costs, but in the end, it pays for itself—and quite quickly in many cases—and then pays for itself over and over after enough time passes. It’s an important long-term strategy.

So, the question is, how do you come up with that initial investment to improve your company’s energy efficiency? Well, look no further! These 14 incentives should get you started!

Federal Energy Efficiency Incentives for Businesses

Though a few provincial governments recently scrapped many of the previously existing energy efficiency rebate programs, there are still options out there, most of them available from the Canadian government.

So, take a gander through and see if there’s one or more that won’t give you the incentive you need.

Federal Energy Efficiency Grants for Businesses

While this grant program has a rather narrow focus sector-wise, it is exciting.


For those for-profit companies incorporated in Canada that happen to be bio jet producers, the Canadian Privy Council Office has an ongoing competition to find a sustainable aviation fuel. The first producer to create 2,500 L of fuel that contains no less than 10% sustainable aviation fuel and is produced in Canada will receive $1 million. If your fuel wins the competition, an airline will use it as part of a cross-Canada commercial flight.


If this competition is for you, apply right away because the deadline is January 1, 2021. Before you apply, however, know you’ll have to provide supporting documents and be ready to take a few more steps:

  1. 1
    You’ll have to tell Natural Resources Canada you’ve produced the required volume of fuel, and they will then tell Air Canada and West Jet of its availability. These airlines will then negotiate the sale and delivery of the fuel with you and sign a purchase agreement.
  2. 2
    You’ll need to send the Privy Council proof of your purchase agreement with the airlines.
  3. 3
    You’ll also have to affirm your fuel is in compliance with CAN/CGSB 3.23-2016 and ASTM D7566 and the GHGs of the fuel are at least 10% lower than aviation fuel currently in use.
  4. 4
    You’ll have to have an independent Canadian auditor confirm you produced all the sustainable aviation fuel or renewable diesel in Canada.
  5. 5
    Finally, you’ll have to include all information on existing funding.

Once you have all those ducks in a row, submit your application online at their website with all the supporting documents.

For more information about the challenge, check out their website.

In line with Canada’s search for clean technology, this program offers grants to SMEs creating state-of-the-art, precommercial clean tech that shows measurable benefits in clean soil, clean water, clean air, or climate change.


While applications are taken on an ongoing basis, the SCTD requires that to be eligible, you form a consortium with a partner, who they recommend should be an entity who can validate the need for the technology.


You must also have a clearly defined project with a strong value proposition for end-users when you apply, be ready to demonstrate it, and be able to prove the commercial potential of the technology.


This grant could significantly help move your technology along because while the SDTC requires you have 25% private funding, they will usually fund 33% of total project costs. Don’t worry though, the private contributions can include in-kind contributions from the consortium partner(s) you’ve already acquired.


The SCTD generally provides an average contribution of $2 to $4 million per project, paying out the funds over the life of the project for up to 5 years.


To apply, just create an online account and submit your application through the online portal. Here is where you can find more information on how to apply.


If a review of your application determines your project could meet their criteria, you may be invited to make a presentation via video conferencing and submit a detailed proposal through the online portal.


Head over here for more information.

In line with Canada’s search for clean technology, this program offers grants to SMEs creating state-of-the-art, precommercial clean tech that shows measurable benefits in clean soil, clean water, clean air, or climate change.


While applications are taken on an ongoing basis, the SCTD requires that to be eligible, you form a consortium with a partner, who they recommend should be an entity who can validate the need for the technology.


You must also have a clearly defined project with a strong value proposition for end-users when you apply, be ready to demonstrate it, and be able to prove the commercial potential of the technology.


This grant could significantly help move your technology along because while the SDTC requires you have 25% private funding, they will usually fund 33% of total project costs. Don’t worry though, the private contributions can include in-kind contributions from the consortium partner(s) you’ve already acquired.


The SCTD generally provides an average contribution of $2 to $4 million per project, paying out the funds over the life of the project for up to 5 years.


To apply, just create an online account and submit your application through the online portal. Here is where you can find more information on how to apply.


If a review of your application determines your project could meet their criteria, you may be invited to make a presentation via video conferencing and submit a detailed proposal through the online portal.


Head over here for more information.

Natural Resources Canada runs a financial incentive program administered through the Canadian Industry Program for Energy Conservation that can help you fund your building’s energy management project if you’re an industrial business owner that also happens to be a CIPEC member.


Not a member? That’s okay! You can register to be a CIPEC Leader, and then you can apply. Once you’re registered, simply email NRCan and ask for a project proposal template, fill it out, and send it back to them. Then all you have to do is complete a Contribution Agreement (which they’ll send you later) before the work begins.


The next step is to put your project into action, paying all costs as you go, and after the work has been completed, NRCan will reimburse you to a maximum of $40,000 or 50% of eligible costs after you’ve submitted a claim and final report. One thing to note though: only 75% of your project can be funded by government sources.


Various project types could be eligible for funding, such as ISO 50001 Energy Management Systems Standard projects (If you’re in BC, there may be additional funding for you in this category), Energy Management Information Systems (EMIS) projects, and Process Integration (PI) and Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) studies. Because this is another ongoing program, apply any time you’re ready, and if you’re unsure if your project is eligible, just ask them since other project types may be considered.

Other Federal Energy Efficiency Incentives for Businesses

Does your Canadian business operate in a developed country? Does it offer sustainable benefits for communities there? Does it focus on climate change, job creation, or economic empowerment for women?


If you answered yes to most of the above, you could find financial assistance from FinDev Canada. They exist to provide financing (loans and loan guarantees) and equity investments to those for-profit companies whose main purpose and focus is sustainability in developed countries.


You can apply anytime, but your operations must be located in Latin America, the Caribbean, or Sub-Saharan Africa; have an impact on the abovementioned areas of sustainability and economic and social development; generate enough cash flow to be able to repay the debt; and operate in a FinDev Canada priority sector (green growth, agribusiness value chain, or financial service).


The funding comes in a variety of formats depending on what fits your company and situation best:

  • Direct loans: You can apply for a regular loan for your operations or expansion plans for things like purchasing equipment or facilities or making acquisitions.
  • Guarantees: Slightly different than a loan, you can apply to request an irrevocable guarantee they will send to your bank for a loan for your operations or expansion plans.
  • Structured and project financing: You could benefit from FinDev Canada’s financing for the technical, environmental, and social documentation you need to develop a new project that offers social and economic benefits for your host country.
  • Investments: If FinDev Canada deems yours a high-potential company, they may even offer you flexible, long-term private equity growth capital.

To learn more about FinDev Canada financing and what it can do for you, go to https://www.findevcanada.ca/en/what-we-do/financing-and-investment, email them, or find them on YouTube at FinDev Canada.


This incentive program for those in the health sector is unique in comparison to all other programs in that to apply for it, they must invite you do to so. On the upside, if you’re invited, deemed eligible, and your project accepted, the Transition-to-Scale program will invest up to $10 million in the innovative project you’ve developed to greatly impact global health.


After Grand Challenges Canada has received your application, you should receive a decision within 6 months. This program runs continually, so there are no deadlines in sight for this program. If you have a brilliant idea you know will improve health worldwide, it would be a good idea to put it in a position to be noticed by Grand Challenges Canada.

Click here to contact them for more information.

Energy Efficiency Incentives for Ontario Businesses

Energy Efficiency Grants for Ontario Businesses

The Greater Toronto and Hamilton area wins out in the grant category for energy efficiency thanks to The Atmospheric Fund. Way back in 1991, Toronto city council created this nonprofit organization that finances local efforts to combat climate and improve Toronto’s air quality.


This nonprofit group offers grants to charities, not-for-profit organizations, and municipalities for projects that show the ability to result in a considerable reduction in carbon emissions and air pollution.


Because the two sectors that create carbon emissions are the building and transportation sectors, that’s where TAF focuses its attention. So if your nonprofit group or municipality has a project in mind that works to achieve TAF’s goals, then send an email to grants@taf.ca to talk with them about it, and then fill out the application form they’ll send and submit it to the same email address.


Before you hit send, though, ensure you’ve attached a complete budget spreadsheet, proof of registered charity or nonprofit status, your most recent (and preferably but necessary) audited financial statements, and a list of your Board of Directors. Also be aware they may ask for more information later, such as references, confirmation of other sources of funding, CVs/LinkedIn profiles of project team members, etc.


Once you’ve got all that, make sure you hit SEND before these deadlines: February 21, 2020; May 15, 2020; and August 28, 2020.


Any grant you receive can be used to fund anything necessary to the project, including third-party advisory services, project evaluation, operating costs, and a portion of project-related administration costs.


Jump on this grant right away because they gave out 8 in 2019, 15 in 2018, 9 in 2017, 7 in 2016, and 5 in 2015. This, too, could be you!


Regardless of which sector your organization fits in or whether it’s for-profit, nonprofit, or public, you can take advantage of Save on Energy’s Retrofit program to improve your energy efficiency. And you should do so for both your long-term profitability and sustainability and to do your part to reduce your carbon footprint.


This program is split into two categories: the prescriptive and the custom. The prescriptive is perfect for smaller, faster system upgrades such as lighting and lighting controls. This incentive has a minimum of $500.


The custom track allows for more comprehensive projects such as building automation systems. It also offers more incentives, with a cap of 50% of the project cost, and more possible energy savings. This incentive has a minimum of $1,500 and provides energy savings for at least 48 months.


Though you can apply anytime and there are no deadlines, you do have to be preapproved to participate in the program, and if you lease your space, you must have the owner’s consent. You also have to sign up for the Save On Retrofit Portal to apply.


To take advantage of the prescriptive option, simply call 1-844-303-5542 for help with your application or with questions. For the custom retrofit option, just fill out the online form with your information and a representative will give you a call.


If you’re a small business in Ontario that’s had your eye on improving the energy efficiency of your lighting, then jump on this incentive. As long as you have less than 50 employees and haven’t participated in this program before, you qualify!


And the best part is, nowhere does it say you can’t take advantage of this program, which will give you up to $2,000 to install more efficient lighting, at the same time or having previously taken part in another energy efficiency incentive program. And hey, they’ll even do all the work for you. No need to hunt down or manage contractors!


All you have to do is get in touch with a program representative so they can see if you’re eligible, give them any relevant documents they’ll tell you about, and then make an appointment to go over the project. Though you have to sign a work order and participant agreement, they’ll do all the actual paperwork and arrange the installation for you, and you can apply anytime. No deadlines!


Email them or give them a call at 1-866-932-8283 if feel you’d like more information.


This is another unique and interesting incentive program. I’m willing to bet you’ve never even thought of hiring an energy manager. Have you even heard of one? Whether you have or haven’t, Save On Energy has a program designed to get you one and help you pay for them.


Should you participate in the program and hire an energy manager, Save On will give you $40,000 upfront to cover that cost and will continue to help fund costs associated with your new energy manager to a yearly cap of $150,000.


However, the new, full-time energy manager must meet all pay-for-performance criteria, such as reaching 1,000 MWh/year in energy savings. The program will pay you an additional $40 for every megawatt hour saved above 1,000 MWh.


All Ontario businesses qualify for this program, whether you’re commercial, institutional, or industrial. But you can’t have gotten or expect to get any financial assistance from any government source to help pay for the cost of employing a full-time energy manager.


Apply at any time by completing the application form and emailing it to the program. If you’re accepted, you’ll just have to sign a Participation Agreement and show you have the potential to reach the required Minimum Annual Savings Target.


Download the PDF to learn more about the requirements of the program, and shoot them an email if you have any questions or would like to learn more about what an energy manager can do for you.


For businesses, nonprofits, or institutions with buildings in Ontario, there is yet another energy efficiency incentive program administered through Save On Energy. Think about applying for this one if the energy performance of your buildings is on your radar.


If you are eligible to participate, you could get savings of not only $0.04/kW—up to a maximum of 20% of your yearly electricity usage—but you could also get a Modelling Incentive worth $1,500/building up to a maximum of $15,000 for 10 buildings.


To be eligible for the program, you only need be a non-industrial or nonmanufacturing company, use at least 1,500,000 kWh/building, make hourly meter data for each building available for no less than 12 months, and commit to taking part in the plan for no less than 2 years so you can see at least a 5% energy savings/building.


Once you’ve determined you’re eligible, just fill out and sign the application form, Energy Performance Program Agreement, and one Facility Application Form for each building you want to be part of the program and email them to the program. Then all that’s left to do is to send in a baseline energy model for every building (using their Baseline Energy Model Validation Reports Tool) and submit a Savings Report for each building so you can get paid. You’ll have to complete the Savings Report every year no later than 60 days after the end of each period.


To learn more about using the Baseline Energy Model Validation Reports Tool and the Savings Report and for guidelines on eligibility, obligations, and more, download their procedures PDF.

If you still have questions or are unsure of the process and/or requirements, check out their webinar and FAQs. And don’t hesitate to email your questions too!


Just when you thought we were done with the energy efficiency incentive programs and Save On Energy, more crop up.


This particular program offers incentives to both for-profit and nonprofit organizations to create and institute new energy efficiency and energy generation projects. It’s comparable to the Retrofit Program but is geared toward larger projects with longer terms such as installing variable frequency drives on motors, overhauling entire systems, or conducting an engineering feasibility study.


Those eligible for this program could get up to 70% of project costs, electricity savings × $200/MWh with a cap of 120% of the approved amount, an end amount that offers a Project Payback for 1 year, PLUS $10,000/project. Whew! Is that incentive enough for you to give it a shot?


This too is an ongoing incentive program, so apply anytime. Just ensure you’re either a business owner occupying a building connected somehow to the IESO-controlled grid or a distribution system or someone who will be the one installing and operating the project on behalf of the owner.


If this is you, complete an application form with the release, waiver, and consent and the project terms and conditions—and make sure you fill one out for each if you’re interested in both the engineering feasibility study and the process and systems upgrades.


Email a representative to get answers to your questions, and download this spreadsheet for the application and all the additional required forms and this PDF for more information on procedures, requirements, process, and eligibility.


Do you have an innovative energy project you’re ready to start on but need the resources? Look no further than the IESO’s Grid Innovation Fund.


Offering funds with different percentage caps depending on project type, this program aims to invest in energy projects less than 3 years long. There are 2 types of opportunities: the first is a targeted call issued occasionally for projects to address specific challenges tagged by the IESO, and the second is an open call that occurs at least once a year. In 2020, an open call has been issued for applications relating to indoor agriculture.


To apply, fill out and submit a Project Overview Application to gridinnovationfund@ieso.ca within a specified intake window, and if your application is accepted, you can then submit a full proposal.


All business types except sole proprietors and incorporated individuals can partake, and this is an ongoing program, so apply now to get your project off the ground.

Energy Efficiency Incentives - Lake Erie Area


Because it’s imperative to maintain the health of the Lake Erie and Lake St. Clair watersheds, OSCIA and OMAFRA have partnered to create LEADS, a financial incentive program that aims to help farmers institute best management practices, which in turn helps profitability and sustainability.


The ultimate goal is to ensure the greatest soil health and the least nutrient loss, so this program runs continuously with the next application being winter of 2020 for the spring season.


To be eligible, you must be a business in the Lake Erie area with a Farm Business Registration Number and Premises Identification Number that has had an Environmental Farm Plan and Farmland Health Check Up done. The check-up is required because it assesses any inherent or imminent risks to your farm’s water quality and soil health.


Send an email to LEADS@ontariosoilcrop.org or call 1‐800‐265‐9751 for more information.

The Bottom Line

Doesn’t improving your company’s energy efficiency seem more realistic and attainable now?

Spending money out of pocket is never fun, but when you start taking advantage of these funding programs—and layering them up—the amount you’ll spend becomes smaller and smaller.


Eventually, you’ll see your energy bills shrink too, and one day, your initial investment in your energy efficiency will have paid for itself, increasing your profitability.

And on top of it all, you’ll have the pleasure of knowing you did your part for the environment, even if that wasn’t your priority!


About the author 

Maurice

Maurice (Moe) Muise learned the ins-and-outs of government while an employee of the Government of Canada in Ottawa for 10 years. His current focus is helping small businesses in Ontario to identify and maximize government grants to grow their business.
Click here to learn more about Moe's background and how he can help your business.

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