There are three identified sources of funding for Native American Tribes seeking to implement solar projects. They are:
1. Federal Grants
U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) annually awards up to $500,000 in grants for 25% of a solar project in qualified rural areas – including rural Native American tribes.
Department of Energy Infrastructure Deployment On Tribal Lands annual grant awards up to $2 million in grants for 50% of a solar project located on tribal lands.
2. Federal Loans
U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) also makes loans for qualified rural solar projects including Native American tribes up to $25 million.
U.S. Department of Interior Indian Affairs, Indian Energy and Economic Development, Division of Capital Investment can lend up to $25 million and 75% of the cost for a solar project on tribal lands.
3. Investment Tax Credit (ITC) for Solar from Qualified Investors.
Investment Tax Credit (ITC) for Solar from Qualified Investors. This program provides a 30% tax credit over five years for qualified investors. Because tribal entities are tax exempt and cannot directly benefit from the tax credit, ITC investors who need the tax credit will partner with tribes and front up to the entire cost of the system in return for the tribal entity agreeing to be a customer and buy the electricity produced by the solar project. The ITC tax credit can be used in conjunction with the grant and loan programs identified above, if desired.
Grant Management Associates
Grant Management Associates has a team of experts who can assist tribes in the solar project grant and loan process.
Grant Management Associates was founded in 2009 by Kristin Cooper Carter, a former full professor in the School of Engineering at California State University Chico. She has eighteen professional grant writers as part of her team. Grant Management Associates has won over a third of a billion dollars in grants with an almost 90% winning percentage.