- September 2022 -

Please note the firm deadline of Wednesday, October 5th - 5:00pm Eastern Time

PSEF is happy to offer this new support opportunity to its members. With a very limited pool and potentially great demand, we seek to balance carefully the competing needs of spreading the funds and fostering fairness, on the one hand, with the desire to get these funds out as quickly as possible to support pressing needs.

The initial piloting of these small grants shall be experimental, with feedback sought and much learning anticipated that will enable adjustment to the model after the first few months. We ask therefore for the understanding, patience and strong collaboration of our Members. We also invite/encourage Members to help our fundraising efforts to sustain and grow these funds. Thank you!


1. Purpose:  Top priority is to support members in early-stage efforts towards the formation of an ownership entity to advance a solar project - e.g. community education or mobilization to build initial buy-in, incorporation, bylaws, etc. Second priority is for the development of important early stage needs - e.g. business plan development, fundraising planning, raising local equity, further community education, participatory planning, membership development.

2. Grant Size: generally $2,000-$5,000, so that PSEF can apply these limited funds to many groups and over the long-term (not merely in the first round). However, if at any point the demand does not appear to jeopardize PSEF’s goals, then we may consider a demonstrable, compelling need for higher amounts. Therefore, while applicants should aim for the $2-5k likely allocation, a higher amount may be requested if there is such a compelling need, which we will do our best to consider. 

3.  Selection Process: to ensure a fair and thorough but simple & speedy process –

  • Two weeks (10 business days) will generally be allowed for response to the call for proposals
  • PSEF will aim to decide and make payment within 7-10 business days thereafter.
  • If there are many inquiries, staff may request some board members - not affiliated with groups currently applying - to assist in the review (but this is not optimally desired in order to ensure a rapid streamlined process, and in order to minimize conflicts of interest.)

4. Criteria and/or Preference for Selection:

i> General :

  1. Preference for applicants who have been PSEF members for at least 6 months … have attended at least half the Membership Meetings since they joined … and are generally in good standing (admittedly not yet defined within PSEF but we trust there will be a fair definition of this over time)

  2.  Applicant shares a brief (minimum 1 page) statement of purpose/goals for the grant.

ii> Group Legal Status :

  1. Either a Board, incorporation and bylaws are already established (please submit), or,

  2. Minimum outcomes of this grant will include these as goals.  

iii> Leadership and Diversity :

  1. Preference for Board or key leadership group of at least 5, of which 50% is BIPOC (admittedly a higher threshold than our general expectation of at least 20% BIPOC participation given the importance of engaging BIPOC leadership early on, and our push to ensure greater BIPOC representation and leadership in this movement)

iv> Constituency :

  1. Preference for groups that have at least 20 people signed up & participating, with the majority of these being BIPOC and/or Low Income individuals.

v> Solar regional awareness :

  1. Preference for groups that are aware of the state of solar around them (e.g. other solar developers nearby? any of them non-profits or community-driven?; …)

5. Grant Period and Limitations:

  •  Maximum 4 months, since these grants are aimed at meeting immediate needs.
  • Applicants may apply up to 4 times or up to a maximum allotment per member of $10k; however, priority for future grants will be given to first time applicants (with a strong application)
  • 2 months must pass between the completion of one grant and the submission of a subsequent application.

6. New Grant Cycles:

  • As long as funds remain, PSEF will aim to make an open call for grants on a quarterly basis.

7. The Application - shall be short and streamlined but must include -

  • Cover sheet (provided by PSEF) that will ask the basics noted above.
  • Brief statement of grant purpose (as noted above)
  • Evidence of BIPOC and/or low income community support.
  • Indication of solar activity nearby.
    [See below for the application link.]

8.  Payout and Reporting: 

  • Payment will be made via ACH payment to the bank account of the organization or its fiscal sponsor - within 72 hours of the grant award and account information being provided.
  • Reporting - following a simple PSEF template of just a few questions - shall occur within 5 months after the grant (i.e. 1 month after the max 4 month term). Reporting completion will be a requirement for future grant eligibility.

Thank you for your interest in the PSEF Mini-Grants.