Grants for Clean Technology Guidebook
Top mistakes to avoid when writing CleanTech grant applications

Researching and writing CleanTech grant applications can cause some trouble for newbies. While this is one of the most lucrative grant spaces, it is also one of the most competitive. Here are some of the top mistakes to avoid when writing CleanTech grant applications.

Researching and writing CleanTech grant applications can cause some trouble for newbies. While this is one of the most lucrative grant spaces, it is also one of the most competitive. This means that although there is lots of funding to go around for a variety of project types, miswritten applications that do not properly align with the program criteria will get thrown out. Here are some of the top mistakes to avoid when writing CleanTech grant applications. 

1. Trying to find funding only when you need it

It’s easy to keep an eye out for available CleanTech programs when you are presently in need of funding to support a project. However, if you are only looking for free grant money when you need it, you may miss out on a program or opportunity that is the best possible fit for your business. We recommend always paying attention to what’s out there whether or not you are in need of support. Check out what sort of available funding the Grant Genie can find for you through our GetGranted service!

2. Trying to put a square into a circle

Sometimes, the project you have a vision for just won’t fit the guidelines of the program you are applying to, and that’s okay! New CleanTech grants come around all the time and if one program isn’t going to work for you, then don’t force it. The next one will come along soon enough. This is another reason to spend time looking for funding programs throughout the year. 

3. Forgetting about the program requirements after you receive an approval

Getting approved for funding is exciting! Our CleanTech clients are often able to majorly upscale their business through even a single approval. However, companies that don’t outsource help tend to forget about the tedious steps that come after approval. Most CleanTech grants work on a “claim-back” basis, meaning that they are reimbursed after incurring the eligible expenses and submitting reports. If you don’t continue to pay attention to the specifics of the program, you risk not receiving full funding. Keeping all eligibility documents and information from the program saved is crucial to submitting progress reports efficiently and ensuring you get a full reimbursement. 

4. Inaccurate reports

As mentioned above, the post-approval process can be difficult to navigate without a consultant, and programs that require claims to reimburse your expenses can nitpick. The worst thing that can happen after you’ve been approved for a grant is to not receive all the funding you’re approved for because the reports were inaccurate. Making sure to follow all required details and provide consistency in every report is the best way to keep a good reputation with the program. 

5. Not boosting your application with all the support you can get

Large-scale CleanTech projects often have a major impact on a variety of environmental stakeholders. Municipal governments and neighbouring businesses will be affected by the execution of your project. While this can be a hurdle, gaining their support can also be an excellent opportunity to boost the strength of your application. We recommend reaching out to all agents that will be associated with or affected by your project and asking for a letter of support

6. Providing inaccurate carbon calculations

Most CleanTech grants will require you to submit carbon emissions calculations for your entire business. Many will also ask you to offer numbers for offset emission reductions based on the outcomes of your project. This can be difficult for many businesses to supply by themselves, especially for those that are not already familiar with emission reduction technology. Providing inaccurate calculations could result in a rejection. We recommend that businesses outsource this statistical work to professionals who can provide the data for you. 

7. Applying on the deadline

As busy as we know many CleanTech businesses are, it’s common to wait until the last day or even the last minute possible to apply for grant funding. It’s important to apply to a program as early as possible because:

  • Many programs are first-come-first-served and so applying later on in the application window will mean there are fewer funds to be awarded overall. 
  • Based on this structure, a program may run out of funding before you are ready to apply, and you will be shut out from funding until it reopens. 
  • In any application, there will be administrative or technical challenges that you are not prepared for and will take time to navigate. It’s best to give yourself as much time as possible to deal with unexpected complications.

8. Thinking that submission is the last step

Frequently, grant applicants will be exhausted with their application after submission and be happy to put it out of their minds. CleanTech grants often have long adjudication processes and applicants can forget. However, it’s important to keep your application at the front of mind, especially if the project start date is before you get approved for funding. We recommend setting weekly reminders about your application and keeping an eye on that email inbox!

9. Forgetting what your goals are

As mentioned, it can take time for approvals to come through, and sometimes your business is in a completely different place when you get approved compared to when you submitted. We recommend keeping your desired project outcomes in mind even as you are waiting for approval. Think about how you can still make the impact you intended when you are executing your project. 

10. Writing your draft in the application portal

Save the most important for last! Always do your project write-up on a separate document that you can trust to save and have a backup in case you lose your progress. Nothing like a computer crash that wipes your progress to take the inspiration out of applying for free money. Additionally, once you’re approved, you don’t always get a copy of your submission, making it hard to remember exactly what you said.

Next Chapter – What happens after I apply for a clean tech grant?

This chapter will cover all the information you need to know once you’ve submitted a CleanTech grant application.

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