“Clean Air 2.0” Programme launched
The new rendition of the “Clean Air” Programme, which significantly simplifies the procedures for obtaining grants to replace obsolete boilers and insulate homes, starts on 15 May 2020. The new version of the programme gets rid of a lot of red tape, thanks to changed grant application form, which now takes as little time as possible and requires only a couple of necessary attachments.
“We have taken decisive action to eliminate low emissions and improve air quality in Polish cities and smaller towns. The “Clean Air” Programme earmarks more than 100 billion PLN, which will enable homeowners to replace heat sources and insulate their homes,” the President of the Republic of Poland Andrzej Duda pointed out during a press conference held on 14 May 2020 in the Presidential Palace.
“We want as many people as possible to benefit from the ‘Clean Air’ Programme. That is why we have intensified our efforts to curb the issue of smog and overhauled the Programme in order to best match it with the needs of its prospective beneficiaries,” highlighted the Minister of Climate Michał Kurtyka.
“Grants for three beneficiary groups – up to 20,000 PLN in the basic version and up to 32,000 PLN for people in more difficult financial situation, with an additional 5,000 PLN grant for photovoltaics, less red tape thanks to the simplification of the grant application and a switch to declarations, shortening the deadlines for awarding grants from 90 to 30 days, inclusion of municipalities and the banking sector in the Programme, as well as offering the beneficiaries the ability to start their projects 6 months before submitting the grant application – these are the benefits offered as part of the new edition of the Programme,” said Piotr Woźny, Prime Minister’s plenipotentiary for the “Clean Air” programme and the President of the National Fund for Environmental Protection and Water Management.
He also pointed out that new solutions are currently being developed and within a few weeks, electronic applications at the gov.pl website will be available to prospective beneficiaries (as it is the case now with the “My Electricity” Programme), enabling them to apply for grants under the “Clean Air” Programme without leaving the comfort of their homes.
Details of the most important changes in the “Clean Air” Programme
1. Simplification of regulations concerning awarding of the subsidies
Simplification of the rules for awarding the subsidies under the “Clean Air” Programme includes giving up on the requirement of verifying income by regional environmental protection funds. The municipalities will now be responsible for issuing certificates confirming the right to increased funding under the programme and granting loans.
The beneficiaries were divided into two groups eligible for different amounts of funding.
1) The basic subsidy will be granted to persons with an annual income of less than 100,000 PLN.
2) The increased subsidies are applicable to persons whose average monthly income per household member does not exceed:
- 1,400 PLN net in a multi-member household;
- 1,960 PLN net in a single-member household.
The programme also envisions a third, more intensive form of support – a subsidy from the “STOP SMOG” Programme, which may cover anywhere from 90% to 100% of the value of the project. It will be available to those in need of intensive support, who will be covered under the programme thanks to the activity of municipalities interested in participating in the “STOP SMOG” Programme. Such municipalities may obtain a government subsidy for this purpose from the funds of the Thermal Upgrading and Renovation Fund, covering 70% of the costs of projects concerning replacing obsolete boilers and insulating houses for the residents in the most difficult financial situation in need.
2. Inclusion of Local Government Units in the Programme
The gap in the distribution network of the “Clean Air” Programme was bridged thanks to the inclusion of local government units – as of now, 658 contracts with municipalities have been signed to date. This was done because the municipalities know best the needs and requirements of local residents and they know their problems. They also have knowledge of who can benefit from what form of assistance.
New tasks for municipalities have been introduced under the new version of the “Clean Air” Programme:
- issuing certificates confirming the right to increased subsidies;
- assisting applicants in submitting their applications;
- granting loans to persons entitled to increased co-financing (from the funds made available by the National Fund for Environmental Protection and Water Management for the purpose of loans to beneficiaries);
- combining subsidies from municipal programmes with the “Clean Air” Programme grants.
3. Shortening the processing time
Thanks to the simplification of the application and reduction of the number of documents that need to be checked, the deadline for processing the subsidy application has been reduced from 90 to 30 days.
4. Simplification of the subsidy application
The new version of the application takes into consideration all the concerns regarding the previous version, which were submitted to the organisers. The subsidy application was simplified, allowing the beneficiaries to spend less time working on it. Moreover, the application will no longer need to include technical details, which was often one of the main obstacles for potential beneficiaries. The need to collect documents concerning the amount of income was also abandoned, as they were replaced with income declarations.
5. Submitting applications online at gov.pl
The gov.pl website will now have a subpage dedicated to the programme. In the first phase, the applicants will be able to use it to easily find links to generators set up by regional funds for environmental protection, and at a later date – at the turn of May and June – nationwide electronic applications via gov.pl website will go live.
6. Including the banking sector as a source of complementary and bridging financing (loans/credits) in the Programme
In order to accelerate the implementation of the Programme and the effective use of subsidised bank loans by owners of single-family houses, the National Fund for Environmental Protection and Water Management, together with the Polish Bank Association, undertook to work out the conditions for the banks to offer products for financing eligible costs of projects related to the replacement of obsolete furnaces and insulation of houses. The launch of the first loans for the purposes of curbing the issue of smog is slated for September this year. The purpose of this is to work out procedures for handling applications for subsidising loans intended for partial repayment of the principal. The resulting application needs to be adjusted to the requirements of the banking sector. It will be submitted via the bank together with the loan application allowing for co-financing in order to carry out the insulation project.
7. Integration with the “My Electricity” Programme
An important change in the “Clean Air” Programme is also its integration with the “My Electricity” Programme, which now enables obtaining a grant of up to 5,000 PLN for installing a photovoltaic power generation system, without the need to submit two separate applications.
8. Linking the subsidies to the environmental effect – low-carbon and renewable energy bonus
Projects, which are emission-free (in terms of low emissions) and lead to the reduction of CO2 emissions will be rewarded. The highest subsidies will be granted for projects that are optimal from the point of view of air and climate objectives, such as installation of a heat pump and a photovoltaic system at the same time.
9. Subsidies for homeowners who have already replaced their heat source
In the new rendition of the programme, people who already have a low/zero emission heat source may also receive a subsidy for house insulation (up to 10,000 PLN, and in the case of persons entitled to higher subsidies up to 15,000 PLN for carrying out projects concerning building insulation, as well as replacement of windows and doors).
10. Subsidies for already started and completed projects
The new version of the Programme makes it possible to finance projects started up to 6 months before submitting the subsidy application; however, they may not have started before 15 May this year. The revised version of the Programme also envisions subsidies for completed projects.
The aim of the “Clean Air” Programme, whose budget for 2018-2029 amounts to 103 billion PLN, is to improve air quality and reduce greenhouse gas emissions thanks to replacing obsolete heat sources and improving energy efficiency in single-family residential buildings.