Clean Energy Internship Program Details

NYSERDA’s Clean Energy Internship Program is partially funding the salary of skilled interns for eligible clean energy businesses. Funding is allocated on a first-come, first-served basis, and the amount is dependent on your business size:

  • Percent covered for employers with up to 100 employees: 90%
  • Percent covered for employers with 101 or more employees: 75%

Business Approval

Applying as a participating clean energy business allows you to hire interns through the program. Funding for specific internships is not approved at the business application stage – funding is reserved once complete internship documentation packages are submitted and approved by NYSERDA.

Intern selection and hiring

Eligible businesses can either choose approved candidates from NYSERDA’s intern directory or select their own interns and have them directly apply through the Clean Energy Internship Program. Participating interns must be a new hire for the company, not currently or previously employed at that host business as an intern, contractor, or full-time employee.

Businesses with two or more full-time equivalent employees can have up to seven interns participating in the program at one time. The cap for businesses with under two full-time-equivalent employees that are approved for the program (registered minority-owned, women-owned, and service disabled veteran-owned businesses only) is three interns participating in the program at one time. Registered minority-owned, women-owned, and service-disabled veteran-owned businesses are eligible for the full cap of seven interns at one time once they have two or more full-time-equivalent employees.

A business can be reimbursed for up to 30 interns over the duration of the program, with the exception of minority-owned, women-owned, and/or service-disabled veteran owned businesses registered with New York State or certified with New York City who have no cap on the total number of interns they can be reimbursed for over the duration of the program.

Internship details

Internships will last a minimum of 8 weeks and must be for a minimum of 80 total hours. Internships shorter than 8 weeks in total length may be considered on a case-by-case basis for internships conducted as part of Career Pathways training initiatives, however pre-approval by NYSERDA is required. 

If an intern is not taking any classes during the internship, the maximum NYSERDA reimbursement is 40 hours per week on average during the internship. While an intern is taking one or more classes, NYSERDA will only reimburse up to 18 hours per week on average. Total hours eligible for reimbursement are capped at 960 hours (internship packages submitted prior to July 1, 2021) or 480 hours (internship packages submitted on or after July 1, 2021) or the total of intern hours completed within a 12-month period, whichever is fewer.

While NYSERDA can support remote internships, any intern supported under this PON must work in New York State. If the intern is working from home during their internship, they must be living in New York State to participate in the program. 

Wages eligible for reimbursement

Interns must be paid as W2 employees on an hourly basis. Intern wages that will be reimbursed can range from the New York State minimum wage at the time of hire to up to $17 per hour (the maximum hourly reimbursement rate is the amount after the reimbursement percentage is applied to $17 per hour). While businesses may pay more, the reimbursement amount is based on wages up to $17 per hour.

 
Read the full funding opportunity for more information about the program, or view frequently asked questions below. If you have additional questions about the program, please contact CleanEnergyInternship@nyserda.ny.gov.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the process for reviewing candidates?
The review of candidates for internships is done exclusively by the host employer, and they may interview and hire candidates with the qualifications that are most suited to their needs. Host Employers approved to participate in the program can gain access to a directory of approved interns. All interns must have applied and been approved to participate in the program. If you find an intern that you are interested in hiring, please have them apply. NYSERDA will provide final approval to extend an offer to the intern, contingent upon verification of the applicant’s eligibility and the availability of funds.

How many interns can I hire?
Businesses with two or more full-time equivalent employees can have up to seven interns participating in the program at one time. The cap for businesses with under two full-time-equivalent employees that are approved for the program (registered minority-owned, women-owned, and service disabled veteran-owned businesses only) is three interns participating in the program at one time. Registered minority-owned, women-owned, and service-disabled veteran-owned businesses are eligible for the full cap of seven interns at one time once they have two or more full-time-equivalent employees.

How long can an intern remain at my organization?
An intern will be subsidized for up to 960 total hours of work within a 12-month period (internship packages submitted to NYSERDA before July 1, 2021) or up to 480 hours (internship packages submitted to NYSERDA on or after July 1, 2021). They may stay on after the conclusion of a session, but their work will not be subsidized by NYSERDA. Eligible businesses may be able to apply for NYSERDA funding through the On-the-Job training program to hire eligible individuals as full-time employees at the duration of an internship (see On-the-Job Training Program requirements for details).

The cleantech industry is very competitive. I’d like to have my intern sign a non-compete agreement. Is there a policy for non-compete agreements?
The goal of this program is to increase opportunities for students entering the clean energy workforce and improve their prospects for future employment in the industry. A non-compete agreement goes against the spirit of the program, and therefore, at no point shall an intern sign a non-compete agreement. If a Host Employer attempts to execute a non-compete agreement with a subsidized intern, that employer will not be eligible to receive reimbursement through the Internship Program. It is instead suggested that an intern be asked to sign a non-disclosure or confidentiality agreement, if necessary, to protect any sensitive information.

How quickly are reimbursements issued?
Businesses may request reimbursement from NYSERDA for the wages paid to the intern one time at the end of the internship or businesses may request progress reimbursement payments no more frequently than every 12 weeks of intern work.

Can interns be hired as 1099 contractors?
No, interns cannot be hired as 1099 contractors.

Will NYSERDA provide reimbursement for intern paid holidays, vacation time, or fringe benefits?
NYSERDA provides reimbursement on wages paid for eligible hours worked. NYSERDA will not provide reimbursement on vacation time, paid holidays, or fringe benefit costs.

My intern left before completing the internship. What happens?
The minimum duration for an internship is 8 weeks and 80 hours of work. NYSERDA reserves the right to determine whether or not reimbursement can be paid for internships terminated early.

Apply Today

The program is now open and accepting business applications via an online form.

Please review the full PON 4000 funding opportunity Summary document (found here) before applying. Applicants to the program agree to comply with the procedures and requirements of the New York State Clean Energy Internship Program (PON 4000).

APPLY TODAY

To apply, have the following items ready to submit:

  • Business information
    • Legal Name
    • Address
    • Website
    • Federal Employer ID Number
    • Number of Employees*
    • Business locations in New York State
  • Business representative contact information
  • Brief description of the general nature of the internship(s) you plan to offer and how the internship(s) will relate to clean energy.

*Principals of corporations and owners of businesses such as sole proprietors or partners are not considered to be employees for this employee count. Interns are also not included in the employee count. Businesses must have at least two or more full-time employees or the equivalent of two full-time employees to be eligible for the program.