USDA Rural Development State Director Patty Clark announced that rural agricultural producers and small business owners can now apply for resources to purchase and install renewable energy systems or make energy efficiency improvements. These efforts help farmers, ranchers and other small business owners save money on their energy bills, reduce America’s dependence on foreign oil, support America’s clean energy economy, and cut carbon pollution. The resources announced today are made possible by the 2014 Farm Bill.
USDA is making more than $280 million available to eligible applicants through the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP). USDA is offering grants for up to 25 percent of total project costs and loan guarantees for up to 75 percent of total project costs for renewable energy systems and energy efficiency improvements. There are two upcoming REAP grant funding cycles with deadlines of April 30 and June 30, 2015.
Eligible renewable energy projects must incorporate commercially available technology. This includes renewable energy from wind, solar, ocean, small hydropower, hydrogen, geothermal and renewable biomass (including anaerobic digesters). The maximum grant amount is $500,000, and the maximum loan amount is $25 million per applicant.
Energy efficiency improvement projects eligible for REAP funding include lighting, heating, cooling, ventilation, fans, automated controls and insulation upgrades that reduce energy consumption. The maximum grant amount is $250,000, and the maximum loan amount is $25 million per applicant.
The REAP program was created in the 2002 Farm Bill, because of the success of the program, Congress reauthorized it in the 2014 Farm Bill with guaranteed funding of no less than $50 million in annual funding for the duration of the 5 year bill. The 2014 Farm Bill builds on historic economic gains in rural America over the past six years while achieving meaningful reform and billions of dollars in savings for taxpayers.
Since 2009, USDA has awarded $545 million for more than 8,800 REAP projects nationwide. This includes $361 million in REAP grants and loans for more than 2,900 renewable energy systems. When fully operational, these systems are expected to generate more than 6 billion kilowatt hours annually – enough to power more than 5.5 million homes for a year.
For information on how to apply for REAP funding, visit the agency’s website at www.rd.usda.gov/ks, or contact a USDA Rural Development Business Program Specialist in Kansas:
• Doug Bruggeman, Hays Office, 785-628-3081, Ext. 1435, firstname.lastname@example.org
• Katie Casper, Iola Office, 620-365-2901, Ext. 1427, email@example.com
• David Kramer, Topeka Office, 785-271-2700, Ext. 2736, firstname.lastname@example.org