Six renewable energy and energy efficiency projects in Illinois were recently announced by USDA Rural Development to receive funding as part of the USDA Rural Energy for America Program (REAP). The $93,000 will fund solar and grain dryer projects.
For example, a hog farm in Montgomery County received $14,575 to install a 19 kW solar PV system at their swine finishing site. The new system is estimated to offset about 21% of the annual electricity use by generating the amount of electricity equal to that required to power two homes. Farmers in Whiteside, Bond, Grundy, Effingham and Livingston Counties received grants ranging from nearly $9,000 to $20,000 to upgrade the energy efficiency of their grain dryers.
REAP was created by the 2002 Farm Bill and was reauthorized by the 2014 Farm Bill. REAP funding has helped farmers expand renewable energy use in recent years.
Eligible agricultural producers and rural small businesses may use REAP funds to make energy efficiency improvements or install renewable energy systems, including solar, wind, renewable biomass (including anaerobic digesters), small hydroelectric, ocean energy, hydrogen and geothermal.