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USDA Seeks Applications for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Loans and Grants

Name
Sherri McCarter
City
Nashville
Release Date
Oct 19, 2016

USDA Rural Development State Director Bobby Goode encourages rural small businesses to apply for loans and grants to support renewable energy and energy efficiency projects.

“Investing in renewable energy and energy efficiency helps farmers, ranchers, and rural small businesses save money and strengthen their bottom line,” Goode said.  “It also provides jobs, creates economic opportunity, and leads to a more secure energy future.”

USDA is accepting Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) applications for: 1) energy audit and renewable energy development assistance grants, and 2) renewable energy system and energy efficiency guaranteed loans and grants.

The application deadline for energy audit and renewable energy development assistance grants is Jan. 31, 2017. Applications for renewable energy system and energy efficiency grants of $20,000 or less are due by Oct. 31, 2016, for the first funding cycle and March 31, 2017, for the second funding cycle.  Applications for renewable energy system and energy efficiency grants of greater than $20,000 and all combination grants and guaranteed loans are due by March 31, 2017. USDA will set aside 20 percent of the funds for grants of $20,000 or less.

Applications for renewable energy system and energy efficiency grants or for loan/grant combinations that are received after March 31, 2017, will be considered in Fiscal Year 2018, which starts Oct. 1, 2017. Guaranteed loan applications will be reviewed and processed when received, with periodic competitions. For additional information, contact the USDA energy coordinator for your state, or see page 71689 of the October 18 Federal Register.

Eligible applicants for renewable energy system and energy efficiency loans and grants include agricultural producers and rural small businesses, which may include tribal business entities, rural electric cooperatives and public power entities. Renewable energy sources include wind, solar, renewable biomass (including anaerobic digesters), small hydro-electric, ocean, geothermal or hydrogen derived from these renewable resources. Eligible applicants for energy audit and renewable energy development assistance grants include State, tribal or local governments; institutions of higher education; and rural electric cooperatives and public power entities.

Congress created the REAP program in the 2002 Farm Bill and reauthorized it in the 2014 Farm Bill with guaranteed funding of no less than $50 million annually for the duration of the five-year bill.

Nationwide, USDA has helped finance more than 12,000 REAP projects since 2009. When fully operational, these projects will generate or save enough energy to power more than 750,000 homes annually, and replace more than 36 million barrels of oil annually.   

USDA Rural Development is moving investments to rural America with housing, business and infrastructure loans and grants to create jobs and strengthen rural economies with an emphasis to assist areas of persistent poverty.  Since 2009, the agency has assisted more than 1.5 million Tennessee families and businesses in 230 communities in all 95 counties of Tennessee, investing more than $6.6 billion through affordable loans, loan guarantees, and grants.

For more information on USDA Rural Development programs available in Tennessee visit us online at www.rd.usda.gov/TN; or to speak to a Business Program Specialist regarding REAP, call 615.783.1300.