The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is accepting Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) applications for renewable energy system and energy efficiency guaranteed loans and grants and energy audit and renewable energy development assistance grants. See page 71689 of the October 18 Federal Register for more information.
Applications for renewable energy system and energy efficiency grants of $20,000 or less (25% total eligible project costs) are due by Oct. 31, 2016, for the first funding cycle and March 31, 2017, for the second funding cycle. Grant requests for this round have a simplified, streamlined process and can be as low as $2,500 for renewable energy projects and $1,500 for energy efficiency projects. The next funding deadline will be March 31, 2017 for projects of any size with maximum grants limited to $500,000 for renewable energy projects and $250,000 for energy efficiency projects (25% of total eligible project costs). Any eligible applications not funded during the October 31, 2017 funding cycle will be reconsidered.
All agricultural producers, including farmers and ranchers, who derive 50% or more of their gross income from agricultural operations are eligible. Businesses in a rural area, meeting the Small Business Administration size standards, may also apply. A private entity, a rural utility, and rural electric cooperatives are typically eligible, however non-profit and public bodies are not eligible.
USDA Rural Development provides financial assistance in the form of grants and guaranteed loans to agricultural producers and rural small businesses to purchase renewable energy systems or make energy efficiency improvements through the REAP. This program provides funds for the purchase and installation of renewable energy systems and to make energy-efficiency improvements. The renewable energy projects range from installation of solar, geothermal, wind, and biomass; and energy efficiency improvements to irrigation systems, poultry houses, upgrading air conditioning, lighting and refrigeration systems.
The application deadline for energy audit and renewable energy development assistance grants is Jan. 31, 2017.
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.
Assistance must be provided to agricultural producers and rural small businesses. Rural small businesses must be located in eligible rural areas. This restriction does not apply to agricultural producers. Assistance provided must consist of energy audits, renewable energy technical assistance, renewable energy site assessments, and eligible project costs which may include salaries directly related to the project; travel expenses directly related to conducting energy audits or renewable energy development assistance; office supplies, administrative expenses, up to a maximum of 5% of the grant, which include but are not limited to utilities, office space, operation expenses of office and other project-related equipment.
Applications for renewable energy system and energy efficiency guaranteed loans and grants are due by October 31, 2016 4:30 CST. Please contact Jeff Carpenter, State Energy Coordinator, at the Nebraska USDA Rural Development State Office, Suite 308, Federal Building 100 Centennial Mall North Lincoln, Nebraska 68508. Call 402-437-5554 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
To find the office which services your county visit: http://www.rd.usda.gov/programs-services/rural-energy-america-program-renewable-energy-systems-energy-efficiency/ne. Click on View All State Program Contacts. You may also visit this web site for more information on the program and how to apply for funding, along with other details.