USDA Rural Development offers more than 40 programs for families, businesses, farmers and communities. Each month, a different program will be highlighted in our guest editorial.
Today’s column will focus on the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP), a program that helps agricultural producers and rural small businesses create energy independence by reducing their energy usage and improve their profitability.
REAP is available to agricultural producers (51 percent or more of gross income comes from agriculture production) and rural (any area that has a population of 50,000 or less and is not adjacent to or is not a contiguous part of an urbanized area) small businesses (as classified by the Small Business Administration). The goal of the program is to reduce energy use and cost, and to help meet the Nation’s energy needs. REAP has two types of funding assistance available: grants and/or guaranteed loans. Assistance is available for energy efficiency improvements and renewable energy systems.
The REAP grant has funding available for up to 25 percent of total eligible project costs. Minimum total project costs are $6,000 (grant of $1,500) for energy efficiency projects and $10,000 (grant of $2,500) for renewable energy systems. Maximum total project costs are $1 million (grant of $250,000) for energy efficiency projects and $2 million (grant of $500,000) for renewable energy systems.
Renewable energy can be used for energy replacement or energy generated and sold to the power grid. Projects funded in Nebraska include: wind turbines to power center pivots, solar panels for stock wells, solar panels for businesses, geothermal heating and cooling, biodiesel plant that converted waste vegetable oil into biodiesel.
Read more about REAP here