USDA "Rural Energy for America Program" Deadline is Wednesday

The deadline to apply for the USDA Rural Development "REAP" program is Wednesday. The "Rural Energy for America Program" is designed to assist rural, small, for-profit businesses and agricultural producers install renewable energy systems or make energy efficiency improvements to their operations.

These types of improvements can help eligible applicants control energy costs and improve the overall profitability of their operations. The grant program can cover up to 25% of the eligible project costs or $500,000, whichever is less. The loan guarantee can cover up to 75% of the eligible project costs. Federal participation cannot exceed 75% of eligible project costs.

Grants can range from $1,500 to $500,000 with loan guarantees up to $25,000,000. The next application deadline is March 31st for projects requesting grants of up to $500,000.

In previous years, this program has helped farmers replace grain dryers; fans and lights for livestock operations; and install solar PV arrays to help offset electrical consumption. Small businesses have benefited through high efficiency lighting; improvements to HVAC systems; and the installation of a renewable energy system to help offset electrical consumption.

Examples of the assistance provided in recent years include:

A grant for $28,556 to assist a North Central Ohio farm implement dealership install a 48kW roof mounted solar array which offsets almost 40% of the company’s annual electrical usage. The expected annual electrical cost savings for the company will exceed $7,100.

A grant for $24,750 to assist a Northeastern Ohio dairy farmer replace an outdated and inefficient milk bulk tank and the related compressor and cooling systems. The anticipated energy saved will exceed 65% while the estimated financial payback will be less than 5 years based upon the energy savings alone.

A grant for $26,044 to assist a farmer in Western Ohio replace an outdated and inefficient grain dryer. The expected energy savings will provide a return on this investment of less than 8 years.

Who may apply for this program?

• Agricultural producers with at least 50 percent of their gross income coming from agricultural operations.

• Small businesses in eligible rural areas.

Agricultural producers and small businesses must have NO outstanding delinquent federal taxes, debt, judgment or debarment.

Residential renewable energy systems and residential energy efficiency improvements are not eligible for assistance even if the residence is a part of the farming operation or the small rural business.

Additional information and application materials can be found at: Rural Energy for America Program. Contact Randy Monhemius, email phone 614-255-2424 if interested in discussing a specific project or in receiving an application for your project.

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