Rural small businesses and agricultural producers looking to save money by reducing energy costs may be eligible for the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP).
With a boost in funding from the Inflation Reduction Act, the program is offering $1 billion in grants and guaranteed loans to assist with investments in renewable energy systems and energy efficiency improvements. This may include the installation of hydropower, geothermal, wind, or solar energy systems, updating heating and cooling systems, or switching from a diesel to an electric irrigation motor.
Projects previously funded through REAP include the installation of a solar array at a turkey farm, a wind turbine at a rural small business, and upgrades to energy-efficient coolers at a grocery store.
Wondering if you’re eligible? To qualify, agricultural producers or rural small businesses must meet the following criteria:
- Earn at least 50% of their gross income from agricultural operations.
- Income may come from product sales, production contracts, crop insurance, commodity payments, and similar matters.
- May be located in rural or non-rural areas as long as the project is associated with an on-site production operation.
- Be located in a community with a population of fewer than 50,000.
- May be a private for-profit entity, a cooperative, an electric utility serving rural customers independent of government control, or a Section 17 tribal corporation or business of that tribal corporation.
- Must have a net worth of less than $15 million and a net average income of less than $5 million for the two previous years.
Additionally, applicants must provide matching funds if applying for a grant and 25% of project costs if applying for a loan. All projects require an environmental review and energy efficiency projects require an energy audit or assessment.
For more information, visit rd.usda.gov. The next application deadline is June 30.