Rural Development’s Renewable Energy Program Provides Farm Solutions

4/20/2013 7:00 AM

America’s 21st century energy landscape presents needs that are greater than ever before. We face new challenges to reduce dependence on imported oil; the improve the environment; and to make clean, sustainable and affordable energy alternatives available to businesses.

USDA Rural Development is helping to lead the way in the agriculture and business sectors — finding energy solutions in our fields, and helping rural residents and communities access renewable energy systems and use energy more efficiently.

Rural Development provides funding for renewable energy sources — including wind, solar, geothermal, hydrogen, ocean waves, hydroelectric, biomass and biofuel.

USDA remains focused on carrying out its mission, despite a time of significant budget uncertainty. The Rural Energy for America Program, or REAP, authorized by the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008, or Farm Bill, is designed to help agricultural producers and rural small businesses reduce energy costs and consumption, and help meet the nation’s critical energy needs.

With an increase in funding from last year, USDA is accepting the following applications:

Renewable energy system and energy efficiency improvement grant applications and combination grant and guaranteed loan applications until May 31.

Renewable energy system and energy efficiency improvement guaranteed loan only applications until July 15.

Renewable energy system feasibility study grant applications through May 31.

More information on how to apply for funding is available in the March 29 Federal Register, Pages 19183-19190.

The REAP grant can fund up to 25 percent, not exceeding $500,000, of a renewable energy project and $250,000 of an energy efficiency project.

A REAP guaranteed loan can fund up to 75 percent of total eligible project costs, and a combination grant/guaranteed loan can also fund up to 75 percent of project expenses.

REAP can provide grant assistance for the completion of energy audits and feasibility studies.

Rural Development promotes the president’s national energy policy and ultimately the nation’s energy security by engaging the entrepreneurial spirit of rural America in the development of renewable energy and energy efficiency improvements.

For more information on energy programs, visit our website at or call 717-237-2189.

Thomas P. Williams is the Pennsylvania state director of USDA Rural Development.

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