Category: Energy Incentives
An exciting funding opportunity for rural small businesses across the State exists: The USDA Rural Development's Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) grants. These grants can pay for up to 25% of an eligible project's cost. Geared towards businesses and farms located in populations of 50,000 or less, these grants can help make your energy efficiency or renewable energy project possible.
"If you are a restaurant owner looking to upgrade your lighting or refrigeration system, this is funding you should look into," says Joel Haskard, Co-Director of the Clean Energy Resource Teams (CERTs) program. "Similarly, if you are thinking about installing solar at your resort or lodge, this is a great opportunity."
Although considered one program, the Renewable Energy System and Energy Efficiency Improvement Guaranteed Loan and Grant Program provides assistance for two distinct energy-related projects. The program provides financial assistance for projects that generate energy (renewable energy systems) or save energy (energy efficiency improvements).
Eligibility is limited to rural small businesses and agricultural producers. All other non-profit organizations and public entities are not eligible. Click here for more information on eligibility.
Depending on the technology (renewable v. energy efficiency) and type of assistance (guaranteed loan v. grant) the level of assistance varies. Click here to learn about funding contributions requirements from program applicants, maximum loan and grant limits and other financial information.
Eligible Projects and Required Application Materials
The following technologies are eligible for the REAP Program. Each technology has a linnk to its required application material. To assist in the application process, a list of grant writers and energy auditors (for energy efficiency improvement projects) can be found below.
Renewable Energy Systems
Biomass consists of two types of projects:
- Bio-energy: Produces fuel (e.g., biodiesel, ethanol), thermal energy or electric power from a biomass source (crops, trees, wood, plants and other biodegradable waste materials).
- Anaerobic Digesters: Produces thermal energy or electric power via anaerobic digestion using animal waste and other organic substrates.
Geothermal consists of two types of projects:
- Direct use are systems that use thermal energy directly from a geothermal source.
- Electrical generation produces electrical power from a geothermal source.
- Solar consists of using the sun for either electric generation or thermal generation (aka hot water heating) purposes.
- Wind consists of either small or large wind turbine systems.
- Flexible Fuel Pumps consist of a retail pump that combines and dispenses a blended liquid transportation fuel.
Energy Efficiency Improvements:
- Projects include any improvements to a facility, building or process that reduces energy consumption. Examples include energy efficient refrigeration, updating irrigation systems and grain dryers. All energy efficiency improvement projects have the same application requirements. Click here to see these requirements.
The agency is currently accepting applications. Please submit your application to Ron Omann, USDA Rural Development, 375 Jackson Street, Suite 410, St. Paul, MN 55101. A deadline for submission has not been established. This page will be updated when a deadline is announced.
For questions on the application, call 651-602-7796. Additionally, Rural Development has staff in the following offices to assist you with the application process or answer any questions on the program.