USDA solicits REAP applications

By Erin Voegele | January 06, 2015

The USDA Rural Business-Cooperative Service has published a notice in the Federal Register announcing it is accepting applications for the Rural Energy for America Program.  A final rule for REAP was published in late 2014.

REAP, which was established by the 2008 Farm Bill and reauthorized by the 2014 Farm Bill, is designed to help agricultural producers and rural small businesses reduce energy costs and consumption. The program offers two types of funding assistance. The first category provides grants and guaranteed loans to agricultural producers and rural small businesses for the purchase and installation of renewable energy systems energy efficiency improvements. Eligible renewable energy systems include renewable biomass, anaerobic digesters, wind, solar, small hydro-electric, ocean, geothermal, or hydrogen derived from these renewable resources. The second type of funding assistance provides grants to entities that will assist agricultural producers and small rural businesses by conducting energy audits and providing information on renewable energy development assistance. Those eligible for grants under the second category include government entities, institutions of higher education, public power entities or councils.

According to the notice, grant applications, guaranteed loan-only applications, and a combined grant and guaranteed loan applications for financial assistance may be submitted at any time on an ongoing basis. For renewable energy system and energy efficiency improvement grant applications and combination grant and guaranteed loan applications, there will be two application deadlines to facilitate the use of fiscal year 2014 and 2015 grant funds, including deadlines set for April 30 and June. 30. Applications for guaranteed loans will be reviewed and processed when received with monthly competitions on the first business day of each month for those applications ready to be funded. The first monthly competition, however, will not take place until eight guaranteed loan only applications are received and ready to be competed. Applications for energy audits and renewable energy assistance grants are due Feb. 15.

A full copy of the notice of solicitation, which includes application instructions, is available on the Federal Register website