USDA solicits applications for REAP funding

By Erin Voegele | August 17, 2018

The USDA’s Rural Business-Cooperative Service is soliciting fiscal year 2019 applications for the Rural Energy for America Program, which helps agricultural producers and rural small businesses install renewable energy systems and make energy efficiency improvements.

REAP offers two types of funding assistance. Under the first, Renewable Energy Systems and Energy Efficiency Improvement Assistance, the USDA provides grants and guaranteed loans to agricultural producers and rural small businesses to purchase and install renewable energy systems and make energy efficiency improvements. Eligible renewable energy systems are biomass, including anaerobic digesters, wind, solar, small-hydo-electric, ocean, geothermal or hydrogen derived from renewable resources.

The second is the Energy Audit and Renewable Energy Development Assistance Grant, which is available to state, Tribal or local governments; institutions of higher education; rural electric cooperatives; public power entities; and councils. Recipients of the grants establish programs to assist agricultural producers and rural small businesses with evaluating the energy efficiency and the potential to incorporate renewable energy technologies into their operations.

In a notice published in the Federal Register, the USDA explains that it is issuing a notice of solicitation of applications (NOSA) prior to passage of a final appropriations act in order to allow potential applicants time to submit applications for financial assistance under REAP for fiscal year 2019, and to give the agency time to process applications within the current fiscal year. The USDA said it will publish the amount of funding received on its website.

There are several application deadlines, depending on the specific type of award sought. Additional information is available on the Federal Register website