REAP application deadline approaching

By Lisa Gibson | April 27, 2011

The deadline for fiscal year 2011 applications under the USDA's Rural Energy for America Program is June 15. The program assists eligible renewable energy and energy efficiency projects by providing funding up to 25 percent of the total project cost, with a maximum amount of $250,000 for energy efficiency projects and $500,000 for renewable energy projects.

REAP is designed to assist farmers, ranchers and rural small businesses that can demonstrate their financial need. All agricultural producers who gain 50 percent or more of their gross income from their agricultural operations are eligible, according to the USDA. Small businesses that are located in rural areas can also apply, and rural electric cooperatives may be eligible as well.

Eligibility for energy efficiency funding include most rural projects that reduce energy use and result in savings for the agricultural producer or small business, according to the USDA. That includes projects such as retrofitting lighting or insulation, or purchasing or replacing equipment with more efficient units. Eligible renewable energy projects include those that produce energy from wind, solar, biomass, geothermal, hydro power and hydrogen-based sources. The projects can produce any form of energy including, heat, electricity or fuel.

Applications can be submitted to rural development state offices. For more information, click here.