The Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) offers unprecedented benefits for the U.S. economy. Farm, ranch, and small business owners are eligible to apply for grant funding to support renewable energy upgrades.
These initiatives are designed to ultimately increase domestic sustainability and reduce dependency on foreign energy, specifically oil. Below are details that will better help you understand REAP’s benefits and how to apply for the resources it provides.
Funding Availability Through REAP
In total, the REAP outlines provisions for over $400 million in federal funding. Many small businesses and some corporations may be eligible for grant awards under the program. Rural energy for America resources are not limited to those in rural professions. However, stipulations within the program limit the specific projects that are covered by federal grant funding.
Qualifying Renewable Energy Projects
Opportunities under the REAP guidelines cover options across virtually every industry. In general, projects that increase energy efficiency or reduce the carbon footprint of a company or region are likely to be eligible for a grant award. The program, which has undergone many transformations before the final version was approved in 2017, was developed to improve the quality of life in rural America.
The larger picture is that these relatively small improvements will ultimately benefit the entire nation in a variety of tangible ways. The Interagency Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity was designed in an effort to determine how to best utilize resources to create the most impact.
Corporate recipients such as major hoteliers have been awarded funding for the installation of solar panels. Solar panels not only reduce electricity costs over time, but they also reduce the strain on local power grid systems.
Restaurants and agricultural landowners have also received funding for improvements such as anaerobic digesters, insulation, and HVAC systems that decrease waste and loss of energy through inefficient ventilation. Other projects that focus on a switch to renewable energy sources such as wind and solar power may also be covered.
Grant awards may cover a project in its entirety or offset a portion of the total cost. Renewable energy projects are reviewed on a case by case basis by a qualified agent familiar with the program.
Another major benefit of the Rural Energy for America Program is dedicated sustainability. Federal funding provided substantial funding for state and local resource centers. The Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development Office oversees regional REAP resource centers. The USDA rural development officers are responsible for overseeing and monitoring many factors affecting life in rural communities. These initiatives include but are not limited to reducing unemployment through job creation, encouraging business development, improving infrastructure, and providing adequate community resources.
These local offices are available in each state and provide assistance for applicants. Program specialists help prospects understand their eligibility, and provide status updates on existing applications as well. Field Accountants are available through regional offices and travel to meet with ranchers and farmers where applicable. Any of these REAP experts have information on a variety of funding options, including loans, that may benefit the applicant.
If you are applying for this grant to fund a renewable energy project, do not forget to get an appraisal so you understand the value of the project, as well as how it impacts your business’ overall value. Contact us today to get started.