On October 18, 2016, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Business-Cooperative Service published a notice in the FEDERAL REGISTER soliciting applications for the $50 million that they expect will be appropriated in FY 2017 for the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP). The REAP is composed of two different grant and loan guarantee programs designed to help agricultural producers and rural small businesses reduce energy costs and consumption, and to help meet the Nation’s critical energy needs. Tribes are among the eligible entities and in an effort to ensure that small projects have a fair opportunity to compete for funding, the Rural Business-Cooperative Service will set aside 20 percent of FY 2017 funds for grants of $20,000 or less.
Applications for REAP grants and loans are accepted on a rolling basis but each program has a different deadline by which applications must be received in order to be considered for the current fiscal year’s funds. Please see the notice for further information on application deadlines and instructions. A copy of the solicitation may be found here: https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2016/10/18/2016-25163/notice-of-solicitation-of-applications-for-the-rural-energy-for-america-program-for-federal-fiscal
REAP: Renewable Energy Systems and Energy Efficiency Improvement Assistance. This program provides grants, guaranteed loans, or the option to combine a grant and guaranteed loan to agricultural producers and to rural small businesses: to purchase and install renewable energy systems or to make energy efficiency improvements to their operations. Eligible renewable energy systems include: wind, solar, renewable biomass, small hydro-electric, ocean, geothermal, or hydrogen derived from these resources. For renewable energy system grants, the minimum grant is $2,500 and the maximum is $500,000. For energy efficiency improvement grants, the minimum grant is $1,500 and the maximum is $250,000. For loan guarantees under either category, the minimum guaranteed amount is $5,000 and the maximum is $25 million. Guaranteed loans and combined grants and guaranteed loans cannot exceed 75 percent of eligible project costs. Also, any federal grant portion may not to exceed 25 percent of total eligible project costs, whether the grant is part of a grant and loan combination or is for a grant only.
REAP: Energy Audit and Renewable Energy Development Assistance. This program provides grants to tribal, state and local governments and to institutions of higher education; rural electric cooperatives; and public power entities so that they can establish programs to assist agricultural producers and rural small businesses with evaluating the energy efficiency of their operations as well as the potential to incorporate renewable energy technologies into their operations. The maximum grant amount is $100,000. Grantees are required to charge energy audit recipients 25 percent of the cost of the energy audit.
Please let us know if we may provide additional information or assistance regarding the Rural Energy for America Program’s funding opportunities.