USDA sets deadline for rural renewable energy grant applications

USDA officials on Oct. 18 announced the next annual deadlines for the Rural Energy for America Program, which provides rural small businesses and agricultural producers loans and grants to fund renewable energy and energy efficiency projects. Guaranteed loans are also available under the program. NEW: Join us December 15 in Aiken, SC for a USDA REAP grant workshop! “These projects create long-term, economic benefits for businesses and rural communities,” said Sam Rikkers, USDA’s Rural Business-Cooperative Service Administrator. “USDA’s funding helps promote U.S. energy independence and supports the production of home-grown energy sources. I encourage all eligible applicants to take advantage of this opportunity. These investments can help a small business cut costs, expand operations, hire more workers and provide a better service to the communities in which they operate.” Eligible applicants for renewable energy system and energy efficiency loans and grants include agricultural producers and rural small businesses, which may include tribal business entities, rural electric cooperatives and public power entities. Renewable energy sources include wind, solar, renewable biomass (including anaerobic digesters), small hydro-electric, ocean, geothermal or hydrogen derived from these renewable resources. Congress created the REAP program in the 2002 Farm Bill and reauthorized it in the 2014 Farm Bill with guaranteed funding of no less than $50 million annually for the duration of the five-year bill. Applications for renewable energy system and energy efficiency grants of $20,000 or less are due by Oct. 31, 2016, for the first funding cycle and March 31, 2017, for the second funding cycle. USDA will set aside 20 percent of the funds for grants of $20,000 or less. Applications for renewable energy...