Grants offered for renewable energy

WASHINGTON — USDA is seeking applications to provide assistance to agricultural producers and rural small businesses to complete a variety of energy efficiency and renewable energy projects.

Funding is available from USDA’s Rural Energy for America Program (REAP). The Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) is designed to help agricultural producers and rural small businesses reduce energy costs and consumption and help meet the Nation’s critical energy needs.

Budget

For 2012, USDA has approximately $25.4 million budget authority available to fund REAP activities, which will support at least $12.5 million in grant and approximately $48.5 million in guaranteed loan program level awards.

Renewable energy systems can include solar electric, solar thermal, wind, geothermal, biomass, blender pumps and anaerobic digestion systems. Energy efficiency improvement systems can include lighting improvements, insulation, electric motor replacements and other energy efficiency improvement projects as outlined in an energy audit.

Project costs

Grants are available on a competitive basis for up to twenty-five percent of the eligible project costs. Loan guarantees are also available for up to 75 percent of the eligible project costs.

Combination grant and loan guarantee applications cannot exceed seventy-five percent of eligible project costs. As in previous years, increased emphasis is being placed on projects which are requesting less than $20,000.

Congress has authorized a specific budget allocation to fund these smaller projects which provide energy efficiencies or can produce renewable energy for the applicant. Additional emphasis is being placed upon loan guarantees.

Benefit to lender

The loan guarantee program can be a great benefit to a lender looking to reduce their risk exposure while increasing their income and for a borrower to access capital on better rates and terms resulting in an improved cash flow and a successful business. Applications must be received by 4:30 p.m. March 30.

Parties interested in applying for a loan guarantee only must submit their complete application to the Ohio Rural Development State Office no later than 4:30 p.m. June 29.

Energy program

If you are interested in pursuing a grant or loan guarantee for the Rural Energy for America Program, please submit a complete application to the address listed below at your earliest opportunity.

The following individuals can assist in answering questions and providing application documents regarding this program.

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