USDA's Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) provides guaranteed loan financing and grant funding to agricultural producers and rural small businesses for renewable energy systems or to make energy efficiency improvements. In addition, this funding helps rural businesses become more competitive by reducing energy costs and allowing them to participate in an ever-growing renewable energy environment. In the State of Tennessee, the following three projects were recently awarded funding:
- Gregory S. Taylor (Marion County) - Taylor, a poultry farmer, was awarded a $20,000 grant to install a 39.68 kW solar array in two poultry houses. The array will produce enough power for five households.
- Russ Carmichael (McMinn County) - Carmichael's dairy farm in Riceville received a $7,250 grant to assist with the installment of a 14.1 kW solar array, which is an expansion on an existing 35 kW solar array installed in 2013.
- Dunlap Industries, Inc. (Sequatchie County) - Dunlap, an American-owned manufacturer of zippers, thread, and hook-and-loop, received a $126,092 grant to assist with the installation of a 258.85 kW solar array to be mounted on the roof of an existing building on the property.
Applications for FY17 REAP grants in the amount of $20,000 or less are due by October 31, 2016 and March 31, 2017. Applications for grants of $500,000 or less are due by March 31, 2017. Applicants may also apply for Guaranteed Loans at any time throughout the year. As of this month, USDA has expended $200 million out of its $300 million loan program. Typical projects include solar, bioenergy, and energy efficiency projects. For more information on USDA's REAP program, click here.
USDA also offers grant funding through its Energy Audit/Renewable Energy Development Assistance (REDA) program. This program sets up a "feeder" system for the general REAP grant as it provides up to $100,000 to eligible entities, who then conduct energy audits or provide renewable energy development assistance to rural small businesses and agricultural producers. Applications for this program are due by January 31. For more information, or to apply, click here.