Funding now available for energy projects for agricultural producers and rural small businesses

More than $80 million in grant funding is now available for agricultural producers and rural small business owners to purchase and install renewable energy systems or make energy efficiency improvements through the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP).

USDA is offering grants for up to 25 percent of total project costs and loan guarantees for up to 75 percent of total project costs for renewable energy systems and energy efficiency improvements.

Eligible applicants include agricultural producers with at least 50% of gross income coming from agricultural operations, and small businesses in eligible rural areas. Agricultural producers and small businesses must have no outstanding delinquent federal taxes, debt, judgment or debarment.

Businesses must be in an area other than a city or town with a population of greater than 50,000 inhabitants and the urbanized area of that city or town.Check eligible business addresses. Agricultural producers may be in rural or non-rural areas.

Eligible renewable energy projects must incorporate commercially available technology. This includes renewable energy from wind, solar, ocean, small hydropower, hydrogen, geothermal and renewable biomass (including anaerobic digesters). The maximum grant amount is $500,000, and the maximum loan amount is $25 million per applicant.

Energy efficiency improvement projects eligible for REAP funding include lighting, heating, cooling, ventilation, fans, automated controls and insulation upgrades that reduce energy consumption. The maximum grant amount is $250,000, and the maximum loan amount is $25 million per applicant.

While most grant programs require you to receive an award decision before beginning your project, REAP allows you to begin incurring costs (at your risk) as soon as your application has been submitted, allowing you to start enjoying the benefits of your system right away.

Applications are due April 30, 2015, with a second round due date of June 30, 2015.

Morrison has extensive experience writing competitive grant proposals and performing feasibility studies for REAP. In 2011, Morrison assisted client Roberti Ranch in securing the largest REAP grant award in California and the largest REAP loan guarantee in the nation.

If you are interested in applying for REAP funding or have further questions on the program, please contact Morrison Consultant Stacy Kennedy at 530-893-4764, ext. 203 or skennedy@morrisonco.net, or any member of the Morrison team.

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Morrison provides business valuations, business planning (including budgeting, cash flow forecasting, strategic planning), feasibility studies, interim executive CFO services, competitive grant writing, recruitment, and special projects that don't fit into any conventional category. Contact us here for more information.

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