August 16, 2013
The REAP program makes grants and loans available to farmers and businesses for energy conservation and renewable energy production purposes. REAP also funds energy audits and feasibility studies, as well as energy efficiency improvements and installation of renewable energy systems.
Many of the projects fund installations of photovoltaic solar systems, energy efficiency improvements to windows and HVAC systems, and replacement of irrigation systems, among other projects.
Nineteen feasibility study projects in thirteen states will receive grants averaging $15,241. The REAP program also announced $5,974,200 in loans and $15,772,773 in grants for 612 projects across the country.
REAP among the Stranded Programs
USDA was able to make REAP awards this year primarily using funding leftover from the 2008 Farm Bill, plus a small appropriation. The program, however, is one of the many programs that was left stranded by the temporary farm bill extension approved by Congress at the beginning of 2013. Without either a new five-year farm bill or another farm bill extension that this time does not leave out extended funding for renewable energy, rural development, beginning farmers, organic agriculture and the other currently stranded programs, REAP will have to rely solely on any appropriated funds for 2014. The pending House and Senate appropriations bills for fiscal year 2014 include just $3 and $4 million, respectively, for REAP.