December 30, 2014
The Rural Energy for America Program (REAP), a farm bill energy title program, is open for applicants at any time, but application cut-off dates are announced annually. For 2015, the dates range from February through June, as detailed below and in the Federal Register of December 28, 2014.
REAP provides two types of funding assistance — grants and guaranteed loans for renewable energy production and energy efficiency improvements for farms and rural small businesses, and grants for energy audits and renewable energy planning and development made to service providers who work with farmers and rural small businesses.
Each year the farm bill makes available $50 million for REAP, an amount sometimes supplemented by a small annual appropriation. This particular grant cycle will use farm bill funding for both Fiscal Year 2014 and 2015, meaning twice as much funding will be available than normal. USDA predicts that approximately 2,000 awards will be made.
Wind, solar, biomass, digesters, and geothermal are among the energy systems that can be funded by REAP.
For complete information on REAP see our NSAC Grassroots Guide to Federal Farm and Food Programs as well as USDA’s REAP website.
For farms or small businesses seeking renewable energy or energy efficiency improvement grants for which the requested amount is less than $20,000, the deadline for 2015 is April 30. For larger grants and for requests for a combination of a grant and a guaranteed loan, the deadline is also April 30. However, there is also a second batch cutoff date of June 30 for those larger grants or grant/loan combinations, as well as small grants not submitted in the first round.
For those who provide energy audit and energy development planning services, the deadline for those grants is February 12.
For farms and small businesses seeking a federal guarantee of a private loan but no grant, there is a rolling deadline of the first business day of each month, starting with the first month when at least eight applications have been received.
For further information, read the Federal Register notice or contact the USDA Rural Development Energy Coordinator for your state.