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Agricultural Solar Grants and Loans

By James Kennedy, Founder and President Beach Cities Solar Consulting LLC

Agricultural Solar Grants and Loans

The U.S. Department of Agriculture awarded $207 million in Agricultural Solar Grants and Loans to renewable energy and fertilizer projects last quarter, with the majority of funds supporting solar infrastructure and anaerobic digestion.

Approximately 450 projects seeking solar improvements received more than $65 million in total funding from the USDA’s Rural Energy for America Program (REAP), according to an agency list reviewed by BCSC LLC. Most earned tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars to support installing solar panels, while a handful of larger systems projects received up to $1 million in funding.

What is the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP)?

REAP is a USDA program that gives farmers loans (at low interest) and grants (free money!) to install renewable energy or make energy efficiency improvements on their farm or ranch. You can get up to $500,000 for installing things like:

  • Solar panels
  • Wind turbines
  • Biomass
  • Hydropower
  • Geothermal energy

If you prefer focusing on energy efficiency improvements, you can get up to $250,000 for eligible project costs such as:

  • HVAC
  • More efficient insulation
  • Lighting
  • Cooling or refrigeration units
  • Doors and windows
  • Switching from a diesel to electric irrigation motor
  • or replacing energy inefficient equipment (like grain dryers).

 

Agricultural Solar Grants and Loans from the USDA can help your rural farm or business save millions

While this is pretty exciting, it’s important to note that a REAP grant will only cover 25 percent of your costs while a REAP loan guarantees up to 75 percent of the project cost. This program is an example of a cost share where if your project costs $1,000,000 they will only fund 25 percent (or $250,000). That means you must be prepared to pay for 75 percent of the costs (or in this scenario $750,000).  Farms and businesses in rural areas that qualify are any areas other than:
(1) A city or town that has a population of greater than 50,000 inhabitants; and
(2) The urbanized area contiguous and adjacent to such a city or town, as defined by the U.S. Bureau of the Census using the latest decennial census of the United States.

You should also note that REAP grants are considered taxable income, so it’s not likely that you’d receive a tax credit for that part of the installation that was funded by a REAP grant.

Contact Us

For more information on REAP Agricultural Solar Grants and Loans anywhere in the United States and Puerto Rico inquire today through the contact us button below!