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USDA Renewable Energy & Efficiency Grants for Growers

Nurseries: USDA Rural Development REAP Program provides funding for energy efficiency upgrades, specifically targeted to small businesses in rural areas. This might be a resource for you to finally get that solar or LED program going …

  • Does most of your income come from growing?
  • Is your small business located in a rural area or town of 50,000 people or less?
  • Do you want to reduce your energy costs?
  • Do you want to generate your own energy?

If YES, REAP may be able to help. Learn more about REAP:
Contact Rural Development Energy Coordinator:
Theresa Purnell, USDA Rural Development
4440 NW 25th Place, Gainesville, FL 32606
Tel: (352) 338-3412

Jeff and Marianne Marstaller, owners of Cozy Acres Greenhouse needed to expand their greenhouse operations, and were determined to expand it in a cost-effective and energy-efficient way. Using a $48,750 REAP grant from USDA Rural Development, along with their own funds, the Marstallers constructed a net-zero emissions greenhouse.
Kathy Bridges and Ken Dunder, owners of Santiem Valley Ranch, a warm-water fish supplier, identified a way to cut their energy costs. They purchased a
20,400-watt solar photovoltaic system with assistance from a $10,351 REAP grant and one year later, had no fuel bills.

Funding Opportunities
You can receive grants up to $250,000 for energy efficiency projects and up to $500,000 for renewable energy projects. Guaranteed loans are awarded up to $25 million for eligible projects.

Grants cover up to 25 percent of a project’s eligible costs.

  • A rural farmer received a $3,657 grant to install a solar electric system.

Combined grants and guaranteed loans cover up to 75 percent of a project’s eligible costs.

  • A small community grocery store owner received $97,500 in combined grant and loan guarantee funds to make energy efficiency improvements.

Guaranteed loans cover up to 75 percent of a project’s eligible costs.

  • A swine operation owner received a $5 million loan guarantee for an anaerobic digester.

Does your project cost less than $80,000?
REAP provides the following:

  • Designated funds for small projects
  • Simple applications
  • Streamlined process

Contact your local Rural Development Energy Coordinator:

Lower Energy Cost
Reduce energy and/or utility bills with energy efficiency projects
REAP can help fund energy efficiency improvement projects, such as:

  • Energy efficient lighting
  • Upgraded refrigeration systems
  • Improvements to facility insulation, duct work, and windows
  • Heating and cooling equipment upgrades; programmable thermostats, new HVAC units

REAP Savings!
Heating and cooling can account for up to 40 percent of electricity use – a more efficient system saves money. Insulation can reduce energy costs by 10–30 percent. LED lighting uses up to 75 percent less electricity than traditional lighting systems.
Power Your Business
Generate your own energy for your business operations. REAP can help fund renewable energy systems such as:

  • Solar panels
  • Wind turbines
  • Hydropower systems (less than 30 megawatts)
  • Geothermal systems
  • Anaerobic digesters
  • Other

You may even be able to sell your power to a local utility.

REAP Power!
Owners of Ideal Dairy restaurant installed 80 solar modules and two 10-kilowatt inverters (converts energy from solar panels to electricity). With this type of equipment, the owners were able to generate energy and have reported savings, on average, of $400 per month. Furthermore, this allows resources to preserve the restaurant, which is a historic gathering place for the community.

Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) Renewable Energy & Energy Efficiency
What does this program do?
Provides guaranteed loan financing and grant funding to agricultural producers and rural small businesses to purchase or install renewable energy systems or make energy efficiency improvements.
Who can apply?

  • Agricultural producers with at least 51% of gross income coming from agricultural operations, and
  • Small businesses in eligible rural areas.

NOTE: You must have no outstanding delinquent federal taxes, debt, judgment or debarment.
What is an eligible area?
• 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.
How may the funds be used?
Funds may be used for the purchase, installation and construction of renewable energy systems, such as:

    • Biomass (for example: biodiesel and ethanol, anaerobic digesters, and solid fuels).
    • Geothermal for electric generation or direct use.
    • Hydropower below 30 megawatts.
    • Hydrogen.
    • Small and large wind generation.
    • Small and large solar generation.
    • Ocean (tidal, current, thermal) generation.

Funds may also be used for the purchase, installation and construction of energy efficiency improvements, such as:

    • High efficiency heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems (HVAC).
    • Insulation.
    • Lighting.
    • Cooling or refrigeration units.
    • Doors and windows.
    • Electric, solar or gravity pumps for sprinkler pivots.
    • Switching from a diesel to electric irrigation motor.
    • Replacement of energy-inefficient equipment.

What funding is available?

    • Loan guarantees on loans up to 75% of total eligible project costs.
    • Grants for up to 25% of total eligible project costs.
    • Combined grant and loan guarantee funding up to 75% of total eligible project costs.

What are the loan guarantee terms?

    • $5,000 minimum loan amount.
    • $25 million maximum loan amount.
    • Up to 85% loan guarantee.
    • Rates and terms negotiated with the lender and subject to USDA approval.
    • Maximum term of 30 years for real estate.
    • Maximum term of 15 years, or useful life, for machinery and equipment.
    • Maximum term of 7 years for capital loans.
    • Maximum term of 30 years for combined real estate and equipment loans.

What are the grant terms?
Renewable Energy System Grants:
• $2,500 minimum.
• $500,000 maximum.
Energy Efficiency Grants:
• $1,500 minimum.
• $250,000 maximum.
Are there additional requirements?
• Applicants must provide at least 75% of the project cost if applying for a grant only.
• Applicants must provide at least 25% of the project cost if applying for loan, or loan and grant combination.
• Projects greater than $200,000 require a technical report.
• Energy efficiency projects require an energy audit or assessment.

How do we get started?
Applications for this program are accepted year round at your local office.

Who can answer questions?
CONTACT: LaTasha Thomas Pace, Area Specialist
United States Department of Agriculture Rural Development
8390 Champions Gate Blvd, Suite 210,
Champions Gate, FL 33896
Phone: 863.438.3736|Fax:855.474.8230

What governs REAP?
• Basic Program – 7 CFR 4280, Subpart B
• This program is authorized by Title IX of the Agricultural Act of 2014, (2014 Farm Bill)

NOTE: Because citations and other information may be subject to change please always consult the program instructions listed in “What Law Governs this Program?” You may also contact your local office for assistance. You will find additional forms, resources, and program information at

USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer. United States Department of Agriculture Rural Energy for America Program (REAP)

This program helps increase American energy independence by increasing the private sector supply of renewable energy and decreasing the demand for energy through energy efficiency improvements. Over time, these investments can also help lower the cost of energy costs for small businesses and agricultural producers.