Farmers and manufacturers and other small business leaders are flocking to a program called Rural Energy for America or REAP that was first established in 2002 — over the years, the USDA has been busy awarding eligible beneficiaries grant funding through this program. Many of these innovations feature solar energy as a renewable and efficient source of power for agricultural production and much more.
An April article in Agri-Pulse online shows that the USDA REAP program has hit a total of $3 million billion in grants and loan guarantees since a 2008 reauthorization. REAP funding can deliver renewable energy grants up to a maximum of $500,000 – or half a million dollars.
A USDA fact sheet shows that agricultural producers need to have at least half of their gross income coming from agricultural or farm operations to take advantage of this program. However, in America’s rural areas, many other different types of businesses can apply as well, utilizing various rural Business Service programs.
As a major component of REAP applications, “small and large solar generation” is listed as an eligible use of REAP funds.
While the majority of REAP funds may have been used for energy efficiency, a significant number of applications have focused on using solar energy to grow America’s food and deliver agricultural products from the country’s heartlands.
A paper on Solar Energy Use in U.S. Agriculture looks in-depth at solar activities by farmers and ranchers and how these type of types of projects work.
Another element of USDA explanations of the REAP program shows that eligible businesses have to be in a geographical area with less than 50,000 inhabitants, which makes many areas of Albemarle County and surrounding counties perfect places for filing one of these grants.
SunDaySolar is an experienced solar contractor with broad knowledge of the REAP program and what it takes to utilize this federal law to improve a farm or business. Work with us to scale up and get renewable and sustainable energy resources, not just to help the planet, but also to build your business on a firmer foundation. We excel in the kinds of small business projects that applicants often apply for under REAP. We can also advise clients on what types of projects have been successful in the past, and what’s typical in the Central Virginia region. Let us help you to figure out your way toward cleaner, more reliable energy.