USDA Grant Money for Rural Energy Improvements

Note: This article was posted in 2009 and not all grants may still be available.

Government money is available to help your small business become more energy efficient.

The USDA is now offering a grant and loan program to improve energy efficiency in rural areas. The REAP/RES/EEI (Rural Energy for America Program Grants/ Renewable Energy Systems/ Energy Efficiency Improvement Program) Grants Program will provide funds to architectural producers and rural small businesses to purchase and install renewable energy systems and make energy efficient improvements.

The program is designed to assist farmers, ranchers and rural small businesses that are able to demonstrate financial need. Small businesses that are located in rural areas can also apply. Most rural projects that reduce energy use and result in savings for the agricultural producer or small business are eligible as energy efficient projects. These include projects such as retrofitting lighting or insulation, or purchasing or replacing equipment with more efficient units. One of the main requirements of the grant program is that the new equipment must be more energy efficient than the current equipment. An ‘energy audit’ will be performed comparing the energy usage of the old equipment to the new anticipated energy efficient equipment.

Walk-in coolers and freezers qualify for this grant program. Older walk-ins are not as efficient as new units built today. Some of the recent changes in the industry include the requirement to provide higher insulation r-values and refrigeration units with EC motors, which are much more energy efficient than older units. These upgrades will prove your new equipment to be more energy efficient, which will save you money on energy costs.

Nationwide there is $16 Million available for this program, which is divided among each state. The grants are awarded on a competitive basis and can be up to 25% of the eligible project cost, not to exceed $250,000 for energy efficiency improvements. At least 20% of the grant funds awarded must be for grants of $20,000 or less.

Application due date is July 31, 2009. To apply for funding for the Grant Program contact your Rural Development State Office.

If you are in need of new refrigeration equipment and meet the requirements above, why not take advantage of the government money set aside for these improvements.

For more info:

http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/rbs/busp/9006grant.htm