USDA Rural Development State Director Bobby Goode is encouraging small businesses in rural communities to apply for loans and grants to support renewable energy and energy efficiency projects.
USDA is accepting Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) applications for:
- energy audit and renewable energy development assistance grants, and
- renewable energy system and energy efficiency guaranteed loans and grants.
Eligible applicants for renewable energy system and energy efficiency loans and grants include agricultural producers and rural small businesses, which may include tribal business entities, rural electric cooperatives and public power entities. Eligible applicants for energy audit and renewable energy development assistance grants include state, tribal or local governments; institutions of higher education; and rural electric cooperatives and public power entities.
USDA Rural Development is moving investments to rural America with housing, business and infrastructure loans and grants to create jobs and strengthen rural economies emphasizing areas of persistent poverty.
Since 2009, the agency has assisted more than 1.5 million Tennessee families and businesses in 230 communities in all 95 counties of Tennessee, investing more than $6.6 billion through affordable loans, loan guarantees, and grants.
We should note the application deadline for energy audit and renewable energy development assistance grants is Jan. 31, 2017. Applications for renewable energy system and energy efficiency grants of $20,000 or less were due Oct. 31, 2016, for the first funding cycle but for the second funding cycle they are due March 31, 2017.
Meanwhile, applications for renewable energy system and energy efficiency grants of greater than $20,000 and all combination grants and guaranteed loans are due by March 31, 2017.
Applications for renewable energy system and energy efficiency grants or for loan/grant combinations that are received after March 31, 2017 will be considered in Fiscal Year 2018, which starts Oct. 1, 2017. Guaranteed loan applications will be reviewed and processed when received, with periodic competitions. For additional information, contact the USDA energy coordinator in Tennessee.
To find out what types of renewable energy systems the funds may be used for or which energy efficiency improvements qualify, please click here.