Home News Michigan Ag News USDA Grants, Loans Available for Renewable Energy Systems, Efficiency Improvements Assistance

USDA Grants, Loans Available for Renewable Energy Systems, Efficiency Improvements Assistance

USDA is offering grants and loan guarantees to help rural businesses and agricultural producers reduce their energy costs and consumption.

The funding is being provided through USDA Rural Development’s Rural Energy for America Program (REAP). Loans and grants are available to install renewable energy systems or make energy efficiency improvements.

 

The anaerobic digester Pennwood Dairy Farms, Berlin, Pennsylvania uses to produce energy for the dairy. The digester produces one million kilowatt hours; half of the energy needs of the farm, the other five hundred kilowatt hours are sold back to the grid. An anaerobic digester is a component of a waste management system that provides biological treatment in the absence of oxygen. The digester captures biogas for energy production, manages odors, reduces the net effect of greenhouse gas emissions, and reduces pathogens. The anaerobic digester practice is part of a planned conservation management system that manages manure and/or comprehensive nutrient management system. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack visited the dairy Tuesday, July 17, 2012 to announce the United States Department of Agriculture’s energy efficiency programs and announced a new effort to help rural consumers make affordable, energy-efficient improvements to their homes and businesses. Photo by Bob Nichols
The anaerobic digester practice is part of a planned conservation management system that manages manure and/or comprehensive nutrient management system. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack visited the dairy Tuesday, July 17, 2012 to announce the United States Department of Agriculture’s energy efficiency programs and announced a new effort to help rural consumers make affordable, energy-efficient improvements to their homes and businesses. Photo by Bob Nichols

Renewable energy systems include solar, wind, geothermal, anaerobic digesters, renewable biomass, hydrogen and hydropower. Energy efficiency improvements include lighting, refrigeration, facility improvements (such as adding insulation or replacing windows), heating and cooling upgrades, motor replacements and automated control upgrades.

According to Tess Van Gorder, Michigan Farm Bureau (MFB) associate policy and regulatory specialist in the organization’s Ag Ecology Department, MFB policy developed by members through the grassroots policy process supports incentives for renewable energy production for sale or use on farms and education and policy programs to promote sound energy conservation.

“Making energy efficiency upgrades on your farm can help increase your profitability by decreasing the amount of energy you use for day to day activities and therefore decreasing your energy costs,” Van Gorder said. “This could be anything from upgrading lighting to installing high efficiency heating systems. Renewable energy is another opportunity for farmers to show their dedication to being environmental stewards and to generate their own energy.”

American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) policy supports adequate funding for the REAP program using renewable sources of energy and incentivizing farmers to voluntarily improve on-farm energy efficiency.

In this announcement by USDA Rural Development’s REAP:

Grants of up to 25% of a project’s total costs are available.

  • The maximum grants are $250,000 for energy efficiency improvements and $500,000 for renewable energy systems

Loans guarantees of up to 75% of a project’s total costs are available.

  • The minimum loan is $5,000
  • The maximum loan is $25 million

Application deadline:  March 31, 2020 – unrestricted grant requests ($1,500 to $500,000)

Guaranteed Loans will be accepted on a continuing basis

Application templates are available at USDA Rural Development offices or on the national website.

For more information, contact USDA Rural Development Business Programs at (517) 324-5157.