Grants, Incentives & Financing

The Connecticut Farm Energy Program provides technical assistance in the form of grant writing to eligible Ag producers and Ag based rural small businesses that are located in Connecticut with applying for USDA – Rural Development REAP (Rural Energy for America Program) Grants.  REAP Grants which are part of the Farm Bill, provide assistance to those who are eligible with Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy projects. In addition to the grant writing assistance with REAP, the Connecticut Farm Energy Progam can help direct you to other state and federal energy programs with sources of funding, incentives and financing available. Call our office today at 860-345-3977 for more information!

CT Farm Energy Program

Since 2010 the Connecticut Farm Energy Program has helped CT AG Producers & Rural Small Businesses secure over $2 million dollars in grant assistance and loans through the USDA Rural Development REAP program. These grant dollars are then leveraged beyond the USDA REAP program, this means that over $8 million dollars in Energy Efficient and Renewable Energy Projects have been implemented on CT farms and agriculturally based rural small businesses with the technical assistance of the Connecticut Farm Energy Program. Additionally the Connecticut Farm Energy Program also assists with securing other additional incentives, rebates, grants and financing to help CT farms and rural small businesses become energy sustainable.

 

Current Funding Available

Federal and CT Incentives for Energy Conservation and Renewable Energy
Below is a list of information on federal, state, local, and utility incentive programs.
It lists them individually noting funds available, eligibility, purpose, and authorized uses.
USDA Rural Development
USDA Rural Development: Rural Energy for America Program (REAP)
See Website for more information: www.rurdev.usda.gov/mareap.html
Contact: Windsor Area Office, 860-688-7725
1) Energy Efficiency: Funds available: Grants to $250,000 – cannot exceed 25% of total project cost Guaranteed Loans up to $10 million with rates and terms negotiated. Uses: Energy efficient improvements, including, machinery and equipment – energy blankets, audits,energy efficient real estate improvements.

2) Energy Generation: Funds available: Grants to $500,000 maximum – cannot exceed 25% of total project cost. Guaranteed Loans up to $10 million with rates and terms negotiated Uses: The purchase & installation of Renewable energy generation systems, including: Biomass, geothermal, solar, windand hydropower.

CT Farm Energy Program
Contact: 860-345-3977 www.ctfarmenergy.org
A program of the Connecticut Resource Conservation and Development Area, Inc. (RC&D) and the USDA - Rural Development. CT Farm Energy Program (CFEP) serves as a clearinghouse for information about farm energy grants, incentives, loans and opportunities. CFEP provides grant writing assistance to eligible USDA REAP (Rural Energy for America Program) applicants.

USDA NRCS Environmental Quality Incentive Program www.nrcs.usda.gov
Contact: NRCS 1-860-871-4011 or Service Center Agricultural Energy Management Plan provides funding for on-farm energy audits and energy efficiency cost sharing after audits, including thermal curtains, HAF fans, greenhouse insulation, more efficient pumps, maple syrup energy improvements, and more.

NRCS, USDA – Agricultural Energy Management Plan (AGEMP)
The Farm Bill provides authority to use EQIP for payment of practices and conservation activities involving the development of an agricultural energy management plan (AgEMP). The energy initiative is designed to help producers improve energy efficiency on their agriculture operations. This initiative provides funding for individual on-farm energy audits intended to save both money and energy, when fully implemented.

State of Connecticut: Department of Agriculture
Connecticut Viability Grants
Contact: 860-713-2503
Farm Transition Grant is due April 7, 2016. The Farm Transition Grant Program (FTG) (C.G.S. Sec. 22-26j) is a competitive matching grant program. The purpose of the program is to strengthen the economic viability of Connecticut farmers and agricultural cooperatives.  Producers and agriculture cooperatives applying for this grant may be awarded up to $49,999 in matching funds. For more information visit: www.ct.gov/doag

CT Green Bank www.ctcleanenergy.com
The Connecticut Green Bank The Clean Energy Finance and Investment Authority (CEFIA) was established by Connecticut’s General Assembly on July 1, 2011 as a part of Public Act 11-80. This new quasi-public agency, now known as the Connecticut Green Bank superseded the former Connecticut Clean Energy Fund. The Green Bank’s mission is to lead the green bank movement by accelerating
private investment in clean energy deployment for Connecticut to achieve economic prosperity, create jobs, promote energy security and address climate change. As the nation’s first full-scale green bank, the organization leverages public and private funds to drive investment and scale-up clean energy deployment in Connecticut. For more information about the CT Green Bank and their programs such
as the solar hot water and anaerobic digestion RFP, please visit www.ctcleanenergy.com.

C-Pace www.cpace.com
860-257-2176
C-PACE provides 100%, low-interest financing to add smart energy upgrades to buildings. Using money saved on energy bills, the building owner repays C-PACE financing through an annual benefit assessment charge on the building’s property tax bill. With additional savings to spare, property owners enjoy increased cash-flow while their building is improved.

CT Energy Efficiency Fund (CEEF) www.EnergizeCT.com
The Connecticut Energy Efficiency Fund (CEEF) works to advance the efficient use of energy; reduce air pollution and negative environmental impacts; and promote economic development and energy security. CEEF supports a variety of programs that provide financial incentives to help Connecticut consumers reduce the amount of energy used in their homes and businesses. CEEF is the result of a partnership with the state’s utility companies and funded by the conservation charge on customers’ bills.

Energize Connecticut Contact: 877-947-3873 (877-wise-use)
Purpose: An initiative of the CT Energy Efficiency Fund, the Clean Energy Finance and Investment Authority, and the State of Connecticut and the utility companies.
Expert advice provided to help your facility operate more efficiently, including rebates for energysaving and renewable energy improvements. We also connect you with funding resources for clean renewable energy or to make energy efficiency improvements (lighting, motors, heating, refrigeration, programmable thermostats, and energy management systems).

Utility Companies
Eversource: 866-324-2437 or visit www.eversource.com
United Illuminating (UI): 203-499-3622 or visit www.uinet.com
Virtual Net Metering
www.energizect.com/government-municipalities/programs/virtual-net-metering
Production from the generator is first used to reduce the electric consumption of the Customer Host. Surplus production can then be assigned (virtually) to reduce the electric bill of one or more Beneficial Accounts. Section 121 of Public Act 11-80 originaly authorized virtual net metering for Connecticut’s municipal customers. Section 35 of Public Act 13-298 expanded virtual net metering to include state
and agricultural customers. Surplus production from the Customer Host, referred to as Virtual Net Metering Credits, is assigned to the electric bill of the Beneficial Accounts. Virtual Net Metering Credits equal the generation charge and a portion of the Transmission and Distribution charges of the Customer Host. Virtual Net Metering Credits, which are applied monthly, will appear as a credit on the electric bill of each Beneficial Account. If the Customer Host produces more kWhs than the Host and the Beneficial Accounts together use in a billing period the excess kWhs, referred to as Unassigned Virtual Net Metering Credits, are ‘banked’ and can be applied to a future electric bill within the calendar year. Any Unassigned Virtual Net Metering Credits that remain ‘banked’ at the end of the calendar year are credited to the Customer Host’s electric bill.

Low and Zero Emission Renewable Energy Credits (LREC and ZREC)
CL&P and UI will accept bids from renewable energy project developers /owners on the energy their system will produce. This LREC/ZREC program creates a market-driven bidding process for projects to compete to obtain a 15-year revenue stream from the sale of RECs to the electric utilities. The Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (PURA) approved CL&P and UI’s LREC/ZREC Program solicitation process, contracts and additional methods in Docket No. 11-12-06 on April 4, 2012. More information can be found at CL&P and UI’s websites.
Low Emission Renewable Energy Credits (LREC) and Zero Emission REC (ZREC) –Most farms fall under the ‘small projects’ category just launched by the utility companies in 2013. Farms will get a set amount of credits based on the energy produced over a period of fifteen years.

 

Details on REAP Funding

REAP Grants
USDA Rural Development's Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) administers grants, guaranteed loans, and combination grant/guaranteed loans to help agricultural producers and rural small businesses purchase and install renewable energy systems and make energy efficiency improvements. Originally established in Section 9006 of the 2002 Farm Bill, the program was re-authorized in the 2014 Farm Bill. If a farm operation does not meet the program definition of an agricultural producer, it may apply as a rural small business, provided that it meets the applicable SBA standard.

How much are the grants?
The grants are awarded on a competitive basis and can be up to 25% of total eligible project costs. Grants are limited to a max of $500,000 for renewable energy systems and $250,000 max for energy efficiency improvements. Grant requests min is $2,500 for renewable energy systems and $1,500 for energy efficiency improvements.

Who is eligible?
The program is designed to assist farmers, ranchers and rural small businesses that are able to demonstrate financial need. All agricultural producers, including farmers and ranchers, who gain 50% or more of their gross income from the agricultural operations are eligible. Small businesses that are located in a rural area can also apply. Rural electric cooperatives may also be eligible to apply.

What types of projects are eligible?
Most rural projects that reduce energy use and result in savings for the agricultural producer or small business are eligible as energy efficiency projects. These include projects such as retrofitting lighting or insulation, or purchasing or replacing equipment with more efficiency units. Eligible renewable energy projects include projects that produce energy from wind, solar, biomass, geothermal, hydro power and hydrogen-based sources. The projects can produce any form of energy including, heat, electricity, or fuel.

For all projects, the system must be located in a rural area if applying as a small business, must be technically feasible, must meet environmental requirements, and must be owned by the applicant. For Renewable Energy Projects no residential use can benefit from the system, business only.

REAP Guaranteed Loan Program
For more information about the REAP Guaranteed Loan Program please contact:

Anne Correia, Energy Coordinator 
Business and Cooperative Programs
Rural Development - MA/CT/RI
United States Department of Agriculture
15 Cranberry Highway
West Wareham, MA 02576 
Phone: 508-295-5151 x136 

REAP Summary
How much assistance can be provided?

  • Grant: 25% of total eligible costs
  • Guaranteed Loan: 75% of total eligible costs
  • Combination grant and guaranteed loan: 75% of total eligible costs

Minimum grant amounts:

  • Renewable Energy projects: $2,500
  • Energy Efficiency projects: $1,500

Maximum grant amounts:

  • Renewable Energy projects: $500,000
  • Energy Efficiency projects: $250,000

Minimum guaranteed loan amounts:

  • Renewable Energy projects: $5,000
  • Energy Efficiency projects: $5,000

Maximum guaranteed loan amounts:

  • Renewable Energy projects: $25,000,000
  • Energy Efficiency projects: $25,000,000

Who is eligible?

Rural small businesses and agricultural producers.

How to Apply
To apply please contact your local Rural Development Office or the Connecticut Farm Energy Office at (860)345-3977.

Grant Application Information is available online.