USDA Rural Development REAP Program
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.
Successful USDA REAP Project Video from USDA Rural Development
Who is eligible?
The program is designed to assist farmers, ranchers and rural small businesses. 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.
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.
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.
Funds may be used for renewable energy systems, such as:
- Biomass (for example: biodiesel and ethanol, anaerobic digesters, and solid fuels)
- Geothermal for electric generation or direct use
- Hydropower below 30 megawatts
- Small and large wind generation
- Small and large solar generation
- Ocean (tidal, current, thermal) generation
Funds may also be used for the purchase, installation and construction of energy efficiency improvements, such as:
- High efficiency heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems (HVAC)
- Cooling or refrigeration units
- Doors and windows
- Electric, solar or gravity pumps for sprinkler pivots
- Switching from a diesel to electric irrigation motor
- Replacement of energy-inefficient equipment
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
How much assistance can be provided?
- Grant: up to 25% (max) 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
Are there additional requirements?
- Applicants must provide at least 75% of the project cost if applying for a grant only.
- Applicants must provide at least 25% of the project cost if applying for loan, or loan and grant combination.
- Projects greater than $200,000 require a technical report.
- Energy efficiency projects require an energy audit or assessment.