Business owners and farmers alike are looking to solar to improve their operations.
Solar makes a lot of sense for the agriculture and business sector.
Over our 21+ years in solar construction, we’ve helped farmers turn unused rooftops and unproductive ground into long-term assets. We’ve helped businesses gain control over the volatile and rising cost of electricity. We’ve worked with farms and businesses alike to transform IRS Tax Payments into profitable infrastructure investments.
We know that a solar investment IS a significant financial investment. For business owners, incentives like the Solar Investment Tax Credit paired with electricity savings make the upfront investment attractive.
The USDA REAP Grant is one extra incentive that agricultural producers and rural business owners can use to finance their clean energy investment. The grant can cover up to 50% of the total cost of your solar installation. (Updated Feb. 2023, this amount was increased in 2023 from 25% to 50%)
When it’s time to plan the financing for your project, we bring in our specialists to write the USDA REAP grant. We work closely with you and the grant writers to turn around a high-quality grant application with fantastic odds.
This blog will share the eligibility, application, and deadline requirements for the USDA REAP grant.
And, when you’re ready to start planning a solar project for your rural business or agricultural operation, you’ll know if this is an incentive you’re eligible to take advantage of.
What is a REAP Grant?
Otherwise known as the Rural Energy for America Program, the USDA REAP Grant provides funding and loan financing to eligible rural small businesses and agricultural producers.
Agricultural operations and rural businesses can use the money to implement renewable energy systems or make energy efficiency improvements.
The USDA instituted the program to increase energy independence in the U.S., decrease the energy needs for rural agricultural producers and businesses, while also generating a higher supply of clean energy.
Who Qualifies for REAP Grants?
Agricultural producers who make at least 50% of their gross income from agricultural operations can apply for the REAP Grant. Additionally, 51% of the electricity used must go towards farm operations.
Residential properties adjacent to the agricultural operation do not count toward the 51%.
For-profit rural businesses qualify for the REAP Grant. A rural location is defined as an area with 50,000 residents or less. Check your eligibility with your business address here. (https://eligibility.sc.egov.usda.gov/eligibility/welcomeAction.do?pageAction=ONERD)
REAP Grant Rounds
Grants are accepted on a rolling basis with review dates quarterly: on June 30th, September 30th, October 31st and March 31st annually. The USDA’s fiscal year begins on October 1st, so October marks the opening season for grant applications in a given year.
What are the grant terms?
For Solar Energy Installation Grants:
- $2,500 minimum
- $1,000,000 maximum ( Updated Feb. 2023, this amount was increased in 2023 from $500,000 to $1,000,000)
Remember, the grant can cover up to 50 % of the total solar installation cost. So, an $80,000 solar installation project would request $40,000 in grant funding. (Updated Feb. 2023, this amount was increased in 2023 from 25% to 50%)
- Projects that cost more than $200,000 must have a technical report completed before beginning installation.
- Once submitted, you can begin construction on your solar installation; however, there is no guarantee that you will be awarded the grant.
- Suppose the project is not awarded after the final round in the spring. In that case, an applicant can choose to submit a new application for the following USDA fiscal year, but only if they have not started construction or made significant payments at the time of re-submission.
Example Customer – Miller Prosthetics and Orthotics
“Since our installation, we have had several comments from our patients, employees, and community members on how they like our new solar panels…” – Nancy Miller, CEO, and co-owner of Miller Prosthetics & Orthotics.
This representative project reflects 2020 REAP benefits, which increased in 2023.
- Location – Belpre, Ohio
- Customer Type – Rural Business
- System Size – 14.2 kW
- Panel Type – 330 REC Twin Peak Mono Black
- Mounting Method – Roof mounted
- Inverter Type – SolarEdge
- Monitoring – Inverter based internet monitoring included
- Annual Energy Production (kWh) – 20,471 kWh
- Percentage of annual electricity demands – 99%
- Carbon offsets per year (lbs.) – 28,000
- Carbon offsets over 30 years – 840,000
- Solar PV System Cost – $34,892
- USDA REAP Grant – $-8,723
- Federal Tax Credit – $-9,072
- Federal -100% Bonus Depreciation – $-9,107
- Total Net Solar PV System Cost – $7,990
Are you a rural business or agricultural operation who would like to apply for a USDA REAP grant this year? If so, reach out now to get the process started!