USDA announces funding for green energy projects

U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. (Credit: U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. (Credit:

U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced Tuesday that rural agricultural producers and small business owners across the mainland and Puerto Rico can now apply for resources to purchase and install renewable energy systems or make energy efficiency improvements.

These efforts help farmers, ranchers and other small business owners save money on their energy bills, reduce the country’s dependence on foreign oil, support the clean energy economy, and cut carbon pollution. The 2014 Farm Bill makes the resources possible.

“Developing renewable energy presents an enormous economic opportunity for rural America,” Vilsack said. “The funding we are making available will help farmers, ranchers, business owners and other entities incorporate renewable energy and energy efficiency technology into their operations. Doing so can help a business reduce energy and costs while improving its bottom line. While saving producers money and creating jobs, these investments reduce dependence on foreign oil and cut carbon pollution as well.”

José Otero-García, Rural Development state director for Puerto Rico said application deadlines vary by project type and the kind of assistance requested.

USDA is offering grants for up to 25 percent of total project costs for renewable energy systems and energy efficiency improvements. The REAP application window has been expanded. USDA will now accept and review loan and grant applications year-round.

Eligible renewable energy projects must incorporate commercially available technology. This includes renewable energy from wind, solar, ocean, and renewable biomass. The maximum grant amount is $500,000 and the maximum loan amount is $25 million per applicant.

Energy efficiency improvement projects eligible for REAP funding include lighting, heating, cooling, ventilation, fans, automated controls and insulation upgrades that reduce energy consumption. The maximum grant amount is $250,000 and the maximum loan amount is $25 million per applicant.

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This story was written by our staff based on a press release.

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