The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced Thursday the availability of for loans and grants to support renewable energy and energy efficiency projects, ideal for rural small businesses, agency Under Secretary Lisa Mensah said.
“Helping rural small businesses save money on energy costs strengthens their bottom line and helps the U.S. become more energy independent,” Mensah said. “It also reduces our country’s carbon footprint, which leads to a cleaner environment and a more secure energy future.
USDA is accepting Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) applications for: loans and grants for renewable energy systems and energy efficiency improvements; and grants for energy audits and renewable energy development assistance.
José Otero-García, Rural Development State Director for Puerto Rico, said eligible agricultural producers and rural small businesses may use REAP loans and grants to purchase and install renewable energy systems and make energy efficiency improvements. Eligible renewable energy systems include energy from wind, solar, renewable biomass (including anaerobic digesters), small hydroelectric, ocean, geothermal, or hydrogen derived from these renewable resources.
Energy audits and renewable energy development assistance grants are available to state, or local governments; institutions of higher education; rural elective cooperatives and public power entities.
Through the REAP program, USDA has supported nearly 11,000 renewable energy and energy efficiency projects nationwide since the start of the Obama Administration. The Department has provided more than $367 million in grants and $354 million in loan guarantees to agricultural producers and rural small business owners during this period.