Considering an On-Farm Energy Project? REAP Can Help!

On Friday, March 27, SEI and AgConnect teamed up to offer REAP the Energy – Grants and Loans for Your Energy Projects. Jeff Gatano and Rory Piermattei from USDA joined us for a lunch-and-learn to talk about what kinds of projects REAP supports, the ranking system, and how to apply. REAP stands for Rural Energy for America Program and is managed by USDA.

Details on the loan program can be found here.

Other good summary is available here.

There are two types of projects REAP supports: energy efficiency and renewable energy.

Here are some examples of eligible projects. And here are some examples of ineligible projects.

If you are doing a renewable energy project, you can get the information needed about kilowatt per hour, dollar amount savings, or other needed information through your vendor. If you aren’t sure what to ask, Rory, or your local USDA representative can help.

If you’re considering an energy efficiency project, like putting new windows or lighting in your barn or on-farm store, or installing energy efficient refrigerators or freezers to store your products for market, you can find out the information needed from the equipment manufacturer, AND you can apply for the grant on your own – no need to pay a grant writer or consultant. In fact, Rory can help walk you through the entire process (if you’re in his SE PA service area. If you’re not, he can help connect you with his counterpart in your region!).

Rory’s contact: Rory Piermattei, Area Specialist (717) 272-3908, ext. 133

There are 3 different applications depending on the total project amount: less than $80,000; $80,000 to $200,000; and $200,000 and over. Applications for projects $20,000 are able to compete for ranking/funding more times per year (5) as opposed to $200,000 projects (maybe 2-3).

Keep in mind, REAP grants will cover up to 25% of a project. That means that the other at least 75% will need to come from your investment, or a loan from a bank or other institution. You cannot combine a REAP grant with another federal grant, but you CAN combine it with a state loan program. For example, to fund a project, you could use a 25% REAP grant, 50% Small Business First Loan from PA Department of Community and Economic Development (accessed through Seedcopa at CCEDC for Chester County, or your local Area Loan Organization that we can help connect you to), and 25% investment from you, which could be, for example, your time doing the installation work and not necessarily a cash investment.

Confused? It’s OK! We can help. Give Rory at USDA a call, or Jodi a call about CCEDC’s loan programs that can help you finance your on-farm energy project.

This program was funded, in part, from a grant from the PA Department of Community and Economic Development’s Discovered in PA, Developed in PA program.