Rural Clean Energy Awards and Grants Announced

Guest Blog | September 29, 2014 | Energy Policy, Solar
The United States Department of Agriculture's office of Rural Development administers the REAP grant program, among other clean energy incentives.

The USDA recently announced major new investments in clean, rural renewable energy and energy efficiency that will deliver significant benefits to our region and throughout the country. Here we will share those exciting announcements. New applications are also now being accepted for 2015 grants. Check out more on that below!

The 2014 Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) awarded $68 million in grants, nationwide. 540 different projects were selected to receive funding. Here in the Southeast, 82 grants were awarded, totaling more than $1,500,000. And because these are 25% cost-share grants, the awards leverage more than $4.5 million in private funds.

Sheep grazing beneath a solar installation in North Carolina. Photo credit: O2 Energies.

The projects approved this year include almost entirely solar and energy efficiency. North Carolina surpassed other Southeastern states in numbers of solar projects approved. In that state, Loan Guarantees were awarded for 18 solar farm projects (totaling $55.2 million of federal commitments), averaging 4.35 MW each. If all these solar projects are completed in North Carolina, more than 78 MW of new solar capacity will be added to the grid.

Here are tallies for several SE states where SACE works:

FL:  10 grants (5 solar, 5 EE), totaling $287,114.

GA:  23 grants (2 solar, 21 EE) totaling $390,310.

NC:  21 grants (4 solar, 17 EE, totaling $399,000) and 18 Loan Guarantees (all solar, totaling $55.2 m)

SC:  5 grants (1 solar, 4 EE), totaling $121,992.

TN:  23 grants (19 solar, 4 EE) totaling $327,408.

Farmers and small rural businesses who are interested in applying for USDA REAP cost-share grants for investments in clean energy equipment should contact their state office immediately. Applications are being accepted on a rolling basis, with the next deadline expected in November or December. Find your state USDA office contact person by clicking here.

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