EAST LANSING, April 25, 2011 – The United States Department of Agriculture is providing funding of $42 million in grants and up to $61 million in guaranteed loans nationally through the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP). Funds are available to help agricultural producers and rural small businesses develop renewable energy systems, make energy efficiency improvements and conduct studies to determine the feasibility of renewable energy systems.
New to this year’s REAP program is flexible fuel pumps, sometimes referred to as “blender pumps.” It is intended to provide fuel station owners with incentives to install flexible fuel pumps that will offer Americans more renewable energy options.
Michigan USDA Rural Development will have approximately $800,000 for grant requests greater than $20,000; approximately $482,000 available for grants less than $20,000; and $1.6 million available for REAP guaranteed loans. Once the state allocation has been exhausted, unfunded applications will then compete nationally.
Eligible projects in the 12 technology areas include:
- anaerobic digesters,
- biomass / biofuels,
- flex-fuel pumps
- geothermal (including electric generation and direct use),
- solar (small and large)
- small hydropower projects (30 megawatts or less),
- wind (small and large), and
- energy efficiency improvements.
Examples of energy efficiency projects include, but are not limited to: the installation of more energy efficient motors, pumps, fans, blowers, compressors, grain dryers, irrigation projects, refrigeration units, ventilation systems, windows, insulation, heating systems, lighting systems, and plumbing fixtures. Please note, costs associated with increases in capacity will be reduced from total eligible project costs.
Grants can cover up to 25 percent of total eligible costs. The minimum energy efficiency grant is $1,500 and maximum is $250,000. The minimum renewable energy grant is $2,500 and maximum is $500,000. For feasibility study grants, the maximum award is $50,000 or 25 percent of eligible study costs, whichever is less. Guaranteed loans can cover up to 75 percent of total eligible cost. Loan limits are a minimum of $5000 and a maximum of $25 Million.
Applications will be evaluated and selected based on the highest scoring projects and will be funded until all funds have been awarded. To be considered for any 2011 funding, all applications must be completed and received to the USDA Rural Development State Office or Area Offices, no later than June 15, 2011. Neither complete nor incomplete applications received after this date will be considered for fiscal year 2011 funding.
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