REAP Grant and Loan

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The Rural Energy for America Program, or REAP, is a program by USDA that provides loans and grants to farmers and rural businesses interested in renewable energy and energy efficiency improvements. The goal of the REAP grant is to provide energy independence and efficiency to those further out from the energy grid. 

What funds are available and what can they be used for?

Loans are available up to 75% of total eligible projects whereas the grants are available for up to 50% of total eligible project costs. Projects that are a Renewable Energy System, will be installed in an Energy Community, are an Energy Efficiency Improvement, or are proposed by a Tribal Corporation are entitled to the 50% of the grant funds. For those looking to combine both the loan and grant, funds are available for up to 75% of total eligible project costs.

The REAP grant and loans may be used for purchasing and the installation of renewable energy systems. This can include Solar, Wind Generation, Hydropower, etc. The funding can also be used for energy efficiency improvements such as high efficiency heating, insulation, lighting, etc. For a full list of what the funds can be used for, click here.

Who can apply to the REAP Grant and Loan?

The REAP grant is available to farmers and small rural businesses. To qualify, 50 percent of the agricultural producers gross income must come from agricultural operations. As for small businesses, they must be located in an eligible rural area. Small businesses must be located in a rural area with a population density of 50,000 residents or less. Click here to see eligible rural areas on the USDA Rural Eligibility map. In addition to being in a rural area, a small business must also have one of the following based on the USDA site:

  • “Private for-profit entity (sole Proprietorship, Partnership, or Corporation)
  • A Cooperative [including those qualified under Section 501(c)(12) of IRS Code]
  • An electric utility (including a Tribal or governmental electric utility) that provides service to rural consumers and operates independent of direct government control)
  • A Tribal corporation or other Tribal business entities that are chartered under Section 17 of the Indian Reorganization Act (25 USC 477) or have similar structures and relationships with their Tribal entity without regard to the resources of the Tribal government.”

Agricultural producers do not need to fall within the USDA rural area in order to qualify for the REAP grant and loan.

Who can apply to the REAP Grant and Loan?

The grant and the loan have a few different requirements when it comes to applying. Applicants for the grant must provide the entirety of the project cost upfront. The grant share will then be credited back to the applicant. As for the loan, applicants must provide at least 25% of the cost of the project up front.

Next Steps

If you qualify for the REAP grant or loan and are interested in going solar, the next step is to reach out to Rhino Renewables! We work with a third party grant writer who specializes in REAP grants for folks adding Solar to their farm or business in eligible areas. From there, Rhino Renewables offers a turnkey design and build process taking clients through permitting, interconnection, design, procurement, installation and maintenance. 

Applications for the REAP program are accepted all year-round with the following application windows.

  • June 30, 2023 
  • September 30, 2023 
  • December 31, 2023 
  • March 31, 2024 
  • June 30, 2024
  •  September 30, 2024

Click here for the North Carolina USDA office!


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