Tag Archives: Rural Energy for America Program (REAP)

Solar Solutions: Iowa hog farmer cuts power bill by double digits

Fort Dodge Messenger
Editor: Darcy Dougherty-Maulsby

The drop in [Dwight] Dial’s power bill has been dramatic since his solar equipment started powering his home and farm in mid-July. While his May-June 2018 electrical bill was $762 and the June-July bill was $580, the bill dropped to $263 after the solar system had run for 17 days in mid- to late-July. His August-September bill plunged to $77.

While the cost of Dial’s solar project totaled $85,000, he paid only a fraction of this, thanks to current tax incentives, grants and other resources. He received a 30 percent federal tax credit, along with a 15 percent state tax credit, for installing his solar energy system. He also worked with a local grant writer to apply for a federal grant, which he received. “That helped pick up another 13 percent of the system’s total cost,” Dial said. “With all the incentives, it was like paying $27 for something that normally costs $100.” Read more here.

Photo: Family Farm in Minden
Project: 21-kilowatt solar system in Minden, Nebraska installed by GC Resolve. This array provides most of the farm’s energy needs. The project was partly funded by a USDA Rural Energy for America (REAP) grant, which covered 25% of its cost. Additional financing was obtained through the Nebraska Energy Office’s low-interest loan program for solar installations.
Installer: Graham Christensen, GC Resolve
See Solar Examples to view more solar-powered Nebraska farms.

Ways Nebraska Food Producers, Rural & Urban, Can Significantly Cut the
Costs of Solar & Small Wind Projects

FEDERAL INCENTIVES

Federal Investment Tax Credit for solar systems and small wind turbines: 30% through 2018 and 2019. Small wind: 100 kilowatts or less. Source: Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency (DSIRE)

Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) Grants
NOTE: Qualified applicants include urban as well as rural food producers.
REAP grants provide up to 25% of the total project costs, and a grant and loan combination up to 75%. Eligible projects include renewable energy systems and the purchase, installation and construction of energy efficiency improvements.

See Also

LINCOLN ELECTRIC SYSTEM’S SOLAR INCENTIVE
LES offers customers a one-time capacity payment of up to $1,000 per kilowatt of peak demand reduced. The total amount customers can receive is determined by the primary direction the system is facing, for example:

  • Southern facing fixed-photovoltaic solar – the unit’s nameplate DC capacity (kW) x $375.
  • Western facing or single or dual axis tracking fixed-photovoltaic solar – the unit’s nameplate DC capacity (kW) x $475.
    Source: Customer-owned Renewable Generation

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

Business Equipment Depreciation Resources

USDA Seeks Applications for Renewable Energy, Energy Efficiency Loans and Grants

Assistant to the Secretary for Rural Development Anne Hazlett seeks applications for loan guarantees and grants for renewable energy systems and energy efficiency improvement projects.

The deadlines to apply for grants are Oct. 31, 2018, and April 1, 2019. Applications for loan guarantees are accepted year-round.

REAP helps agricultural producers and rural small businesses reduce energy costs and consumption by purchasing and installing renewable energy systems and making energy efficiency improvements in their operations. Read the entire release here.

Who may apply?
Small businesses in eligible rural areas and agricultural producers, both rural and non-rural, who have at least 50% of their gross income coming from agricultural operations, may apply.

REAP grants provide up to 25% of the total project costs, and a grant and loan combination up to 75%. Eligible projects include renewable energy systems and the purchase, installation and construction of energy efficiency improvements.

See REAP Fact Sheet for a complete list of eligible projects.
Nebraska REAP Program

Contact: Jeff Carpenter, Nebraska Rural Development Energy Coordinator
Telephone: 402-437-5554
Email: 
Jeff.Carpenter@ne.usda.gov

ADDITIONAL INCENTIVES

Federal Investment Tax Credit for solar systems and small wind turbines: 30% through 2018 and 2019. Small wind: 100 kilowatts or less. Source: Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency (DSIRE)

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

Business Equipment Depreciation Resources

SMALL & COMMUNITY WIND INFORMATION
American Wind Energy Association / Distributed Wind Energy Association

What is Distributed Wind Energy?
Distributed wind energy systems offer reliable electricity generation in a wide variety of global settings, including households, schools, farms and ranches, businesses, towns, communities and remote locations. Projects range for example from a 1-kilowatt (kW) or smaller off-grid wind turbine at a remote cabin or cell phone tower – to a 10-kW wind turbine at a home, small business, or small agricultural load – to several multi-megawatt (MW) wind turbines at a university campus, manufacturing facility or any large energy user.

What is Small Wind Energy?
Small wind is defined as wind turbines with a capacity rating of less than or equal to 100 kW. Turbines in this category range in size from smaller than 1 kW for off-grid applications to 100-kW turbines that can provide village power. Fifty-four small turbine models are offered commercially in the United States for applications including homes, schools, commercial and industrial facilities, telecommunications, farms and ranches, and communities.

DWEA (Distributed Wind Energy Association

DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY RESOURCES

  • Small Wind Guidebook, WINDExchange, Department of Energy
  • Distributed Wind Case Studies
    The Distributed Wind Installers’ Collaborative, which is funded by the U.S. Department of Energy, has produced a series of case studies showcasing the many facets and opportunities within the distributed wind industry. The first published case studies feature projects located on a dairy farm, at a net zero home, a recycling facility and a rural cooperative.

New study shows Facebook data centers contributed $5.8 billion to U.S. economy

RTI International analyzed Facebook’s expenditures for U.S. data center construction and operations and estimated that, when accounting for multiplier effects, Facebook data centers have contributed a cumulative $5.8 billion in gross domestic product (GDP) to the U.S. economy from 2010-2016, or $835 million per year. This contribution estimate is primarily driven by the upfront capital investments for construction. Facebook’s renewable energy goals also drive third-party investment in solar and wind farms to provide clean energy to data centers in Iowa, Texas, New Mexico, and Nebraska and eventually in Ohio and Virginia.

The Impact of Facebook’s U.S. Data Center Fleet is available here.

LOOKING BACK AT PAPILLION’S FACEBOOK DATA CENTER DEVELOPMENT

ALSO OF POTENTIAL INTEREST

Tesla has begun installing world’s largest rooftop pv system

FPL completes 298 MW of solar

Fremonters encouraged to get on waiting list for second solar farm

Tammy Real-McKeighan, News Editor, Fremont Tribune

The first solar farm is sold out, but local residents are encouraged to go to Fremont Department of Utilities and get their names on a waiting list for the second solar farm. So far, 22 people are on that waiting list. The size of the next farm would be determined by the participants on the list, said Lottie Mitchell, executive assistant to the Fremont City Administrator. Read more here.

Photo: Fremont’s community solar farm might look similar to the one in Central City. The farm is nearing the construction phase and is set to go online in January. Credit: Central City, Nebraska

ALSO OF POTENTIAL INTEREST

3 Renewable Energy Numbers to Impress Your Friends With: 7. 43, 50

By John Rogers, Union of Concerned Scientists Blog

Next time you’re talking with a friend about the exciting things happening in our electricity sector (aren’t you always?), here are three easy numbers for remembering how we’re doing: 7, 43, and 50.  That’s: wind energy’s progress, solar energy’s growth, and the number of states making it happen. Continue reading.

This post is part of a series on Clean Energy Momentum.

ALSO OF POTENTIAL INTEREST

Rural Energy for America Program Grants & Loans

Several members of Nebraskans for Solar’s ListServe have inquired about the USDA Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) grants and loans. Please check out the following resources:

  • REAP FACT SHEET
    What does this program do?
    Provides guaranteed loan financing and grant funding to agricultural producers and rural small businesses for renewable energy systems or to make energy efficiency improvements.
    Who may apply?
    Agricultural producers with at least 50% of gross income coming from agricultural operations, and
    Small businesses in eligible rural areas.
    Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) Fact Sheet

QUESTIONS? CONTACT THE NEBRASKA RURAL DEVELOPMENT ENERGY COORDINATOR
Jeff Carpenter, USDA Rural Development 100 Centennial Mall North, Suite 308
Lincoln, NE 68508
402) 437-5554
jeff.carpenter@ne.usda.gov
http://www.rd.usda.gov/ne

  • ENERGY AUDIT GRANTS
    The Nebraska Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) at UNL conducts energy audits to meet USDA Rural Development grant and/or guaranteed loan application requirements. Energy audits can be conducted at any time by Nebraska MEP staff but must be completed in advance of USDA application submission deadlines. MEP focuses on areas where local electric utility providers do not offer free audits. Nebraska MEP, which received an Energy Audit Program grant from USDA Rural Development, will pay 75% of the cost of an audit. Applicants will be required to pay 25% of the cost.

MEP CONTACT
Matthew Jorgensen
Project Specialist
Nebraska MEP
(308) 293-5884
mjorgensen@unl.edu

Looking at all angles of solar energy

By Emily Hemphill, Seward County Independent

F. John Hay of the University of Nebraska–Lincoln spoke to Seward-area farmers, ranchers and others interested in solar energy Feb. 17 in the Jones National Bank and Trust Co. lower level auditorium. Hay works as an Extension educator in bioengineering and has spent the past 10 years educating people about wind and solar energy on large and small scales. Hay installed a solar photovoltaic system at his home over the winter and spoke to attendees about the installation process and weighing the benefits of a solar energy system.
Read more here.

In her article, Emily Hemphill references: 

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

Top Photo Courtesy of GC Resolve: Family Farm in Minden, Nebraska. The 21-kilowatt solar system provides most of the farm’s energy needs. The project was partly funded by a USDA Rural Energy for America (REAP) grant, which covered 25% of its cost. Additional financing was obtained through the Nebraska Energy Office’s low-interest loan program for solar installations.

USDA Rural Development Nebraska State Director Maxine Moul Retires—USDA Investments in Nebraska totaled nearly $2 billion during tenure

USDA News Release 

During her tenure, [Maxine] Moul was an avid supporter of the programs offered by USDA Rural Development. The Nebraska Single Family Housing program helped 10,235 rural Nebraska families obtain nearly $920 million in guaranteed and direct loans. The Agency’s energy efficiency programs helped rural businesses, farmers and ranchers save on energy costs, through 1,431 in loans and grants totaling $18.3 million.  An additional $16.8 million was expended to support and ensure an expanding production of advanced biofuels. Read the entire news release here.

USDA Rural Development – Nebraska
Deadline for current round of Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) grant applications

REAP one of many programs offered by USDA

By Bill Sheppard / USDA, Fremont Tribune

Minden Farm

REAP [Rural Energy for America Program] is available to agricultural producers (51 percent or more of gross income comes from agriculture production) and rural (any area that has a population of 50,000 or less and is not adjacent to or is not a contiguous part of an urbanized area) small businesses (as classified by the Small Business Administration). The goal of the program is to reduce energy use and cost, and to help meet the Nation’s energy needs. REAP has two types of funding assistance available: grants and/or guaranteed loans. Assistance is available for energy efficiency improvements and renewable energy systems. Read the entire article here.

Photo: 21-kilowatt solar array at a family farm in Minden, Nebraska, which provides most of the farm’s energy needs. The project was partly funded by a USDA Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) grant, which covered 25% of its cost. Additional financing was obtained through the Nebraska Energy Office’s low-interest loan program for solar installations. Courtesy of Graham Christensen / GC Resolve

Bill Sheppard is a USDA Rural Development Business Programs Specialist in Norfolk. He can be reached at 402-371-5350 Extension 104 or by email at bill.sheppard@ne.usda.gov.

Click here for a list of all Nebraska USDA Contacts.

USDA Seeks Grant Applications for Rural Renewable Energy Projects by October 31st

USDALINCOLN, NEBRASKA – The next deadline for Renewable Energy for America Program (REAP) grants is October 31, 2015.  This deadline for grant applications has designated funding for small projects requesting $20,000 or less (25% of total eligible project costs). Grant requests for this round have a simplified, streamlined process and can be as low as $2,500 for renewable energy projects and $1,500 for energy efficiency projects. All agricultural producers, including farmers and ranchers, who derive 50% or more of their gross income from agricultural operations are eligible. Businesses in a rural area, meeting the Small Business Administration size standards, may also apply. A private entity, a rural utility, and rural electric cooperatives are typically eligible; however, nonprofit and public bodies are not eligible.

USDA Rural Development provides financial assistance in the form of grants and guaranteed loans to agricultural producers and rural small businesses to purchase renewable energy systems or make energy efficiency improvements through the REAP.  This program provides funds for the purchase and installation of renewable energy systems and to make energy-efficiency improvements.  The renewable energy projects range from installation of solar, geothermal, wind, and biomass; and energy efficiency improvements to irrigation systems, poultry houses, upgrading air conditioning, lighting and refrigeration systems.

Applications are due by 4:30 p.m. CST on October 31, 2015.  Please contact Jeff Carpenter, State Energy Coordinator, at the Nebraska USDA Rural Development State Office, Suite 308, Federal Building 100 Centennial Mall North Lincoln, Nebraska 68508, call 402-437-5554 or email jeff.carpenter@ne.usda.gov.

The next funding deadline will be April 30, 2016 for projects of any size with maximum grants limited to $500,000 for renewable energy projects and $250,000 for energy efficiency projects (25% of total eligible project costs).  Any eligible applications not funded during the October 31, 2015 funding cycle will be reconsidered.

To find the office which serves your county visit: http://www.rd.usda.gov/programs-services/rural-energy-america-program-re...Click on “View All State Program Contacts.” You may also visit this same website for more general information on the program and details on how to apply for funding.

ADDITIONAL FUNDING SOURCES FOR SOLAR ENERGY PROJECTS

  • Federal Tax Credit of 30% for qualified installations
  • Accelerated depreciation for businesses
  • Self-Employment Tax Credit

USDA NEWS RELEASES ABOUT PREVIOUS NEBRASKA REAP GRANT AWARDS
USDA Rural Development Awards Funding to 23 Nebraska Recipients to Assist with Energy Needs – August 26, 2015

USDA Invests $63 Million to Support 264 Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Projects—15 Nebraska Energy Projects Funded at Nearly $159,000 – August 12, 2015  

USDA Rural Development Awards Funding to 15 Nebraska Recipients to Assist with Energy Needs – August 4, 2015 

Funding supports Energy Audits in Rural Nebraska to assist agricultural producers and rural small businesses in evaluating the energy efficiency of their operations and considering alternative equipment, machinery and systems. – July 7, 2015

USDA Rural Development Awards Funding to 15 Nebraska Recipients to Assist with Energy Needs – June 12, 2015