USDA Rural Development

Rural Energy for America funding now available for efficiency and renewables

The Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) from USDA Rural Development is a great opportunity for Minnesota farmers and rural businesses to save energy with efficiency work and add renewable energy systems. Grants can cover up to 25% of eligible project costs, and loans can cover up to 75% of eligible project costs.

The funding has just been opened for 2015, and there is twice as much money available as usual (which may mean you have an even better chance of being funded). There is also a shorter application that can be completed without the help of a grant writer for smaller projects. See details below!

What is REAP all about, and how can I learn more?

The Basics:

  • This year there will be two application windows for the renewable energy or energy efficiency grants: April 30 and June 30
  • Projects requesting grants of $20,000 ($80,000 total project cost) or less before the April 30th deadline will have access to a special set-aside of funds, but if not funded will automatically compete in the second round of funding with projects of all sizes. Projects in this category can also fill out a shorter application.
  • The Guaranteed Loan-only program will now accept and process applications on a continual basis throughout the year so applications can be submitted at any time
  • Additionally, this year there has been an Energy Audit/Renewable Energy Development Grant window established with a deadline of February 12th. Applicants for these funds can be state or local government, university, rural electric cooperative, or an instrumentality of the state and are designed to assist agriculture producers and rural small businesses to conduct energy audits or promoting the use of renewable energy technologies into their operations.


Click here to see a fact sheet that highlights the deadlines 2015 REAP applications, as well as the significant rule changes. You can also learn more by checking out the MN REAP webpage where you can read the entire rule and see a more detailed description of the scoring changes.

Local Events: In an effort to promote the new rule and funding availability there will be a series of meetings throughout the region (MN-SD-IA-ND) to learn more about the program changes and assist applicants with the process.

Upcoming events, all from 9am-12pm:


Project Ideas from CERTs

There are currently two programs offered through the Clean Energy Resource Teams (CERTs) that would be a great fit for REAP funding.

LED Canopy Lighting for Service Stations The Light Up Your Station & Save CERTified Campaign offers an opportunity to reduce your canopy energy costs up to 75%, create a brighter and more attractive station, reduce your maintenance costs, and strengthen your business. The program from CERTs will help you participate in a bulk buy to get lower prices, access quality canopy lighting products, and reduce upgrade costs further with utility rebates.
LED Lighting for Turkey Barns The Gobble Up Savings CERTified Campaign offers CERTs is helping turkey farmers reduce energy use by upgrading to LED lighting in their barns. Switching from high pressure sodium or incandescent lighting to LED lighting presents the greatest savings opportunity. CERTs will help you navigate your funding options to get LED lighting in your barns.

What did the REAP awards for Minnesota look like in 2014?

Summary of 2014 REAP Awards:

  • Total 2014 Grants Awarded: 29
  • Total 2014 Applications Received: 110
  • Percentage Awarded: 26%
  • Total 2014 Grant Amount Awarded: $507,114
  • Total 2014 Grant Amount Requested: $3,019,292
  • Average Grant per Project: $17,486


2014 Awards by Technology    
Technology Grants Total Amount
All Energy Efficiency 15 $295,544
    Energy Efficiency: Grain Dryers 12 $224,773
    Energy Efficiency: Building Improvements 3 $70,771
All Renewable Energy 14 $274,570
    Renewable Energy: Solar 7 $125,981
    Renewable Energy: Wind 4 $78,250
    Renewable Energy: Geothermal 2 $22,235
    Renewable Energy: Bioenergy 1 $48,104

Energy Saved & Produced from 2014 Awarded Projects:

  • Potential Annual Energy Generated from Renewable Energy: 1,173,123 kWh
  • Potential Annual Energy Savings for Energy Efficiency Projects: 1,716,856 kWh
  • Enough savings and production to power 300 Minnesota homes each year


Downloads from 2014:


Get Answers blog series The Get Answers series on the Energy Stories Blog offers useful tips from CERTs and our partners to help you get to the bottom of your energy efficiency and renewable energy questions. Click here to see more stories in the series >>


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