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Incentives/Policies for Renewables & Efficiency

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USDA - Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) Loan Guarantees   

Last DSIRE Review: 04/25/2013
Program Overview:
State: Federal
Incentive Type: Federal Loan Program
Eligible Efficiency Technologies: Unspecified Technologies
Eligible Renewable/Other Technologies: Solar Water Heat, Solar Space Heat, Solar Thermal Electric, Photovoltaics, Wind, Biomass, Hydroelectric, Geothermal Electric, Geothermal Heat Pumps, CHP/Cogeneration, Hydrogen, Anaerobic Digestion, Small Hydroelectric, Tidal Energy, Wave Energy, Ocean Thermal, Renewable Fuels, Fuel Cells using Renewable Fuels, Microturbines, Geothermal Direct-Use
Applicable Sectors: Commercial, Agricultural
Maximum Incentive:$25 million per loan guarantee
Terms:Loans guaranteed 60%-85% depending on loan amount
Start Date:FY 2003
Web Site:
Authority 1:
Date Enacted:
Date Effective:
7 USC ยง 8107
FY 2003
Authority 2:
Date Enacted:
Date Effective:
H.R. 8 (American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012)

Note: The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Rural Development issues periodic Notices of Solicitation of Applications for the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP). The deadline to apply for loan guarantees under the most recent solicitation is July 15, 2013, though combined grant and loan guarantee applications and grant only applications have an earlier deadline of May 31, 2013. Check the program web site above for application materials and information regarding future solicitations.

The Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 (H.R. 2419), enacted by Congress in May 2008, converted the federal Renewable Energy Systems and Energy Efficiency Improvements Program,* into the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP). Similar to its predecessor, the REAP promotes energy efficiency and renewable energy for agricultural producers and rural small businesses through the use of (1) grants and loan guarantees for energy efficiency improvements and renewable energy systems, and (2) grants for energy audits and renewable energy development assistance. Congress has allocated funding for the new program in the following amounts: $55 million for FY 2009, $60 million for FY 2010, $70 million for FY 2011, and $70 million for FY 2012. REAP is administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). In addition to these mandatory funding levels, up to $25 million in discretionary funding may be issued each year. The American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 (H.R. 8) extended discrectionary funding for FY 2013.

Of the total REAP funding available, approximately 88% is dedicated to competitive grants and loan guarantees for energy efficiency improvements and renewable energy systems. These incentives are available to agricultural producers and rural small businesses to purchase renewable energy systems (including systems that may be used to produce and sell electricity) and to make energy efficiency improvements. Funding is also available to conduct relevant feasibility studies, with approximately 2% of total funding being available for feasibility studies. Eligible renewable energy projects include wind, solar, biomass and geothermal; and hydrogen derived from biomass or water using wind, solar or geothermal energy sources. These grants are limited to 25% of a proposed project's cost, and a loan guarantee may not exceed $25 million. The combined amount of a grant and loan guarantee must be at least $5,000 (with the grant portion at least $1,500) and may not exceed 75% of the project’s cost. In general, a minimum of 20% of the funds available for these incentives will be dedicated to grants of $20,000 or less. The USDA likely will announce the availability of funding for this component of REAP through a Notice of Funds Availability (NOFA).

The USDA will also make competitive grants to eligible entities to provide assistance to agricultural producers and rural small businesses “to become more energy efficient” and “to use renewable energy technologies and resources.” These grants are generally available to state government entities, local governments, tribal governments, land-grant colleges and universities, rural electric cooperatives and public power entities, and other entities, as determined by the USDA. These grants may be used for conducting and promoting energy audits; and for providing recommendations and information related to energy efficiency and renewable energy. Of the total REAP funding available, approximately 9% is dedicated to competitive grants for energy technical assistance.

*The Renewable Energy Systems and Energy Efficiency Improvements Program was created by the USDA pursuant to Section 9006 of the 2002 federal Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002. Funding in the amount of $23 million per year was appropriated for each fiscal year from FY 2003-2007. In March 2008, the USDA announced that it would accept $220.9 million in applications for grants, loan guarantees, and loan/grant combination packages under the Renewable Energy Systems and Energy Efficiency Improvements Program. The application deadline was June 16, 2008.

  Public Information - RBS
U.S. Department of Agriculture
Rural Business - Cooperative Service
USDA/RBS, Room 5045-S, Mail Stop 3201
1400 Independence Avenue SW
Washington, DC 20250-3201
Phone: (202) 690-4730
Fax: (202) 690-4737
Web Site:
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Disclaimer: The information presented on the DSIRE web site provides an unofficial overview of financial incentives and other policies. It does not constitute professional tax advice or other professional financial guidance, and it should not be used as the only source of information when making purchasing decisions, investment decisions or tax decisions, or when executing other binding agreements. Please refer to the individual contact provided below each summary to verify that a specific financial incentive or other policy applies to your project.

While the DSIRE staff strives to provide the best information possible, the DSIRE staff, the N.C. Solar Center, N.C. State University and the Interstate Renewable Energy Council, Inc. make no representations or warranties, either express or implied, concerning the accuracy, completeness, reliability or suitability of the information. The DSIRE staff, the N.C. Solar Center, N.C. State University and the Interstate Renewable Energy Council, Inc. disclaim all liability of any kind arising out of your use or misuse of the information contained or referenced on DSIRE Web pages.

Copyright 2013 - 2014 North Carolina State University, under NREL Subcontract No. XEU-0-99515-01. Permission granted only for personal or educational use, or for use by or on behalf of the U.S. government. North Carolina State University prohibits the unauthorized display, reproduction, sale, and/or distribution of all or portions of the content of the Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency (DSIRE) without prior, written consent.