It should come as no surprise that energy costs can be a huge burden to farms and small businesses. Nor should the fact that solar energy can significantly help to reduce energy expenses be. That’s why more and more farm and business owners all across the U.S. are looking to invest in renewable energy.
And due to significant reductions in the cost of solar over the past decade, and important incentives like the federal solar income tax credit (Solar ITC), accelerated depreciation (MACRS), and no sales tax for solar in Washington state, it’s easier than ever to afford the upfront cost of a solar electric system.
But if you own an agricultural or a rural small business, there’s even more financial help to go solar.
What is a USDA REAP grant? It’s like a 50% off solar “coupon”.
The USDA Rural Energy for America Program or REAP, provides financial assistance in the form of grants and loans to help farmers and rural small businesses to invest in solar and make energy efficiency improvements that will reduce energy costs. The most popular part of the program, the REAP grant, can now cover up to half of a qualified solar or energy efficiency project, thanks to provisions in the 2022 Inflation Reduction Act.
How Do I Qualify for the REAP grant?
Contrary to popular belief, the USDA REAP can be used for a non-farming business. Storefronts, automotive shops, department stores…anything goes. As long as the business is located in a USDA-Defined Rural Area. Agricultural businesses do not need to be in a USDA defined rural area.
✔ Your business must have a rural location (unless you are an agricultural producer)
✔ Farmers Get Special Treatment – If you are a farmer you do not need to be located in a rural area. Any and all ag producers can qualify, regardless of location.
✔ Your business must be financially solvent.
✔ You must be the owner.
✔ Only businesses qualify for the USDA REAP.
The USDA then uses a Competitive Grant Points system to award grants to applicants.
How Easy Is It to Apply?
There are multiple non-profit organizations that can help you apply for a REAP grant for solar. FMS has years of experience helping farmers and rural business owners successfully apply for REAP grants. Contact us to learn more.