Albuquerque, May 16, 2011 -- USDA Rural Development’s Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) will provide grants and loan guarantees for the purchase and installation of energy efficiency improvements and renewable energy systems for rural businesses.
“USDA Rural Development funds energy efficiency and renewable energy projects from Deming to Roswell to Raton and in between. These projects are saving money for rural businesses, farms and ranches and reducing our dependence on traditional energy sources.” said Terry Brunner, USDA Rural Development State Director. He added, “With program deadlines coming up soon, we want to make sure that all New Mexicans know about the REAP program and that we are interested in funding many more projects.”
Projects run the gamut in terms of types of funding assistance (grant, loan guarantee or a combination), types of technology (solar, thermal, wind, anaerobic digester and energy efficiency, including changing out lighting, heating/cooling systems, and insulation, among many others) and size of project. Renewable energy projects in New Mexico have varied from a small photo-voltaic system for a storage unit in Deming, to a photo-voltaic and solar thermal system that provides electricity for a physical therapy practice in Raton (including thermal pools), to a 1,567 panel array for a pecan farm in Roswell that not only provides electricity for the farm but also generates power for sale back to the power company. The latter generates enough electricity to power, on average, about 86 homes. All three projects are grid-tied and have net metering.
The deadline for grants and loan guarantees for the purchase and installation of energy efficiency systems and renewable energy improvement projects is June 15, 2011. A second deadline of June 30 has been set for applications on the renewable energy feasibility study grants and energy audit and renewable energy development assistance grants. For the first time this year, funding includes grants and loan guarantees for the purchase and installation of flexible fuel pumps, E85 dispensers, and biodiesel pumps and their related equipment at retail locations in rural communities.
Applications for this funding can be made by farmers, ranchers, and other agricultural producers in rural and non-rural areas, as well as by owners of rural small businesses in communities of less than 50-thousand people.
Funding for these items can be provided by grants for up to 25% of the cost or a loan guarantee to cover up to 75% of the total eligible costs of the project. A grant/loan guarantee combination can cover up to 75% of the total project cost. Maximum grant is $500,000 (minimum $2,500—which means a minimum of a $10,000 project) for renewable energy and $250,000 (minimum $1,500—which means a minimum of a $6,000 project) for energy efficiency. New Mexico has a special allocation of grant funds for projects that are eligible for grant requests of $20,000 or less and there is no demonstrated financial need requirement for this assistance.
Grants for renewable energy feasibility studies which cover 25% of total eligible costs up to $50,000 are available to farmers, ranchers, and other agricultural producers in rural and non-rural areas, as well as by owners of rural small businesses in communities of less than 50-thousand people. Another grant up to $100,000 is available to public bodies, tribes, and non-profits, including rural electric cooperatives, to conduct energy audits and provide renewable energy development assistance for rural small businesses and agricultural producers.
REAP cannot fund projects involving residences, tillage equipment, or vehicles.
For more information on this program or to receive an application, contact Jesse Monfort Bopp at 505-761-4953 or 505-761-4952 or by emailing her at firstname.lastname@example.org
USDA Rural Development’s mission is to increase economic opportunity and improve the quality of life for rural residents. Rural Development fosters growth in homeownership, finances business development, and supports the creation of critical community and technology infrastructure. Further information on rural programs is available at any local USDA Rural Development office or by visiting USDA Rural Development’s web site at http://www.rurdev.usda.gov