Bangor, ME, Jan 26, 2012 -- Funding is now available to agricultural producers and rural
small businesses to complete a variety of energy-efficiency and renewable-energy projects. Guaranteed loans and grants are available through the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP).
USDA Rural Development State Director Virginia Manuel said, “This important program
can assist Maine’s rural agricultural producers and small businesses in making operations more energy-efficient and environmentally-friendly, while reducing energy costs through the use of renewable systems. Ten Maine businesses received a total of 12 renewable-energy and energy-efficiency grants through this program last year.”
Guaranteed loans, guaranteed loans combined with grants, and grants can be used for the development and construction of renewable energy systems and for energy efficiency improvement projects. Grants can fund up to 25% of eligible project costs, and loans and loan/grant combinations fund up to 75%.
The Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) is designed to help agricultural producers and rural small businesses reduce energy costs and consumption and help meet the Nation’s critical energy needs. For 2012, USDA has approximately $12.5 million in grant and approximately $48.5 million in guaranteed loan program level available nationally. Here is a summary of the applications being accepted:
§ Renewable-energy system and energy-efficiency improvement guaranteed loan-only applications on a continuous basis, beginning immediately, up to June 29, 2012. Rural Development in Maine has $591,829 available, although larger projects are possible.
§ Renewable energy system and energy efficiency improvement grant applications and combination grant and guaranteed loan applications until March 30, 2012. Maine has a total of $162,000 available for grants and the grant portions of loan/grant combinations.
For more information, please contact Beverly Stone, Renewable Energy Coordinator for Maine, in Bangor, at 990-9168 or view details in the January 20, 2012 Federal Register, pages 2948 through 2954.
This funding is an example of the many ways that USDA is helping revitalize rural economies to create opportunities for growth and prosperity, support innovative technologies, identify new markets for agricultural producers, and better utilize our nation's natural resources.
USDA Rural Development has Area Offices located in Presque Isle, Bangor, Lewiston, and Scarborough, as well as a State Office, located in Bangor. There are 83 employees working to deliver the agency’s Housing, Business, and Community Programs, which are designed to improve the economic stability of rural communities, businesses, residents, and farmers, and improve the quality of life in rural Maine. Further information on rural programs is available at a local USDA Rural Development office or by visiting USDA Rural Development's web site at http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/me.