Mitchell, SD, Aug 17, 2012 -- USDA Rural Development South Dakota State Director Elsie M. Meeks is reminding South Dakotans that the agency is accepting applications for grants and loan guarantees from agricultural producers and rural small businesses to install renewable energy systems, make energy efficiency improvements, or conduct feasibility studies for a renewable energy system. The funds are administered through USDA Rural Development’s Rural Energy for America Program (REAP).
Renewable energy projects include large and small wind turbines, solar, geothermal and biomass systems. Examples of energy efficiency projects may be replacing lighting, refrigeration, heating and cooling systems with more energy efficient systems or equipment. The maximum grant for renewable energy systems is 25 percent of eligible project costs, not to exceed $500,000. Energy efficiency improvement projects are grant eligible for up to 25 percent of eligible project costs, not to exceed $250,000.
“We want to make sure that South Dakotans file their applications timely so they can potentially take advantage of this important program,” said Meeks. “USDA’s energy programs offer eligible South Dakota farmers and ranchers, along with rural business owners the opportunity to receive funding to assist with achieving greater energy efficiency.”
Applications are currently being accepted and can be obtained by contacting Gary Wedel at (605) 996-1564, Extension 4 or by visiting the office located at 1820 North Kimball Ste. C, Mitchell, SD 57301.
Loan guarantees for the Rural Energy for America Program are available to agricultural producers and rural small businesses to purchase and install renewable energy systems or to make energy efficiency improvements. The maximum loan guarantee is 75 percent of eligible project costs, not to exceed $25 million. Combination loan guarantees and grants are available.
USDA Rural Development has eight offices in the state that assist rural communities. Office locations include a state office in Huron, along with area offices in Aberdeen, Mitchell, Pierre, Rapid City, Sioux Falls, Watertown, and Yankton.
USDA, through its Rural Development mission area, administers and manages housing, business and community infrastructure and facility programs through a national network of state and local offices. Rural Development has an active portfolio of more than $172 billion in loans and loan guarantees. These programs are designed to improve the economic stability of rural communities, businesses, residents, farmers and ranchers and improve the quality of life in rural areas.