Helping Small Business to the Next Level

USDA Offers Grant Programs for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency for Small Businesses

By kevin • March 20, 2015 • Filed in: Uncategorized

USDA Rural Development through its Renewable Energy for America program offers grants of up to 25% of the total eligible project costs, loan guarantees of up to 75% of the total eligible project costs, and a combination of a grant and loan guarantees to agricultural producers and rural small businesses to incorporate new energy technology into their businesses.   This program provides an incentive for innovative rural small businesses to install renewable energy systems or improve their energy consumption through more efficient systems.  


Renewable energy systems can include wind turbines, solar panels and other technology.   Energy efficiency systems can include the conversion of internal combustion engines that power irrigation systems to electricity or a grain dryer replacement for an ag producer.   Examples of energy efficiency systems for businesses include building weatherization, high efficiency heating and cooling systems, geothermal and other systems.   Renewable energy systems can take advantage of Nebraska’s net metering law in which local utilities purchase excess energy produced.


The grants are competitive and applications can be accepted at any time.  Applications submitted for funding will be considered for the next available funding cycle.  USDA Rural Development anticipates a new round of funding in fall or winter of 2014.  Applicants would have to prepare an application which would include an energy audit, payback calculations, and detailed information related to the producer and operation.  A complete application must be received by USDA Rural Development prior to incurring any expenses or starting any part of the project.  Costs incurred and work started prior to submitting a complete application will be considered ineligible.   Assistance in developing energy efficiency or renewable energy systems is available from experts familiar with energy development and incentives.

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