USDA grants available year-round to develop renewables, including hydro

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has opened its Renewable Energy for America or REAP to applications year-round, offering more opportunities for rural small businesses and agricultural producers to develop renewables, including hydro.

This program provides guaranteed loan financing and grant funding to agricultural producers and rural small business to purchase or install renewable energy systems or make energy efficiency improvements.

Agricultural producers with at least 50% of gross income coming from agricultural operations and small businesses in eligible rural areas may apply.

The funds received through REAP may be used for the purchase, installation and construction of renewable energy systems, including hydropower below 30 MW and ocean (tidal, current, thermal) generation.

Funding available consists of loan guarantees on loans up to 75% of total eligible project costs, grants for up to 25% of total eligible project costs, and combined grant and loan guarantee funding of up to 75% of total eligible project costs.

For specific details on the loan guarantee and grant terms, as well as additional requirements, click here.

The 1.8-MW Flannagan project, on the Pound River in Virginia, is just one example of a hydroelectric project being developed using REAP funding.

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Elizabeth Ingram is content director for the Hydro Review website and HYDROVISION International. She has more than 17 years of experience with the hydroelectric power industry. Follow her on Twitter @ElizabethIngra4 .

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