MONTPELIER — The U.S. Department of Agriculture is accepting grant applications from rural businesses interested in increasing their bottom line through energy efficiency upgrades or the installation of renewable energy systems. USDA Rural Development is accepting applications until March 31 for funding through the Rural Energy for America Program.
USDA Rural Development seeks to support economic development in rural areas through helping businesses invest in energy improvements. Rural businesses and agricultural producers are eligible to apply for either energy efficiency or renewable energy project funding through REAP. For projects that generate renewable energy such as a solar array, applicants may apply for a grant of up to $500,000. For projects that increase a business’s energy efficiency — such as a dairy installing an energy efficient milk chiller — applicants may apply for a grant of up to $250,000. For both project types, grant money can cover up to 25 percent of the eligible project costs. Large-scale projects can apply for USDA financing through a REAP guaranteed loan throughout the year.
Vermont and New Hampshire businesses and producers interested in saving on their energy bills may contact Rural Development Energy Coordinator Ken Yearman at 828-6070 or firstname.lastname@example.org.