Ask the Contractor: Deadline for REAP grants is March 31

We own a home in rural Yavapai County and were told by a solar company that approached, there is grant money available for energy items. Do you know anything about this?

— Dick and Marsha

I am sure you are talking about the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP). This is a government program provides grants to agricultural producers and rural small businesses to help purchase renewable energy systems, make energy efficiency improvements and perform renewable energy feasibility studies. This grant does not apply to residential home owners.

The deadline for grant applications of $20,000 or less for small businesses and agricultural producers is March 31, 2017; for unrestricted grants (up to $500,000) the deadline is also March 31, 2017;

This program provides guaranteed loan financing and grant funding to agricultural producers and rural small businesses for renewable energy systems or to make energy efficiency improvements. Anyone that is an agricultural producer with at least 50 percent of gross income coming from agricultural operations, and any small businesses in eligible rural areas.

Agricultural producers and small businesses cannot have any outstanding delinquent federal taxes, debt, judgment or debarment. The eligible areas are businesses in an area other than a city or town with a population of greater than 50,000 inhabitants and the urbanized area of that city or town. Agricultural producers may be in rural or non-rural areas.

The grant funds may be used for renewable energy systems such as biomass (for example: biodiesel and ethanol, anaerobic digesters, and solid fuels); geothermal for electric generation or direct use, hydropower below 30 megawatts; hydrogen, small and large wind generation; small and large solar generation. Funds may also be used for the purchase, installation and construction of energy efficiency improvements, such as high efficiency heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems (hvac), insulation, lighting, cooling or refrigeration units, doors and windows, electric, solar or gravity pumps for sprinkler pivots, switching from a diesel to electric irrigation motor, replacement of energy-inefficient equipment.

Grant funding is available for up to 25 percent of total eligible project costs. Applicants must provide at least 75 percent of the project cost if applying for a grant only.

This program helps increase American energy independence by increasing the private sector supply of renewable energy and decreasing the demand for energy through energy efficiency improvements. Over time, these investments can also help lower the cost of energy costs for small businesses and agricultural producers.

So if you are a rural small business or agriculture business and if you have further questions and would like additional information, please feel free to contract Randy Litwin, Blazing Sky Energy Group at 928-277-8460, a local solar company.

Remember to tune in to YCCA’s Hammer Time every Saturday and Sunday morning at 7 a.m. on KQNA 1130 AM/99.9 FM or 95.5 FM or the web kqna.com. Listen to Sandy and Mike talk about the construction industry, meet your local community partners and so much more.