Last Updated January 26, 2010
Renewable Energy Systems and Energy Efficiency Improvements Program
Assisting farmers, ranchers, and rural small businesses in developing renewable energy systems and making energy efficiency improvements to their operations
The Renewable Energy Systems and Energy Efficiency Improvements program was authorized in Section 9006 of the 2002 Farm Bill. Housed in USDA’s Rural Development agency, this program is conducted in collaboration with the Department of Energy.
In its first year, 2003, the program operated solely as a grant program, but in future years the program may expand to provide loans as well. In FY 2004, the program made $22.8 million in grants available.
- In Virginia, funds were granted to help install approximately 301 65kw wind turbine generators to produce energy to be used by farmers and environmentally savvy consumers.
- In Washington, the program funded a grant to install a biomass energy utilization system to replace the use of 12,000 gallons of fossil fuels in a hazelnut farming nut-drying operation.
- In South Carolina, the program funded a project to develop a photovoltaic (PV) array system to generate energy needs of small farm enterprises of vegetables and fruits, meat goats, and re-circulating aquaponics systems. Excess energy generated will be sold to the local electric utility company.
- In Nebraska, this program funded a project to install radiant infrared tube heaters in the floor and to add insulation to the walls and ceiling of a housing production plant.
A list of 2005 grant recipients by state, indicating grant amounts, can be found at the USDA Rural Development website at: www.rurdev.usda.gov/rd/newsroom/2005/9006GrantRecipients.pdf.
Application and Financial Information
As of this writing, $23 million is expected to be available in Fiscal Year 2004 as was available in Fiscal Year 2003, when grants of $21.2 million were awarded to 113 applicants in 24 states. In 2003, funding to assist with the development of renewable energy systems included:
- 35 applications totaling $7.4 million to support wind power
- 30 applications totaling $7 million for anaerobic digesters
- 6 applications totaling $1.1 million for solar projects
- 16 applications totaling $3.9 million for ethanol plants/anaerobic digesters, direct combustion, and fuel pellet systems
Awards were made on a competitive basis for the purchase of renewable energy systems and to make energy efficiency improvements.
Eligibility, Uses, and Restrictions
Energy efficiency projects must reduce energy consumption by at least 15 percent. Applicants for the Renewable Energy Systems and Energy Efficiency Improvements program must be agricultural producers, rural small businesses, U.S. citizens and/or legal residents, and have demonstrated financial need. Rural Development grant funds may be used to pay up to 25 percent of the eligible project costs.
Eligible projects include those that derive energy from a wind, solar, biomass, or geothermal source, or hydrogen derived from biomass or water using wind, solar, or geothermal energy sources. Awards are made on a competitive basis for the purchase of renewable energy systems and to make energy efficiency improvements.
Phone: (202) 690-0498
Phone: (202) 720-4623
Phone: (312) 8481238
People may also contact USDA Rural Development offices in each state.