USDA solicits FY 2021 REAP applications

By Erin Voegele | December 01, 2020

The USDA’s Rural Business-Cooperative Service is soliciting applications for fiscal year (FY) 2021 funding under the Rural Energy for America Program.

A notice published in the Federal Register on Nov. 25 explains that the agency is soliciting applications for FY 2021 REAP funding prior to passage of a final appropriations act to allow potential applicants time to submit applications for financial assistance under the program and give the USDA time to process applications within the current FY.

The USDA also said it anticipates publishing a final rule for REAP later this year that will conform in part to the OneRD guaranteed loan provisions finalized in July. The rule will also outline provisions as prescribed by the 2018 Farm Bill.

According to the notice, all REAP applications competing for FY 2021 funding will be scored according to the criteria listed in the Nov. 25 notice. Applicants who have already filed REAP applications for FY 2021 will be allowed to provide additional information necessary for application scoring. The USDA said the modification will not be treated as a new application, nor will it alter the submission date of record.

Two types of funding are available under the REAP program. The first provides grants and loan guarantees to agricultural producers and rural small business to purchase and install renewable energy systems and make energy efficiency improvements to their operations. Provisions included in the 2018 Farm Bill provide guaranteed loans only to agricultural producers to purchase and install energy efficiency equipment and systems for agricultural production and processing. Eligible renewable energy systems include renewable biomass, including anaerobic digesters and biogas, wind, solar, small hydro-electric, ocean, geothermal, or hydrogen derived from any of those sources. Components and ancillary infrastructure, such as a storage system, are also eligible. The second provides grants to government entities, institutions of higher education, rural electric cooperatives, public power entities, or councils to assist agricultural producers and rural small businesses with evaluating energy efficiency and the potential to incorporate renewable energy technologies into their operations.

A full copy of the notice is available on the Federal Register website.


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