2012 REAP Funding Notice Released

On Friday, January 20th, the USDA released the 2012 notice of funding availability for the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP).  REAP incentivizes a broad range of renewable energy and energy efficiency for agricultural producers and rural small businesses.

This is the earliest in the year that the USDA has released the funding notice for REAP in the program’s history. Following are deadlines applicants will need to know. Those interested in applying should contact their USDA Rural Development energy coordinator.

Deadlines for REAP Applications for 2012

REAP Program Element Deadline
  • Energy audits and renewable energy development assistance applications.
February 21, 2012
  • Renewable energy and energy efficiency
  • Renewable energy system feasibility study applications.
March 30, 2012
  • Renewable energy and energy efficiency improvements guaranteed loan only applications.
June 29, 2012

Loan guarantee preference continues

The funding notice makes available the $61 million in total 2012 funding by providing $12.5 million in grants and $48.5 million in total loan guarantees. The USDA provides preferential treatment for loan guarantees including expedited processing of loan guarantees and longer times to submit guaranteed loan applications. However, there is no preference for combination loan and grant applications, unlike previous years. Unused loan guarantee funding will be used for grant and combination applications.

Reduced support from USDA for feasibility studies

Feasibility study support provides “seed funding” to help local owners develop community-owned energy projects and make wise investment decisions. This year the USDA capped the amount for any one feasibility study to $50,000 (or 25% of projects costs), with a nationwide cap of $500,000, or 10 feasibility studies. This action is unfortunate and will lead to fewer projects entering the development pipeline. USDA should lift this cap.

Energy Audits and Renewable Energy Development Assistance

These applications are on a tight turnaround and will be capped overall at $880,000. This funding helps rural electric cooperatives, state and local governments and others administer programs to provide energy audits and renewable energy development assistance in their region.

The 2012 REAP Notice of Funding availability can be downloaded here.