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E&E: Rural energy efforts run low on fuel as farm bill expires

Tuesday, October 1st, 2013

Chuck Bushman Farm flipped the switch earlier this year on 360 solar panels spread across its chicken barn in Castalia, Iowa. (more…)

Solar Powers Iowa Farm, Highlights Potential for Clean Energy

Wednesday, September 25th, 2013

ELPC recently highlighted a successful REAP solar project on a September 2013 solar tour through northeast Iowa. ¬†Chuck Bushman installed solar panels on his farm, which began operating early in 2013. (more…)

Solar, Energy Efficiency Big Winners in 2008

Wednesday, December 3rd, 2008

The USDA has now issued the final awards for 2008 for Section 9006, the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Improvements program (now renamed the “Rural Energy for America Program”, or REAP).

Once again, demand for this program outstrips funding by a wide margin. Over 1,100 applications were received for a total of over $112 million in grants and over $70 million in loan guarantees. Of those, 769 projects were awarded a total of $34 million in grants and $15.5 million in loan guarantees. The overall program budget was $36 million and this demand is equivalent to a budget of $120 million.

Awards were distributed among forty-three states and the Virgin Islands. Nebraska had the largest number of awards at 170. The other states in the top five for number of awards were Iowa, Minnesota, Georgia, and North Carolina. Iowa received the most grant funding with $8.5 million, followed by Minnesota, Wisconsin, Nebraska, and New York. (See charts below).

Energy efficiency projects were also way up with 569 projects awarded almost $13 million in grants. Solar projects nearly doubled compared to all previous years with 59 projects totaling over $2.3 million in grants.

Since 2003, 2,034 projects have been awarded in all 50 states and the Virgin Islands totaling over $140 million in grants and over $88 million in loan guarantees. Applications have exceeded awards by 40% over these six years.

Nebraska has had the most awards with 485 over six years, followed by Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and North Carolina. Minnesota has received the most grant money with over $23 million, followed by Iowa, Wisconsin, New York and Illinois.

Distributed among technologies, wind has received the most grant money with over $44 million, followed by biomass, energy efficiency and anaerobic digesters. Energy efficiency has had the most awards with 1331, followed by wind, biomass and solar.

The results show that the USDA emphasis and prioritized resources dedicated to guaranteed loans is not met by public interest. The USDA sought to provide $205 million in loan guarantees but only one-third of that ($71 million) was sought and the USDA only awarded $16 million, or 8% of their target. Perhaps it’s time for USDA to drop the preference for loan guarantees?




Farm Energy Grants Boost Solar Energy

Wednesday, December 3rd, 2008

Solar energy has received a boost with the help of a successful Farm Bill Clean Energy grant and loan guarantee program.

solarcrowd120wThe 2007 cycle of the program can be combined with many federal and state tax credits to make solar energy even more appealing to many prospective customers.