Grants for installing Renewable Energy Systems and for making Energy Efficiency Improvements are available from USDA-Rural Development. The grant funds may be used to pay 25% of the eligible project costs, with a minimum grant request of $1,500 (total project cost of $6,000) and maximum grant request of $250,000 for Energy Efficiency Improvement and $500,000 for Renewable Energy Systems.
Projects with total eligible costs of less than $80,000 receive priority for funding. Projects costing less than $200,000 are given the next level of priority. Projects exceeding $200,000 receive lowest priority, but are still encouraged to apply, especially if proposed retrofits are extensive and expected energy savings is high (greater than 35%).
Eligible Energy Efficiency Improvements are “any improvements to a facility, building or process that reduces energy consumption”.
For example, for Poultry Producers eligible improvements might include any work to make the houses tighter and better insulated (walls, doors, ceilings), improved brooders (radiant, direct-spark or tube), lighting, computer controllers, vent doors, curtain improvements, interior stir fans, exhaust fan replacement with more efficient fans, water/drinking systems, baffles, insulated brood curtains, etc. So, eligible improvements include just about any upgrades to a poultry house except feed systems and generators.
For other agricultural producers, eligible Energy Efficiency Improvements may include more efficient systems or system components for pumping, commodity handling, drying, heating, cooling, lighting, insulation, computer controllers, etc. Ag tillage equipment, used equipment and vehicles are not eligible.
Eligible Renewable Energy Systems must produce usable energy from a renewable energy source. These may include biomass, methane digester, solar, wind, geothermal, gasification, hydroelectric, etc.
Only costs of eligible improvements purchased and installed after the date of complete application being received by USDA-RBCS (Rural Business-Cooperative Service) state office are eligible for grant reimbursement, assuming the grant is eventually funded.
Applications go through a national competitive process and final approval is based on how your application competes against others across the US. Approval is not guaranteed and final word of funding status may not be received until 2 or 3 months after submitting your application. An applicant may begin their retrofits as soon as the final grant application is sent to RBCS. However, incurring expenses prior to funding approval would be at applicant’s own risk.
For more information and for assistance with the grant application process, contact Ag Energy Resources, LLC. AER has assisted more than 200 poultry producersin 8 states to secure grants in excess of $7 million for energy efficiency improvements in 2003-2010.
Interested producers should contact AER at first opportunity to have an applicationpackage sent by mail or email. Email: [email protected] or call 601-748-2622. Leave your name, complete mailing address, phone number, and email address if applicable.
The application process may take from 30+ days, depending mostly on the Energy Audit schedule. Applications for 2011 funding are now being accepted.