Does Your Business Qualify for REAP Grants?
The Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) Grant, or better known as the USDA REAP Grant is now accepting applications. This includes all large or small farming operations and small businesses in rural parts of Oregon and Washington. If you own a small business, you may qualify for USDA solar grant money. You'll be able to cover up to 25% of the cost.
To qualify for the Rural Energy for American Program (REAP) Grant you will need to consider the following:
Only “small” businesses qualify
Must be in “rural” locations
Your business must be financially solvent
Must be the owner
Writing a winning grant
1) Does My Business Qualify?
Your business must be a "small business" under the Small Business Administration (SMA). You may be surprised at just how large a legally-defined “small” business can be, however, so be sure to check in at the SBA website if you have any doubts.
Step 1:Identify your business’ NAICS Code at the NAICS website.
Step 2: Check your SBA-defined business size at the SBA website.
2) Your Business Must Have a Rural Location
Contrary to popular belief, the USDA REAP can be used for a non-farming business. Storefronts, automotive shops, department stores… anything goes. As long as the business is located in a USDA-Defined Rural Area:
Farmers Get Special Treatment
If you are a farmer you do not need to be located in a rural area. Any and all ag producers can qualify, regardless of location.
What Counts As A “Farmer?”
Your Business Must Generate More Than 50% of Its Gross Annual Income From Being Directly Engaged in the Production of Agricultural Products*
*Resellers of agricultural products that are produced by other companies are NOT considered “directly engaged in agricultural production” by USDA Standards.
3) Your Business Must Be Financially Solvent
Part of the application process will require that you show enough revenue to cover the project you propose.
Significantly, you must be able to demonstrate the ability to provide for the operation, management, maintenance and debt service for the project life. Financing for solar energy projects in now available and becoming mainstream.
4) Must Be the Owner of the Project
Applicants may not apply on behalf of other business entities or owners. You do not need to own the building or land on which a solar energy system is installed, but you must retain control of the site. If Your Home Is Located on the same site as your business you may still qualify for a REAP Grant!
You will be required to demonstrate that —on a net annual basis— all of the energy benefit derived from the installation of the project will accrue to the business, not to the residence. However, some electrical costs inside the home can qualify depending on your situation —for example, powering a home office.
There are a number of techniques that can be used to demonstrate this, including an energy audit and/or a bill or financial analysis.
It is recommended that you seek the assistance of a professional because the USDA cannot perform the audit. It must be completed by a professional outside of the USDA offices.
5) Writing a Winning REAP Grant
When USDA REAP Grant projects are submitted, the grant application is scored on a point system. It is considered good practice by the USDA to seek the assistance of a professional grant writer or to seek other professional assistance with the grant-writing process.
Sunbridge Solar will provide professional grant assistance to you making the application process far easier and at no extra cost.