Grants for installing Renewable Energy Systems and for making Energy Efficiency Improvements are potentially 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 $125,000 for Energy Efficiency improvement and $250,000 for Renewable Energy Systems.
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, baffles, insulated brood curtains, etc. So eligible improvements include just about any upgrades to a poultry house except feed and water systems and generators.
For other agricultural producers, eligible Energy Efficiency Improvements may include more efficient systems or system component 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 several months after submitting your application. However, you can proceed with your improvements as soon as the application is sent to USDA, so there will be no hold-up for work that has to be done promptly.
For information and for assistance with the grant application process, contact:
Bennie Hutchins, Project Support Services, Inc.
We have assisted more than 400 poultry producers in 10 states to secure grants in excess of $10 million for energy efficiency improvements in 2003-2018.
The application process may take from 30+ days, depending mostly on the Energy Audit schedule.
Program funding levels have been good for the past 15 years. Chances of getting funded are very good! You have 2 years to do the work after the application is approved.
Applications are accepted year-round, but deadlines to apply are October 31 and March 30.