$20,000 energy grants available for rural Nevada businesses, ag producers

CARSON CITY, Nev. — A statewide U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Energy America Program (REAP) grant is open for applications through March 31, 2021, with funding covering up to 25% of project costs for eligible rural businesses and agriculture producers.

Grants for up to $20,000 are available and can help small rural businesses or agricultural producers who are planning to invest in a renewable energy system or increase their efficiency with upgrades such as LED lights and high-efficiency irrigation pivots, according to the USDA program.

The REAP program also provides guaranteed loan financing for renewable energy projects across the state, with combined grant and loan guarantee funding up to 75% of total eligible project costs.

For the fiscal year 2020, only $37,422 was awarded for three grants, well under the roughly $450,000 the federal program is allocated annually in the Silver State.

“You would think that with a grant program that provides up to 25% of the total project cost that we would have lots of interest, but in many years, that’s just not the case,” said USDA Rural Development Energy Coordinator Laura Chavez. “Sometimes the business needs don’t match up with or the investment doesn’t quite pencil out for them.”

The FY 2020 projects in Nevada are located in Overton, Caliente and Pahrump.

The Overton Power District #5, a nonprofit electrical utility that serves 16,000 customers in a 1,932-square-mile area of Mesquite, Overton, Longdale, Bunkerville and other parts of the Moapa and Virgin Valleys, will receive a $24,324 REAP grant to install a 33.6-kilowatt ground-mounted solar array, generating 61,404 kWh annually.

The Nevada Bank and Trust in Caliente was approved for a $5,187 REAP grant to replace light fixtures with high-efficiency LED lighting, reducing energy usage by 25% and expected to save the bank over $2,000 annually.

Firearms manufacturer Armscor Precision International in Pahrump was approved for $7,911 to replace light fixtures in its facility to improve working conditions and enhance energy efficiency, expecting to cut energy use by about 50% and save nearly $3,000 annually.

Funding is available statewide to eligible rural business applicants who are in communities with less than 50,000 population. Agriculture producers such as farmers and ranchers may be in rural and non-rural locations.

Applications for grants of $20,000 or less are due by March 31 and are available online here.

To learn more and determine if a project is eligible, contact Chavez at laura.chavez@usda.gov or 775-443-4764.

The USDA REAP program was created under the 2008 Farm Bill and reauthorized under the 2018 Farm Bill; applications for loan guarantees are accepted year-round.


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