Solar Grants for Small Businesses

The USDA is offering solar grants and loans through the REAP program for those interested in going solar with their farm or small business. With REAP, making the switch to solar is easier and costs your business less.

What is the USDA REAP Grant Program?

The Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) provides financial assistance to agricultural producers and rural (towns with less than 50,000 people) small businesses in America to purchase, install, and construct renewable energy systems, make energy efficiency improvements to non-residential buildings and facilities, use renewable technologies that reduce energy consumption, and participate in energy audits and renewable energy development assistance.

Funding from the REAP Solar Grants and Loans

These grants and loans are awarded on a competitive basis and include:

• Grants and loans to fund installation of Solar Renewable Energy systems: $2,500 minimum to $500,000 maximum
• Grants and loans to fund Energy Efficiency improvements: Rebate amount $1,500 minimum to $250,000 maximum

The cost of installing solar is at an all-time low and prices are falling each year. If you combine a REAP grant with the 26% tax credit (and other state incentives), you can significantly decrease the costs of going solar!

Now is the time to lock in low energy costs and start saving immediately with solar and energy efficiency upgrades.

Who is Eligible for REAP grants?

There are two groups eligible for USDA REAP grants: farmers and rural, small businesses.

Farmers (Schedule F):

Agricultural producers with at least 50% of their gross income coming from agricultural operations are eligible for REAP. If applying as a farm, there are no size or geographical restrictions. You can be a huge farm or an urban farm and you do not need to meet any of the “rural small business” requirements. However, in this case, very small farms should be advised that more than 50% of household income must come from the sale of agricultural products (determined by the average percentage over the last three years). If this is not the case, your farm business will need to at least be separately incorporated and be considered eligible as a “rural small business.”

Small, Rural Businesses (Form 1065 or 1120):

If you file a 1065 or 1120, you will be applying as a rural small business. The rules for qualifying are similar to those of farms: the majority of electricity consumed on the property must be for business purposes only, and the applicant can’t owe any back taxes. In most cases, businesses that operate out of your residence do not qualify.

Are you rural?
To be eligible, the business must be located in a rural, qualifying area. To determine if your business is in a qualifying area, you can use the USDA’s Eligibility Map. If your property is close to a qualifying area but it’s not quite within the shaded portion, check with a USDA Grant professional to determine whether or not it qualifies. Find out here if your business is in an eligible address.

Are you a small business?
To be eligible, your business must qualify as a “small business”. If you aren’t certain whether or not your business is legally defined as a “small” business, you can check your NAICS code at the NAICS website here. You can also check your SBA-defined business size at the SBA website here.

How to Get Started & Where to Apply

Applications for REAP are accepted year-round at your local office and you can contact your state rural energy coordinator with any questions. For more information regarding applicant and project eligibility for loans and grants, visit the USDA REAP webpage, read the eligibility requirements in the most recent Solicitation of Applications for REAP funding in the Federal Registry, and/or contact your state rural energy coordinator.

ROXBOX Makes It Easy for your Small Business to Apply for the REAP Solar Grant

It may seem complicated applying for a grant from the government, but don’t worry. We have helped many businesses take advantage of these commercial solar grants. ROXBOX will walk you through the application process and will help you secure your solar grants and loans with ease!

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