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Rural Energy for America program offers 50% reimbursal grants to rural and agricultural businesses

Funds can be used to upgrade and purchase equipment that focus on energy efficiency and renewable energy
A new real-time energy market could help Tri-State Generation and Transmission development more renewable energy projects.

For-profit rural small businesses and agricultural producers have the opportunity to obtain a 50% reimbursal grant to help purchase equipment through the United States Department of Agriculture’s Rural Energy for America Program.

Businesses that want to incorporate renewable energy – wind, solar, hydro, geothermal – are able to receive the grant to help them obtain the equipment needed to achieve their goals.

The funds can also be used for energy efficiency improvements, such as lighting, electric and replacements.

A reimbursable grant means that the equipment has to be operational for 30 days, according to the State Director for Colorado’s USDA Rural Development program, Armando Valdez.

Business owners go through an application process before they purchase the equipment. After they get approved they can then obtain and use the equipment.

One real-life example for this use includes pivotal irrigation that runs on solar power in several agricultural areas throughout the state.

Another example includes a retail operation that had significant amounts of cooling refrigeration. After an energy audit the business received a reimbursement grant to upgrade their equipment.

It cannot be used for residential purposes, only for farmers and ranchers. If the business is located on the residential property, then they will have two utility boxes to determine how much energy the business uses.

For local businesses that are interested, Cortez’s rural office can be contacted at (970) 565-9045 ext. 4.

General inquiries can also be emailed to REAP at SM.CO.REAP@usda.gov.

More information can be found here.