Tag Archives: REAP

USDA REAP grants for 2014

Applications are being accepted now for grants from the USDA Rural Energy for America Program (REAP). According to Bryan Zulko, the amount of funds available is still being worked out, and an announcement is expected in February. Meanwhile, the number of applications is low this year. To me that means that if you want to apply, you’ve got a better chance than usual of getting in.

Section 9007 of the 2008 Farm Bill established a grant, loan, and loan guarantee program to assist eligible farmers, ranchers, and rural small businesses in purchasing renewable energy systems and for making energy efficiency improvements.

Eligible projects include Continue reading

Farm Bill Forum Friday in Tifton with Sen. Saxby Chambliss

Two farm bill forums Friday: one in Jesup at 9AM, and one in Tifton at 2PM, both hosted by Senator Saxby Chambliss. GA Ag. Commissioner Gary Black will be at the one in Tifton. Might be a good place to mention you want the farm bill to reauthorize USDA Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) grants.

Press Release, 8 March 2012, Chambliss to Host 2012 Farm Bill Forum,

Events will be held March 16th in Jesup and Tifton

On Friday, March 16th, Sen. Chambliss will hold two forums to discuss the upcoming 2012 Farm Bill. The public is invited to attend.

Friday, March 16th, 2012
at 9 am

Altamaha Technical College
C. Paul Scott Polytechnical Center
1777 West Cherry Street
Jesup, GA 31545
Participants will include:
Zippy Duvall, Georgia Farm Bureau
Charles Hall, Georgia Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association
Robert Redding, Southern Peanut Farmers Federation
John Maguire , National Cotton Council

Friday, March 16th
at 2 pm

UGA Tifton Campus Conference Center
15 RDC Road
Tifton, GA 31793
Participants will include:
Gary Black, Georgia Commissioner of Agriculture
Charles Hall, Georgia Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association
Robert Redding, Southern Peanut Farmers Federation
John Maguire , National Cotton Council

Farm bill would reauthorize USDA REAP grants

Sen. Richard Lugar (R-Ind.) and Rep. Marlin Stutzman (R-Ind.) wrote for The Hill 5 March 2012, REFRESH Act: Strengthen rural communities and U.S. energy security
Reauthorize and reform the popular REAP program to demonstrate opportunities for economically viable energy investments and encourage loans rather than grants.
Rep. Sanford Bishop (D-Ga.) has long been working with local farmers and USDA to help with agriculture and rural jobs.

The Indiana Congress members continued:

Real commitment to rural growth requires that we put money where our mouth — or authorization — is. We offer basic mandatory funding that is more than paid for through cutting waste.

Renewable energy production creates jobs. Rural communities see potential for real economic growth in the emerging biofuel sector. Advances in technologies and agricultural techniques could offer economic benefits from coast to coast. Using the REFRESH Act as the basis for the next Farm Bill would help galvanize private investment in the sector, bringing jobs to a ready economy.

Indeed it can.

Obviously I like REAP grants, since we got one for Okra Paradise Farms. That 25% REAP grant plus an 35% ARRA NREL plus 35% GEFA credits will add up to 90% covered by grants and tax credits, which is a pretty good deal.

Now that remaining 10% is still a significant amount; like the price of a small car. But in 7-15 years (how long it will take to pay off this system, depending on how you figure it), what would the value of a car be? Much less than when you bought it. Meanwhile, these solar panels will be generating almost as much power as they are now, and they will continue to generate for at least a decade more, probably much more.

The big missing piece is up-front financing. Local banks will do it, but only for collateral. By which they mean real estate. Nope, they won’t take the solar equipment as collateral, even though it would still be operational many years from now.

Local banks or credit unions could see this as an opportunity and start accepting solar equipment as collateral. Beyond that, with a few changes to Georgia law, to deal with the power utility territoriality clause, and maybe to ban boondoggle charges for more dangerous and less job-producing power sources, we could get a commodity market in solar power in this state. You could put up solar panels like this, or more, on your house or business roof, and sell your excess power to somebody in Atlanta with less roof space. That would produce widely distributed energy, reducing need for foreign oil or dirty coal, lowering your electric bills, maybe even producing you a profit, and generating local jobs right here in south Georgia.

Private investment is ready to come in for utility-scale solar projects.

And companies like SolarCity that already do everything from financing to installation could do that in Georgia. Or home-grown companies could do that. Or local banks could finance while local companies installed.

Anyway, we have here on our workshop roof a proof of concept, operational right now, purchased partly via a USDA REAP grant.


Do you have solar energy yourself? Why yes, yes, I do

Grady Blankenship wrote a LTE in the VDT Wednesday, in which he asked “do you have solar energy yourself?” Why yes, yes, I do. And I have some questions for everyone at the end.

Back in 2009 we installed solar panels on our farm workshop. At the time the closest certified solar installer I could find was in Marietta. Four years ago there were 4 in the state. now there are forty. And that’s in a state that’s trailing North Carolina and even New Jersey in solar installations.

Also, I applied some weeks back for a USDA REAP grant for solar for Okra Paradise Farms. Much to our surprise, last week we Continue reading

What does this mean? —Leigh Touchton

This comment from Leigh Touchton came in last night on It’s not over until it’s over. I have added links and pictures. -jsq
I asked VLCIA Board member Roy Copeland afterwards whether this means the biomass incinerator is STILL going to be built? He shrugged and walked away.

Karen Noll asked Allan Ricketts what does this mean, since we all heard Lowndes County Commission Chairman Paulk give us a very different scenario at the last LCC meeting, and his remarks were covered in the Valdosta Daily Times. Mr. Ricketts said he was not aware of Chairman Paulk’s remarks.

Continue reading