Exploring the Rural Energy for America Program: Renewable Energy Systems & Energy Efficiency Improvement

The Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) plays a crucial role in promoting renewable energy systems and energy efficiency improvements in agricultural production and rural small businesses. By providing guaranteed loan financing and grant funding, REAP aims to increase American energy independence, reduce energy costs, and contribute to a greener and more sustainable future.

 Rural Energy for America Program (REAP)

REAP Program overview:

REAP offers financial support to agricultural producers and rural small businesses for the implementation of renewable energy systems or energy efficiency upgrades. This encompasses a wide range of solutions, such as biomass, geothermal, hydropower, hydrogen, wind, solar, and more. Funding can also be utilized for the purchase and installation of energy-efficient equipment and systems that improve agricultural production and processing.


The program is open to agricultural producers who derive at least 50% of their gross income from agricultural operations and small businesses located in eligible rural areas. Small businesses must meet the Small Business Administration size standards as per 13 CFR 121. It is important to note that applicants must have no outstanding delinquent federal taxes, debt, judgments, or debarment.

Loan Guarantees and Grants:

REAP offers loan guarantees covering up to 75% of total eligible project costs, with the loan term not exceeding 40 years. Additionally, grants are available for up to 50% of total eligible project costs. Applicants must provide matching funds for grant applications, and the federal share is limited to 25-50%, depending on the project type. The maximum loan guarantee percentage is determined annually.

Usage of Funds:

Funds obtained through REAP can be utilized for various purposes. Renewable energy systems, including biomass, geothermal, hydropower, wind, solar, and others, can be purchased and installed. Additionally, energy efficiency improvements such as high-efficiency HVAC systems, insulation, lighting, cooling or refrigeration units, and more are eligible. Agricultural producers can also use guaranteed loan funds for energy-efficient equipment and systems for agricultural production and processing.

Application Process and Contacts:

Applications for REAP can be submitted year-round at your local Rural Development office. To get started, it is beneficial to contact your State Rural Development Energy Coordinator, who can provide guidance and assistance throughout the application process. They will also be able to address specific questions related to the program.

The Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) is an essential initiative that supports the adoption of renewable energy systems and energy efficiency improvements in rural America. Through a combination of loan guarantees and grants, agricultural producers and small businesses can access funding to implement sustainable and energy-saving solutions. By leveraging these resources, REAP contributes to energy independence, cost reduction, and a greener future for rural communities.