What Can You Do With REAP? I'm Greg Martin as Line On Agriculture presents the Harvest Clean Energy Report.
Deadlines are quickly approaching for you to submit your applications for the Rural Energy for America Program or REAP. Andy Olson, an energy consultant with E-Newables, talks about just some of the many varied projects he has helped work on.
OLSON: We have received a lot of phone calls from people who are interested in projects. We have received calls from all over the northwest, Washington, Utah, Nevada, Montana, Oregon but here in Idaho we've mostly been focusing on variable frequency drives, the changes you can make to your motors and pumps on the farm that pump the water and make them more efficient. I just recently completed a grant for a geothermal project for a greenhouse down in Buhl. We've also been working on a solar panel project and a solar thermal heated water system for a dairy. We also do a lot of energy efficient upgrades and improvements for rural small businesses as well.
Olson says that REAP is open to a lot of different ideas but gives us a little insight on those projects that have the best chances.
OLSON: There's a couple different pools of money set aside for these projects and we've found the ones that have the best chance of being funded are projects under 80-thousand and the REAP program will only cover 25% of the eligible project costs so if you are asking less than 20-thousand you've got a really good shot. But if you are asking for more you still have a good chance you just have to compete at a national level.
The projects range from small $1500 projects up to multi-million dollar grants. Olson says paybacks are pretty good on most projects and he says their success rate for grants has been good.
OLSON: Last year we had a success rate of 80%. That was the total grant applications submitted and a couple of those weren't done by professionals. They were done by just your average person trying to go through the government fine details. So the only projects that didn't get funded were the ones that were incomplete or did not show very good returns on investment. But we don't know for this year because the deadline is June 30th for this funding cycle
For additional information on clean energy, visit harvestcleanenergy.org. That's today's Line On Agriculture. I'm Greg Martin on the Ag Information Network.