USDA Rural Development has rural energy funds available for small rural businesses and agricultural producers to improve energy efficiency systems or install renewable energy systems under the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP).

The REAP grant can provide up to 25% of the project costs for energy efficiency improvements and renewable energy systems. Applications can be submitted year-round and the application deadline is March 31, 2020. Contact Laura Chavez at Nevada Rural Development for information at (775) 443- 4764 or at laura.chavez@usda.gov

Recipients can use REAP funding to install renewable energy systems such as biomass, geothermal, hydropower and solar. The funding can also be used to increase energy savings by making improvements to heating, ventilation and cooling systems; insulation; and lighting and refrigeration.

In December, Deputy Under Secretary for Rural Development Donald “DJ” LaVoy announced that the agency had invested $237 million nationwide to help farmers, agricultural producers and small rural businesses lower energy costs.

In 2019 Nevada Rural Development provided H&M Ely, a small auto parts store in Ely with a $27,086 grant to assist with one-fourth of the project costs to enhance energy efficiency and lighting. The improvements are expected to save the business 77,487 BTUs annually, a cost savings estimated at $8,036 a year.

In 2017 Railroad Valley Farms in central Nevada received a $253,405 grant to purchase and install two 305 kW solar PV systems on the off-grid farming operation to replace much of the diesel fuel that was used to power irrigation pivots. The solar panels generate about 738,871 kWh of renewable energy per year and will greatly reduce carbon emissions.