Running an agribusiness isn't easy. For one thing, it can be quite dependent on unpredictable factors, like the health and production of livestock and crops, as well as the weather. For another, it can be quite expensive. There is a reason why so many farmers have left the industry in recent years. Simply running an agribusiness involves a great deal of investment. You must pay to maintain your land, livestock, and crops, funding food, fertilizer, water, and of course many laborers. But one of the main reasons why these businesses are difficult and expensive to run is energy. It takes a great deal of electricity to power a farm or a similar business, and that monthly bill can wreak havoc on your finances if you aren't careful -- and for that matter, even if you are careful.
One potential option for those who run agribusinesses and want to cut down on their energy bills is solar power. Solar energy is financially beneficial in the long term, as it not only costs less to maintain than other power sources but stays that way for the long term. Typical electrical power typically rises in cost over time, while you're able to control your own solar power more effectively and therefore save money. But the initial installation of commercial solar panels, as well as the equipment you buy afterward, can be quite expensive. While you may be interested in solar energy for your business, the cost could be a lot to swallow. Fortunately, you have options available to help you pay for solar panels if you don't want to simply wait and save money with the intention of installing commercial solar energy systems later. Let's look into the REAP program and how it can help your harness solar energy now rather than later.
Believe it or not, the government actually wants you to invest in solar energy. This is how the REAP program came to exist, with REAP standing for Rural Energy for America Program. It is meant to provide grants as well as guaranteed loan financing for agribusinesses that are interested in investing in solar energy but perhaps lack the current funds for the initial investment. It is meant to implement renewable energy systems in general and push the United States towards strengthened energy efficiency. Ideally, the program's purpose is to increase energy independence in the United States and to generate a higher supply of clean energy across the private sector at large. Ideally, it should reduce energy costs for agricultural businesses for the long term, not simply for now.
Before you apply for the REAP program, you must first ensure that it is an option for your business. Both agricultural producers, like farmers, and rural small businesses are eligible for applying to be a part of the REAP program. The businesses do not need to exist solely within rural areas if they are agribusinesses. In order to be successful, the REAP grant applicants must be financially solvent, not be delinquent on payments or federal taxes, be the owner of the business in question, and not be under judgment or debarment at the time of the application. Those small businesses that are located within rural areas must be within areas with no more than 50,000 residents. The REAP program is often used for solar systems, but can also be used for other clean energy systems. The reason why many choose to use it for agriculture solar systems, of course, is the long term growth and production provided by those systems.
Through loans, those accepted into the REAP program up to 75% of their project costs, while grants can cover up to 25% of the project costs. When combining loans and grants, they can cover up to 75% of the program's costs.
The REAP program is a great way to fund your business's transition to solar energy and offset the initial costs while also making it possible for you to save money in the future through clean energy. It's no wonder that solar jobs have increased 160% since 2010; solar is the way of the future.