By Darrell Boone
In the February issue of Indiana Prairie Farmer, an astute reader, who also happens to own a solar energy system, noticed what first appeared to be a mistake – a no-no that would not be allowed. In the article on Rochester's Tom Weaver and his family's solar array, it stated that his solar system powered his entire farm operation, including his home.
That would not be allowed under a grant he applied for and received to help install the solar array for his farm. A quick call to Weaver clarified that while the solar system does in fact power both his farm operation and his home, the home is on a separate panel and meter. It was not included in his Rural Energy for America grant application. At this time funding from a REAP grant from the federal government may not be used for a residence.
However, if you're an agricultural producer who makes greater than 50% of your income form farming, or a rural small business owner, you're eligible to apply for a REAP grant. Eligible projects include things like adding a renewable energy system to an existing rural business or farm to offset utility costs. It would also cover applications for projects that would make energy efficiency improvements to greenhouses, shops or stores.
Weaver did qualify and receive a REAP grant to help install the solar array system used to power his farm operation. He also has a solar array that powers an irrigation rig.
For more specific information on REAP grants, you can visit this rural development website.
To discuss REAP possibilities and whether it might be right for you with an energy specialist in your area. In southern Indiana contact Jerry Hay at 812-346-3411, ext. 126, or email: [email protected]. In northern Indiana you can contact Curtis Johnson, at 765-747-5531, ext. 110. Or you can email him at: [email protected], for a referral.