Now slated to have hundreds of millions more dollars available after Biden’s signing of the Inflation Reduction Act, the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) runs a the Renewable Energy for America Program (REAP) which has already helped over 20,000 rural small businesses, ranchers, and farmers.

REAP helps reduce costs in rural areas by supplementing the costs for solar arrays and other energy efficiency improvements, like high efficiency cooling units or HVAC systems or switching from diesel to electric irrigation motors.

Grants cover 25% of installation costs and there is an additional federal tax credit to cover 30% of the total cost. These increases in affordability mean monthly electricity bills can be reduced to zero and the investments could be paid off in just three to five years.

Projects proposed by people who identify with racial and ethnic groups the USDA defines as “socially disadvantaged,” as well as those which reduce current energy bills, are more likely to to be awarded.

In the face of climate crisis, the REAP program has been identified as a top USDA program to confront climate change.

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