| Deadlines Are April 15 and June 15, 2008...
USDA Rural Development Renewable Energy Loans and Grants
Farmers, ranchers and rural small businesses have new opportunities to install energy efficiency upgrades and new renewable energy systems with grants and loans from USDA Rural Development. This year's Section 9006 Renewable Energy Systems and Energy Efficiency Improvements Program rules are similar to last year's, with a few changes. Congress boosted total 2008 funding for this program from $23 million to $36 million in recognition of demand for Section 9006 financing.
Eligible applicants may seek loan guarantees to cover up to 50 percent of a projectís cost, not to exceed $10 million. Grants are available for up to 25 percent of a projectís cost, not to exceed $250,000 for energyefficiency improvements and $500,000 for renewable energy systems.
USDA will issue one grant solicitation for two separate competitions this year. For the first competitive window, grant-only applications must be submitted no later than April 15, 2008. For the second competitive window, grant-only applications must be submitted no earlier than April 16, 2008, and no later than June 16, 2008. For grants, USDA is making $15.9 million available for 2008 (though more may come later from unused loan guarantee allocations). Fifty percent of the grant funding will be set aside for each cycle. Applications not funded in the first cycle will be reconsidered in the second cycle.
Applications for loan guarantees, as well as those for loan/grant combinations must be completed and submitted no later than June 16, 2008. Combination applications will be evaluated on a bi-weekly basis once loan/grant combination funds become available. USDA has provided funding resulting in $205 million in loan guarantees, leveraging $19.9 million in Congressional funding.
The grant portion of the combination package must score at least 70 percent of available points (minimum of 84 points), of which at least 24 points must be for technical merit. It must also demonstrate financial need. Applications that do not meet these thresholds may be resubmitted as a guaranteed loan only application.
For more information contact your local Nebraska Rural Development office by phoning (402) 437-5551 or phone Deb Yocum (402) 437-5554. Nebraska applications are to be submitted to the USDA Rural Development State Office, Room 152 Federal Building, 100 Centennial Mall North, Lincoln, Nebraska 68508 by stated deadlines. Grant applicants have the option to submit applications online from www.grants.gov and submit their application electronically. (At the time of this writing, the application is not yet available). Loan guarantee applications can only be submitted in paper form.
Seven Years, $674 Million
USDA Rural Development has invested $674 million in more than 1,763 renewable energy and energy efficiency projects since 2001.
In the past five years, Nebraskans have received more than $4.161 million in 311 grants.
Nationally, these investments include energy efficiency, ethanol, biodiesel, wind, solar, geothermal, methane gas recovery systems and biomass projects.