Solar for farms and rural small businesses
Are you a farmer or rural small business owner? Ever thought about going solar? We can connect you with the resources you need to bring solar energy to your farm or business.
How we can help you go solar
We are a nonprofit – not a solar installer or sales company – and our experts are unbiased and independent. Our Solar Help Desk can help you review installer proposals and answer questions like:
- How much will my solar system cost?
- Should I install a rooftop or ground mounted system?
- How can I finance my solar project
- How do I choose an installer?
- What permits and approvals will I need?
If you decide that you would like more support, we offer consulting services to advise and advocate for you throughout the entire process of taking your farm or business solar.
Our Heartland Regional Field Director, Autumn Long, can provide expert, vendor-neutral information to help you understand your options and compare proposals from solar installers. We also help identify and apply for grant opportunities and guaranteed loan-financing programs available for agricultural producers and rural small businesses.
Our team is ready to help you qualify for financing assistance for your solar energy projects, through programs which can:
- Cover up to 25% of the cost of going solar through the USDA Rural Energy for America Program (REAP), which offers offers grant funding and guaranteed loan financing to agricultural producers and rural small businesses for renewable energy systems or energy efficiency improvements. This program has already provided hundreds of millions of dollars in grants and loan guarantees to fund thousands of renewable energy projects across the country.
- Provide technical information and energy upgrade financing through the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) Energy Initiative.
“The REAP program was a deciding factor.” Tommye Rafes, who went solar as part of Solar United Neighbors’ Lewisburg (WV) Solar Co-op in 2017. Tommye and her husband Richard installed a 21kW solar array on their farm, TL Fruits & Vegetables, with the help of a USDA REAP grant. She estimates the investment will pay for itself within about six years.
“[REAP] could be an answer to more rural businesses trying to stay in business.” Debby Kay of Chilbrook Kennels in Harpers Ferry, West Virginia. Kay used REAP funding to add a 7.2kW ground-mounted solar array and battery storage to her business in 2017.
“We wouldn’t have done it without the REAP grant.” Jennifer Kahly of Possum Tail Farm in Terra Alta, West Virginia. Jennifer and her husband used REAP to add a 18.3kW rooftop solar array and an Electric Vehicle charger for customers to their farm in 2018.
Check out our Solar for Agricultural Producers info page to learn more about solar financing options and resource providers in your area.
Contact our Solar Help Desk Learn about financing solar on your property with USDA Rural Energy for American Program (REAP) funding in this webinar with Autumn.