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Are you interested in learning more about the many benefits that renewable energy can provide to your farm or business and finding some grant money to get you started?
The Greater Portland Council of Governments (GPCOG) and Community Energy Partners of Freeport are providing free assistance to rural small businesses and agricultural producers in Maine on the "how to" of developing renewable energy projects, (including solar, biomass, renewable biodiesel and others), and accessing federal funding from the USDA’s Renewable Energy for America Program (or REAP).
Eligible recipients for technical assistance and REAP grants include ag producers whose agricultural production is 50% or more of their gross income, and rural small businesses which are located outside of Portland. Most small businesses in Maine meet the qualifications to be called “rural”, even if they are in towns.
Some of the benefits of renewable energy are that it:
Lowers long-term energy costs;
Enhances energy independence;
Increases business revenues;
Keeps energy dollars local; and
Improves local energy reliability.
The GPCOG/CEP team Is providing one-on-one free technical assistance as well as educational workshops on such topics as: 1) securing federal renewable energy grants/loans to get your project off the ground, and 2) utilizing sate and local policies, such as "net energy billing” (or NEB). NEB allows you to cost-effectively invest and install a renewable energy generator.
REAP applications are now being accepted for USDA guaranteed loans for renewable energy systems through a local lender. Guaranteed loans are available for up to 75% of the total project cost and loan amounts can range from $5,000 to $25 million. (25% of project costs must come from other sources.)
REAP grant applications are due May 2, 2016. For more information, contact Jennifer Brennan with GPCOG at 774-9891 or Sue Jones with Community Energy Partners at 751-0749 to set up an appointment.
Image Courtesy of Greater Portland Council of Governments.