The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced their Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) grant application recently, according to Joel Haskard, Clean Energy Resource Teams (CERTs) co-director, University of Minnesota Extension's Regional Sustainable Development Partnerships.

These grants can pay for up to 25% of the eligible costs of a renewable energy project. He points out that this is a great opportunity but carries a very tight deadline: April 30, 2013.

What’s available? There is $10.4 million in grants and $43.4 million in guaranteed loans available this year. The application deadline for the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Improvement (REEI) and Feasibility Study grants is April 30, 2013. The application deadline for the REEI guaranteed loans is July 15, 2013. There will be no opportunity for the Energy Audits and Renewable Energy Development Assist (REDA) this year, due to the statutory application filing date of April 1.

How do you apply? For those interested in an application template, they can be found on the MN REAP webpage under their respective technology. The page also contains information on applicant eligibility, past awards and potential financial assistance.

To learn more about applying, please see a recent blog postand an in-depth fact sheet about REAP from CERTs.