$1.2 Million Pumped Into Kansas Energy Projects

The director of the Kansas Energy Program says a federal grant program that has pumped more than $1.2 million into the state since 2016 has helped to improve the economic viability of agricultural producers and small businesses in rural areas.

David Carter said the Rural Energy for America Program – known as REAP – provides guaranteed loan financing and grant funding for renewable energy systems, or to make energy efficiency improvements.

Agricultural producers are eligible to apply for new, energy-efficient equipment and new systems loans for agricultural production and processing, he said.

“We think this is huge for agricultural producers and small businesses,” Carter said.

REAP funds are available to small businesses in rural areas, or those with a population of 50,000 or less. Agricultural producers can be located in rural or non-rural areas.

Carter said funds can be used for such renewable energy systems as biomass, geothermal, hydropower, wind, solar and more. Funds also are available to install energy-efficient heating, insulation, light, cooling or refrigeration units, doors and windows and more.

The program is administered nationally through the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Complete information on the program is available online.

In Kansas, Carter said the Kansas Energy Program – housed at Kansas State University as part of the Engineering Extension program – provides free assistance with filling out applications for REAP, as well as a free energy assessment to support the request.

Carter said K-State’s no-cost help has helped to boost applications in the state. Since 2016, in addition to $1.2 million in grants received by Kansas businesses, the estimated annual savings in energy costs as a result of those projects totals more than $1.4 million.

REAP grants pay up to 50% of costs for eligible projects, Carter noted that the funds come through a reimbursement grant, which means that the producer pays all costs upfront, but then receives a reimbursement for a portion of the costs.

REAP funds can used in addition to potential federal tax credits or rebates that the producer may qualify for.

Since the onset of the REAP program, Carter said his staff has provided 173 free energy assessments in Kansas, reaching 65 counties and 110 communities. He said K-State’s program currently provides assistance in 84 of Kansas’ 105 counties.

More information about the Kansas Energy Program is available online, or by contacting Carter at [email protected], or 785-532-6026.