USDA to hold workshop in Aiken on REAP grants

The USDA is holding a workshop on Thursday in Aiken to talk about REAP grants.   USDA

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Rural Development division will hold a workshop in Aiken, S.C., on Thursday to discuss the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP).

The meeting will run from 9:30 a.m. until noon at the Aiken Electric Co-op Community Room, 2790 Wagner Road in Aiken.

REAP offers rural small businesses and farmers assistance with lowering energy consumption. About 25 percent of the cost to improve energy efficiency for an agriculture operation, building or facility can be covered with REAP grants.

Up to $250,000 can be given out for energy efficiency projects, with the minimum amount set at $1,500. Grants to help pay for systems that produce or deliver usable energy from renewable energy sources are also available. The maximum grant allowed for those projects is $500,000, and the minimum amount is $2,500.

Small-business owners and agriculture producers should consider attending if their utility bills are too high; if grain dryers are inefficient and old; if they are interested in installing solar panels; or if they want to create another renewable energy source.

Applications are accepted by the Rural Development division at any time, but grants are usually awarded in September annually.

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