REAP Grants for Agriculture Solar Projects

Energy costs for the agriculture industry keep rising and more companies are turning to solar energy to reduce those expenses.  For companies that choose solar, the payback can be in as few as 3 years.  Some companies choose to pay cash or use loans through their local bank or Farm Credit to finance their project. Both cash and  loan payment options allow companies to take advantage of the 30% federal tax credit as well as both state and federal accelerated depreciation that can represent another 20%. But for some companies, there is an additional 25% grant that they may be eligible for called the REAP Grant (Rural Energy for America Program).

Here are some highlights of the REAP Grant:

  • Available to ag producers and rural small businesses
  • The grants are for projects greater than $200K and can cover 25% but cap at $500,000 The grants ALWAYS run out in some states like California
  •  Grants have a rotating application. The next application is due April 2017 Last year $70M in grants were awarded
  • Grants are only available for cash or loan (no leases)
  • In addition to the grant, there is an 80% federal loan guarantee for up to $5M

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REC Solar has worked with several companies whose solar projects have qualified for these grants.  As the 2017 grant deadline draws near, we would love to review your situation and see if a REAP grant is something your solar project can take advantage of.  We work with third party grant writers that can make your application as competitive as possible.

REAP grants are competitive and are never guaranteed. However, the 75% potential discount can make REAP grants well worth the attempt!  Want to see how much your company can save with solar and if you qualify for a REAP Grant? Give our solar experts a call at 888-554-9398 and we can look at your site and evaluate your savings options.

 

PG&E NEM 2.0 is Around the Corner

The long-anticipated PG&E NEM 1.0 cap will be reached in the next few weeks. PG&E has been interconnecting about 3-3.5MW per day on average and with 34MW left at the time of this writing, the expectation is that before the end of the year, NEM 2.0 for PG&E will be in place.

The only way to ensure you are locked into NEM 1.0 is to have an Authorities Having Jurisdiction (AHJ) approval. PG&E will be working until midnight the day they hit the cap and everyone with a completed Interconnection Application and AHJ approval will make the cut. The next morning it will be NEM 2.0. It should be noted that you will not need a Permission to Operation (PTO) or have system upgrades to qualify. You just need to have the completed application and AHJ approval.

Some utilities like SDG&E hit their cap earlier in 2016 and the prediction as of now is that SCE will close their NEM 1.0 on June 30th, 2017 before reaching the cap.

What will the changes be with NEM 2.0?

  • Interconnection Application Fees – Application fees are only $145 for NEM projects under 1MW but will be more for those over 1MW. PG&E will need to process those payments before projects can go into electrical review.
  • Non-bypassable Charges – Fees will be charged on all the energy consumed that cannot be offset by what the customer exports to the grid. This fee will translate to about 2 cents per kilowatt hour, depending on rate tariffs, for all energy exported to the grid and not consumed onsite.
  • 10-year Warranty – All projects will require a minimum 10-year warranty on all equipment and the installation of that equipment.
  • 1MW Cap Lifted – Under NEM 1.0 there was a 1MW cap, which is being lifted for NEM 2.0. Projects over 1MW will now bear a greater portion of the utility costs if necessary distribution upgrades are needed as determined by PG&E.
  • Grandfathering – All NEM 2.0 projects will be grandfathered for 20 years from the date of initial operation.

REC Solar’s interconnection and rate specialists are in daily contact with the utilities and CALSEIA. We are also monitoring this change closely and working with our clients to address any questions.  If you have a project you have questions about or you are considering solar, please reach out to us via the form below and we can discuss your specific needs.

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