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Heads up, Bozeman Business Owners! REAP Grants Expire on Sept. 30th.


September 6, 2023

The next round of the USDA Rural Energy For America Program grant deadline is approaching fast like the fall season in Montana. After Sept. 30th, businesses within the City of Bozeman will no longer qualify for the REAP grants due to Bozeman’s sunsetting rural designation after the 2020 U.S. Census. This is the last chance for businesses within the City of Bozeman to take advantage of the significant incentives and savings by going solar.

What is REAP (Rural Energy For America Program)?
Are you curious about REAP? It's a grant and loan guarantee program with financial assistance to agricultural producers and rural small businesses for renewable energy systems or energy efficiency improvements.

Do I qualify for REAP?
Rural Small Businesses and agricultural producers are eligible to apply for installing solar panels and other renewable energy systems. Small businesses must be in an eligible rural area and meet the Small Business Administration size standards. Residential homeowners and property owners who lease/rent their properties for long-term residential purposes do not qualify. 

It's important to note that after September 30, 2023, businesses within the city limits of Bozeman will no longer qualify for the program due to Bozeman's loss of its rural designation after the 2020 census.

What does this mean for my business?
Currently, the program covers up to 50% of project costs due to increased funding from the Inflation Reduction Act. The maximum grant award is $1,500,000 for a fiscal year. Entities can apply for REAP funding more than once.

Installing a solar system means savings on operational costs for your business, which means higher profits or money you can invest back into your business. Even if you receive REAP funding, your business will still qualify for the Investment Tax Credit, which is 30% of the total cost. You could pay for up to 90% of the solar system with available incentives and savings.

What's the Return on Investment and Payback Period for my solar panels system?
With current equipment and labor costs and funding availability, we have been seeing solar system paybacks within 3-7 years. Most solar system components have warranties between 15-25 years, and most systems will produce energy for at least 25 years.

Finally, the grant aims to reduce operating costs for small businesses and agricultural producers. If you own a business that runs out of your home, you must be able to prove that more than half of the electricity used is consumed. The USDA typically requires 12 months of energy consumption data to show proof.

Bozeman REAP eligibility expires on 9/30/2023
Bozeman REAP eligibility expires on 9/30/2023
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