You may not know it, but if you’re a small rural business or own an agricultural producing operation such as a dairy farm, you could receive a grant and/or loan from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to install a solar system on your property.
The program is called REAP (Rural Energy for America Program), and it provides federal funds to rural businesses to install renewable energy systems or to make energy efficient improvements to their operations. REAP recipients can receive a loan, grant or combination of the two for up to 75% of the total cost to install a solar panel system. To qualify, you must earn at least 50% of your gross income from an agricultural producing operation or be a small business located in a rural area with a population of 50,000 or less.
Those qualifying for REAP funding may also take advantage of the 26% federal income tax credit to go solar and are able to depreciate the cost of their system over five years through Modified Accelerated Cost Recovery System (MACRS).
Installing a solar panel system on your business is a great way to save money. It locks in the monthly cost of electricity and provides certainty that your bill will never be higher or lower. Also, once your system is paid off, the only thing you will pay is a monthly fee to be connected to the grid. Solar panels operate at peak efficiency for approximately 20-25 years, but last much longer, and are very durable and weather resistant, even to hail. Solar is a great business investment that actually pays you back and allows you to avoid seasonal spikes in your electric bill as well as rate increases from your electric utility. Plus, with the federal tax credit, REAP funding and accelerated depreciation, your investment will be a fraction of what others might pay.
For further details about the REAP program and to apply, visit the USDA’s webpage on this subject or print out this REAP fact sheet. Also, be sure to check out Shine Solar’s commercial business page to learn more about how your business can save money by going solar and how we can help you get the right solar panel system for your needs.
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