The project is funded by the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) Energy Audit & Renewable Energy Development Assistance (EA/REDA) Grants, a nationwide United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development program
Investigators from the University of Missouri (MU) were first awarded a REAP Energy Audit Grant in 2015. A new REAP Energy Audit Grant was awarded to the UM faculty in 2017. The goal of the project is to provide affordable professional energy audits for farms and small businesses across the state of Missouri. Comprehensive energy audits are a necessary first step towards modifications, acquisition of energy saving equipment, and new management practices that will save money while also reduce energy consumption and associated environmental costs.
Audits will identify various energy saving practices for possible implementation and provide technical and financial information needed for applications to REAP energy grants and loans.
Rural Energy for America Program, i.e. REAP, helps increase American energy independence by increasing the private sector supply of renewable energy and decreasing the demand for energy through energy efficiency improvements.
The REAP provides guaranteed loan financing and grant funding to agricultural producers and rural small businesses for renewable energy systems or to make energy efficiency improvements. Over time, these investments can also help lower the cost of energy costs for small businesses and agricultural producers.
Audits will follow USDA guidelines and will provide a comprehensive report of results and recommendations to both the client and project management team. An example of such report can be found in the Case study section. A typical report will provide detailed information on current energy usage, recommendations for potential improvements, estimated implementation costs, resulting savings, the rate of dollars saved per year, and the simple payback period.
The energy audit process will also educate the client about the technical aspects of their operations, including processes and related activities where more efficient energy utilization can be accomplished. The clients will also be introduced to the relevant Best-Practices software/tools/resources used in the development of audit recommendations. Clients will be introduced to various USDA programs designed to provide funding for implementing audit recommendations.
One such program is Renewable Energy Systems and Energy Efficiency Improvement Loans and Grants, which generally requires an energy audit report as part of the qualification.
The grants and loans are made on a competitive basis. Applications are taken year round at the local USDA Rural Development offices. Loan guarantees can be made on loans up to 75% of the total eligible project costs. Grants can be made on up to 25% of total eligible costs. Combined loan and grant funding is limited to 75% of the project cost. Loan guarantees have a $5000 minimum and a $25 million maximum. Grants for alternative energy projects have a $2500 minimum and a $500,000 maximum. There is a $250,000 maximum for energy efficiency projects.
Project Manager, PE, CEM
Business Program Manager