USDA has small-wind-turbine grants to cover 25% of costs but applications are due July 31, 2009. Farmers, ranchers, and rural business owners can apply for the USDA Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) grants. These provide funds to purchase and install small wind turbines or other renewable energy systems. But combine the grants with Federal Investment Tax Credit and a farmer can install a small wind turbine for about 50% of the full cost. David Shirkey of Renewable Options & Investments (ROI) says installing a turbine where wind speeds average 11 mph and the utility rate is $0.12/kWh, calculates to a 12% annual return rate on the investment and a payback of eight years.
The incentive package may be more attractive in certain locations where the local utility cooperative (or rural electric association) offers a rebate to members. In these cases, farmers could see a greater return on investment and a shorter term payback.
The grant program is intended to assist farmers and ranchers who gain 50% or more of their gross income from agricultural operations. Rural small businesses with less than 15 employees are also eligible. The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) can supply examples of farmers and small businesses that have installed small wind turbine systems on their property.
For more information:
- Renewable Options & Investments (firstname.lastname@example.org, (517) 812-3285
- USDA Rural Development Offices
- Database of State Incentives for Renewable Energy (DSIRE), and
- American Wind Energy Association
Filed Under: News, Projects