Federal Grant Could Help Save You Thousands

25 Jun 2015

Before embarking on an expansion, remodel or energy upgrade, business owners or farmers might benefit to check with the Phelps County Development Corporation first.


PCDC Executive Director Monica Boyken said her office receives a steady stream of alerts about programs or grants to help business owners.


“It’s always good to let us know if you’ve got an upcoming project,” she said. Then, she and her staff can share information about grants, loans or other assistance that may be relevant.


For example, PCDC recently received information about a federal grant for business owners or farmers looking to save money on energy costs.


Applications are due June 30 for the USDA’s Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) that will pay for 25 percent of energy-savings projects through a grant. The program will also provide a guaranteed loan for up to 75 percent of the project cost.


Two local businesses received similar energy efficiency grants several years ago.


Phil and Kim Hinrichs, who own Farm Bureau Financial Services, received an energy grant for windows, insulation, exterior improvements, HVAC and roofing work for their business at 411 Grant.


Kim also applied for and received a similar grant for the Sun Theater renovation project.


“It was a wonderful benefit for both projects,” Kim said. “For the investment that you are going to be making in your project, it’s well worth the time that it takes to fill out the application.”


Kim said she worked closely with the staff at the USDA office during the application process and worked with NPPD staff for an energy audit prior to the application. She said it’s critical that none of the construction begins prior to applying for the grant.


For business owners, qualifying project examples include:

  • Replacing lighting or refrigeration systems in commercial buildings.
  • Installing HVAC equipment.
  • Retrofitting.
  • Replacing inefficient windows and doors.
  • Adding insulation.


For farmers, qualifying project examples include:

  • Converting irrigation systems to more efficient units including: new pumps, motors, gear heads or converting from gravity flow to low pressure pivots or to sub-surface drip irrigation.
  • Energy efficiency improvements to grain dryers or shop buildings.


Wagner’s Supermarket in Arapahoe received a past REAP grant to replace freezers and coolers. The project resulted in a 75 percent annual energy savings, or $23,289 per year. 


For more information regarding the REAP program, please contact PCDC at (308) 995-4148, visit http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/BCP_Reap.html or contact Kelley Messenger, Business Programs Specialist, USDA Rural Development, (308) 237-3118 ext. 1120, kelley.messenger@ne.usda.gov.