Small Scale

2014 REAP Funding Announced

*May 5, 2014  – The USDA announced funding for the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP). REAP provides grants and loan guarantees to farmers, ranchers and rural small businesses for a wide range of energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies. You can see the official notice here

This funding announcement is the first of two rounds of funding to be announced this year. The available funds total $28.2 million. Later this year, the USDA will release the final REAP rule and announce the mandatory funding from the Farm Bill of $50 million. The ultimate share of this funding between grants and loan guarantees will be determined by public demand.

The USDA application deadlines follow:

 Applications involving grantsJuly 7, 2014
 Guaranteed loan only applicationsJuly 31, 2014

The first step for potential applicants with project plans in hand is to contact the USDA Rural Development state energy coordinator. It is important to work with these staff, who can help you through the application process. It is also important to connect with your energy coordinators early in the process – and well in advance of deadlines — as they become very busy.

Due to changes in the new Farm Bill, there will be no funding for flexible fuel blender pumps or feasibility studies. Due to the late funding notice (after April 1), there will be no funding in 2014 for Energy Audits or Renewable Energy Development Assistance. 

Editorial Note: USDA Continues Loan Guarantee Preference

The funding notice includes a number of regrettable and unneeded preferences for loan guarantees over grants that complicate the program, such as longer timelines and preferred treatment of applications. The USDA’s continuing preference for loan guarantees is quite odd given the well-established disinterest from the public in loan guarantees. Loan guarantees primarily help bankers and actually cost money to the project owner while not lowering financing costs. We would prefer the agency to drop this preference and focus on the program mission.

*Adapted from the Environmental Law and Policy Center announcement.

Small Wind Turbine Program Aimed at Furthering Small Wind Development in MN

In 2011, with a grant from the USDA, Windustry and the Region Nine Renewable Energy Task Force launched a Small Wind Bulk Buy Program to help rural enterprises take advantage of the state's wind resources and net-metering laws.

The program was supported by a USDA Rural Business Enterprise Grant, and other funders to support small wind energy, and the consequent economic development in the region. It provided Small Wind 101 training sessions, as well as technical and logistical support, including wind resource evaluation, site selection, economic evaluation, turbine selection, and support with permitting. The program focused on machines ranging in size from 2.4 kW to just under 40kW.

As of May, 2012, the funds from the USDA ran out and the application for renewal was declined. However, the Region Nine Renewable Energy Task Force still supports the program in a limited fashion; and the resources that were developed, in particular the Small Wind Guide and the Small Wind Financial Calculator, continue to be available below.



This is a wonderful opportunity for those who have considered wind power to find out if it really makes sense for them. People will get an honest evaluation, and for those who want to move forward, the path will be made as smooth as possible.

—Rich Huelskamp, Renewable Energy consultant, The Sun's Warmth

Windustry Program Analyst Dan Turner: "Region Nine has learned a great deal about making this program work efficiently. Those in the region who can take advantage of it will be well served.

It makes small wind turbines more attractive as investments both to offset electric bills and, in some cases, to generate revenue. Industry growth in the area engages a local workforce trained to install and maintain small wind turbines, stimulates supply chain business development, and keeps energy dollars local to maintain and build the rural economy."


Download Small Wind Guide

Download the Small Wind Guide for a basic overview about small wind electric systems to help you decide if wind energy is right for you.

Download the Small Wind Financial Calculator for Minnesota Net Metering Situations, requires Microsoft Excel or compatible software.


Small Wind Conference 2010 draws large and engaged group

Windustry helped organize and produce the sixth annual Small Wind Conference, held this past June in Stevens Point, Wisconsin. Nearly 400 small wind systems and business colleagues attended from across the United States, as well as Mexico, Canada, Europe, Japan, and South Korea.

A keynote address kicked off the two-day event, given by Larry Flowers, National Wind Technology Center Principal Project Leader at National Renewable Energy Laboratory. Guests then enjoyed networking opportunities and presentations covering relevant and timely topics for policy analysts, manufacturers, and installers.

The conference wrapped up in Pfiffner Park, on the beautiful Wisconsin Riverfront, at a barbeque sponsored by Bergey Windpower.

Small Wind Conference 2010 presentation highlights:

  • Administrators of three state public-benefits programs explained what they look for in grant applications.
  • Manufacturers gave updates on the status of their companies and products, including an in-depth look at midsized turbines (turbines above 100 kW and below 1000kW), a fast growing segment of community wind installations.
  • Presentations for installers discussed climbing safety, what installers need in order to make their businesses sustainable, and a brainstorming session to help organize a working group to craft a best practices and standards document.
  • National Standards, for both turbines and installers, was the subject of a panel discussion with representatives from the Small Wind Certification Council (SWCC), the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP), and Underwriters Laboratories. Topics included certification, safety codes, turbine testing and results, wind resource measurement, and siting.
  • Poster sessions included presentations on wind energy education, wind assessment techniques, turbine manufacturers, and regional small wind test centers at Department of Energy/NREL

Award presenters and recipients

Awards given during the conference recognized individual contributions, while also highlighting milestones, in the small wind field:

  • Robert Preus, of XZERES Wind, was presented with the Wind Powering America Small Wind Advocate Award for his leadership and dedication in championing the US small wind turbine market, and particularly for his advocacy work to remove small wind barriers in Texas, Idaho, and Oregon.
  • Dr. Robert Wills, PE, from, was recognized along with Preus, for updating the National Electric Code to include comprehensive requirements for small wind turbines that will increase safety and validate the small wind industry.
  • Lisa and Joe DiFrancisco, of North Coast Energy Systems in Pennsylvania, received the Small Wind Conference Installer of the Year Award for their work in advancing the interests of small wind in the eastern United States.
  • Ken Starcher, of the Alternative Energy Institute in Texas, received The Small Wind Educator Award for his role in advocating for small wind technology and educating numerous university students, international interns, and consumers on small wind industry issues.

The annual conference is developed and coordinated by a Small Wind Conference Coordinating Committee. This year, it was supported by a record, 22 sponsors and 25 exhibitors. The seventh annual Small Wind Conference will take place on June 13 - 15 in Stevens Point at the Holiday Inn Conference Center.

Evening by the River at the Small Wind Conference

Americans Making Power Act Proposes National Net Metering

July 2010, Washington, D.C. - Rep. Jay Inslee (WA) has introduced the Americans Making Power Act, or AMP Act, which would establish a national standard for net metering. The legislation would allow Americans to feed back into the grid excess renewable power they generate through their homes, small businesses and even places of worship. This legislation would also improve reliability of the nation's electric grid by encouraging a more diffuse means of energy production.

“Our new clean energy economy can start right at home.”

—  Rep. Jay Inslee

The AMP Act (HR 5692) addresses two main issues associated with a robust net metering policy; namely the actual net metering standard and a policy component designed to allow for the connection of a renewable energy system to the electric grid, also known as "interconnection." The AMP Act would accomplish this by modifying section 113 of the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act (PURPA) of 1978. While some 42 states have already adopted some form of net metering and/or interconnection standards, there are many variations in policy and some states have yet to adopt net metering language at all.

The AMP Act would set a minimum in standards and procedures for net-metering including a limit on the size of machine at 2MW, but would allow states to enact their own regulations over and above this minimum. As written, the owner-generator keeps all renewable energy credits generated by the machine. Additionally, the requirement to offer this program does not apply once the utility has reached a total of 6% of its peak load in net-metered projects (or 4% of it's peak by any one qualifying net-metered technology). This is re-calculated every 12 months. Customer-generators will receive a kwh credit on their bill for any excess generation. At the end of 12 months, if there is a net excess of generation, the customer-generator recieves a payment equal to the average wholesale rate for the previous 12-month period per net excess kwh.

“Our new clean energy economy can start right at home,” said Rep. Inslee. “By empowering Americans, this legislation can help build the clean energy economy of the 21st century while saving families money. Imagine getting a credit on your bill from your utility company every month because you generated more power than you use.”

IREC Releases 2009 Interconnection and Net Metering Guides

The Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC) has just released the 2009 updates for its highly respected and influential rules and procedures for interconnecting and net metering distributed generation.

Many of the model procedures that regulators and utilities look to in developing local standards have not been updated in the past three years. Since that time, there has been significant market growth for renewable distributed generation. To facilitate that growth, many states have adopted net metering and interconnection policies and many others have revisited and expanded their existing policies to incorporate lessons learned from facilitating increased penetrations of distributed generation.

IREC has been a participant in more than thirty state utility commission rulemakings regarding interconnection and net metering of distributed generation. IREC's model rule updates capture these evolved best practices and compile them into a template regulators and utilities can use as a starting point when drafting local rules.

Important advances in interconnection procedures include:

  • clarifying that third party ownership of facilities is permissible;
  • raising the size eligibility for the simplest installations from 10 kilowatts to 25 kilowatts;
  • allowing online applications;
  • addressing state-jurisdictional facilities over ten megawatts; and
  • updating provisions related to network interconnections.

Important advances in net metering rules include:

  • increase in the size of systems eligible for net metering;
  • expansion of program capacity caps;
  • meter aggregation; and
  • accommodation of third-party ownership of net metered systems.

Both guides may be downloaded from IREC in the links below.
Model Interconnection Procedures 2009
Net Metering Model Rules 2009

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