Sheep graze on a local solar farm at White Oak Pastures in Bluffton, Georgia

Clean Energy

REAP Success Stories

Advancing economic development, farm income, and the environment through the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP)

Three men on a rooftop celebrate with their arms up, as they install solar panels. There are some panels installed on the roof behind them, and another on its way up the ladder beneath them.

Solar installation at Wildtype Native Plant Nursery, Michigan

The Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) brings energy efficiency and renewable energy opportunities to farms, ranches, and rural small businesses across the country. The program has been around for 20 years as part of the Farm Bill’s Energy Title. In that time, it has sparked investment in over 22,000 renewable energy and energy efficiency projects, and it is ready to do more.

Over the past year, ELPC talked to people around the country who are using REAP and how. The farms, ranches, and rural small businesses included in the report are:

  • Smiley Farms – Greensburg, Indiana – Gordon & Jeff Smiley used REAP funds for 46 variable frequency drives to improve energy efficiency throughout the business.
  • Wildtype Native Plant Nursery – Mason, Michigan – Bill Schneider used a REAP grant to install a 35kW solar array.
  • Thomas Wind – Hadley, Minnesota – Christopher Thomas used a REAP grant to install a refurbished wind turbine to reduce his carbon impact and electricity costs.
  • Bowman & Landes Turkey Farm – New Carlisle, Ohio – Drew Bowman used a REAP award to install a new 220kW solar array in 2020.
  • Fiesta Foods Grocery Store – Beresford, South Dakota – Brian & Rhonda Peterson used REAP funds to upgrade the refrigerator cases at their rural grocery store, improving sales and reducing food/energy waste.
  • White Oak Pastures – Bluffton, Georgia – Sixth-generation farmer Will Harris used REAP to install a solar array in 2010 and energy efficient freezer doors for the farm shop in 2019.
  • MC6 Hydroelectric – Kuna, Idaho – Ted Sorenson used a REAP grant to build a new hydroelectric project out of a 120-year-old irrigation canal, providing economic value and energy to local communities, with low environmental impact.

Because of its well-recognized successes, REAP was included in the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) with nearly $2 billion over the next 10 years. ELPC has been a champion of REAP since its inception, and we’re excited to see new federal funding to support this bipartisan program moving forward, but we have also provided a series of recommendations for improving REAP in the next Farm Bill. The whole United States benefits from reduced pollution, stronger rural economies, and increased farm incomes. REAP has a bright future, and we look forward to helping it get even stronger in the years ahead.

U.S. Map showing REAP projects per state from 2014-2021, with the heaviest concentration in Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, and North Carolina

REAP projects per state, 2014-2021 (click to expand)

Related Projects

View All
Clean Energy

Redeveloping Retired Coal Plant Sites

Clean Energy

Thinking Beyond Wires

Clean Energy

Repowering the Rural Midwest

Clean Energy

Transforming the Electricity Grid