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The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) works to support the American agricultural economy to strengthen rural communities; to protect and conserve our natural resources; and to provide a safe, sufficient, and nutritious food supply for the American people. The Department’s wide range of programs and responsibilities touch the lives of every American every day.
Solar resources are available from three offices within USDA:
- Rural Utilities Service programs finance the basic infrastructure of modern life in rural America: electricity, telecommunications, and water and waste systems. The Electric Program offers loans and loan guarantees for generation, transmission, and distribution facilities serving rural areas. The Energy Efficiency and Conservation Loan Program expands the types of projects that can be supported by the Electric Program to include energy efficiency activities, including distributed generation for on or off grid renewable energy systems. The High Energy Cost Grant Program offers competitive grants for community energy facilities, including renewable energy systems and energy efficiency projects serving extremely high energy cost rural communities.
- The Rural Business and Cooperative Program works in partnership with the private sector and community-based organizations to provide financial assistance and business planning.The Rural Energy for America Program provides financial assistance to agricultural producers and rural small businesses in rural America to purchase, install, and construct renewable energy systems; make energy efficiency improvements to non-residential buildings and facilities; use renewable technologies that reduce energy consumption; and provides grant assistance to entities that will assist in energy audits and renewable energy development assistance.
- The Rural Housing Service’s mission is to improve the quality of life in rural areas. Housing and community facilities programs help rural communities and individuals by providing loans and grants for housing and community facilities. The Rural Housing Service provides funding for single family homes, apartments for low-income persons or the elderly, housing for farm laborers, childcare centers, fire and police stations, hospitals, libraries, nursing homes, schools, and much more.