The Next Market for Renewable Power: Agriculture

Keith Kohl

Written By Keith Kohl

Posted October 16, 2015

“With all the great folks who live in rural America, we truly think we’re going to see somethings that no one even thought of before.”

Those were the hopeful words of USDA deputy undersecretary Lillian Salerno, and given the amount of innovation in the renewable energy sector these days, she’s probably not wrong.

Understand, much of the growth in renewable energy has come from tax credits and subsidies given to companies to build and expand upon renewable technologies.

These kinds of repayments, however, don’t often benefit smaller outfits who make less profit. It’s one thing for a tech giant like Google to build a huge wind farm for its data center, another thing entirely for rural farmers to be able to afford solar panels to power the entire farm.

But one state is changing that dynamic…

Recently, Montana introduced the Rural Energy for America Program, or REAP.

Under the program’s conditions, rural buyers can get a one-third tax credit on their renewable investments. This will be a huge relief to farmers who would prefer to run on renewables, but simply can’t afford the set-ups.SolarpanelsMO

One such farming couple, Laurie and Roger Lohrer, explained that their $90, thousand solar panel system cut $30,000 off their tax bill, a decent enough break to make the switch to solar affordable.

Additionally, the couple sends excess power back into the local grid for even more savings. This is called “net-metering” and is a major selling point for home solar systems.

REAP is intended to help make the spread of renewable technologies more affordable for rural Montana, an area that has been reluctant to tap into the USDA’s $280 million in renewable energy loans.

Again, renewables still have a long way to go before they take over the U.S. energy portfolio. Solar and wind energy are still developing, and government funding like this may still be necessary for quite a while to keep the growth going at its current clip.

In the meantime, solar and wind stocks are taking advantage of that funding whenever they can, and REAP may help agricultural businesses become the next big renewable energy innovator.

To continue reading…

Click here to read the Missoulian article.

Until next time,

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Keith Kohl

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A true insider in the technology and energy markets, Keith’s research has helped everyday investors capitalize from the rapid adoption of new technology trends and energy transitions. Keith connects with hundreds of thousands of readers as the Managing Editor of Energy & Capital, as well as the investment director of Angel Publishing’s Energy Investor and Technology and Opportunity.

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