MDAR’s Ag-Energy Special Projects Grant deadline Extended to 6/22

Posted on June 27, 2016 // view all Events // Grants & Loans

NOTE: For those applicants who have already submitted their applications you may: 1.) Leave your application with us as is or 2.) Re-submit a new application, to modify what you already submitted or to include any new or additional information you may want to provide.

Separate from MDAR’s regular Agricultural Energy Grant Program the Ag-Energy Special Projects Grant is looking to provide funding for projects that would typically require higher costs, but potentially yield greater savings or positive agricultural impacts. By implementing these projects, the agricultural operation will demonstrate novel ideas that will help farms become more sustainable while contributing to the goals of the MA Food Systems Plan, the MA Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Implementation and the MA Global Warming Solutions Act, while also working to advance technologies that can be replicated at other agricultural operations in Massachusetts.

The specific categories of projects include:

Anaerobic Digester (AD) Heat Recovery

For agricultural operations that already have anaerobic digesters or will have one in the near future, project funding would include all equipment and labor associated with the ability to recover and utilize any useful thermal heat created as part of the AD system operation, including but not limited to the engine generator, but not including the heating of the AD or feedstock. Examples could include heating of farm buildings, greenhouses, and cooling or chilling needs utilizing absorption refrigeration technology.
Maximum grant per applicant – $50,000

Walk-In Coolers

New high efficiency, single- or multi-temperature level walk-in coolers – includes new, replacement or consolidation of on-site refrigeration needs; walk-in refrigeration systems can be field fabricated or modular; all walk-ins must incorporate high efficiency envelopes and refrigeration systems in comparison to what is conventionally available. Incorporating heat recovery will be a plus.
Maximum grant per applicant – $25,000

Dual-use of Land Solar Projects

In an effort to better understand the compatibility between crops and solar photovoltaics on common farmland, creative opportunities wanted for demonstration projects that are able to genuinely and effectively utilize farm land for two purposes – crop production and energy generation. Project must demonstrate any relevant variety of crops that can be grown underneath and/or integrated with solar PV to optimize and maximize crop land use and minimize farm land impact. Grazing will not be considered an eligible dual-use for this grant purpose. Food crops for direct human consumption will be given a higher priority given a lack of knowledge in this area. On-going project monitoring and reporting will be required for three full, consecutive growing seasons utilizing academia services of a relevant MA college or university and will require annual and final reporting. Highest priority will be given to those projects that demonstrate panel mounting systems that would allow conventional farm tractors and equipment to work in, under and around the dual-use system, as applicable to the crop selected. Annual reports will be required defining and analyzing the crop production along with any comparative, non-dual use land food crop data, conclusions, recommendations and annual revenue streams generated from both crop and solar production. Identification of the additional costs associated with implementing the dual-use of land solar PV project versus a similarly sized conventional, field-mounted, grid-connected PV system is required in the application technical assessment. Integrating an energy storage system in the project is a plus.
Maximum grant per applicant – $100,000

Super-efficient New Construction

Projects that are zero net energy designs, for farms stands, on-site packing and storage buildings and other relevant agricultural structures. Projects can be for new or renovations to existing buildings, the funding will be for the incremental cost of building a super-efficient, net zero structure versus MA Code requirements which must be demonstrated in the technical assessment. Integrating an energy storage system for any electric PV generation in the project is a plus.
Maximum grant per applicant – $75,000

Urban Greenhouses

Projects that are commercial-scale, high efficiency, and renewable energy urban agriculture greenhouses. Projects must reside in an urban area and can be new construction or renovation to existing. Urban areas are those municipalities/communities with a population greater than 50,000. Those demonstrating minimal on-site energy use and meeting energy needs with sustainable renewable fuels and resources will be considered a higher priority. Integrating an energy storage system for any electric PV generation in the project is a plus.
Maximum grant per applicant – $100,000

Greenhouse Projects that Result in Zero Net Energy

Creative opportunity for projects that demonstrate super-efficient greenhouse construction and operation that provides energy efficiency technologies in combination with renewable electric and thermal heating/cooling systems resulting in a minimum of year round energy needs, any and all of which is provided as a sustainable renewable fuel on-site. Year round greenhouse operations only. Can be for new greenhouses or renovations to existing. Proven existing greenhouse operations will be considered a higher priority. Integrating an energy storage system for any electric PV generation in the project is a plus.
Maximum grant per applicant – $75,000

AgEnergy Special Projects is a competitive, re-imbursement grant program that funds specifically specified project categories up to varying amounts according to the project category. All projects must be completed by June 30, 2017. The new extended deadline for applications is now Friday, July 22, 2016.
For full project details and requirements please refer to the Ag-Energy Special Project Grant applications available at:

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