Gov. loans for off-grid power

Small beginnings
There has been a rush of government announcements for loans to bring off-grid power to both rural and urban areas.

The Department of Agriculture has issued two schemes and the Public Health and Welfare section of the United States code calls for the Energy Secretary to favor projects which include “designing a local distributed energy system that incorporates renewable hydrogen production, off- grid electricity production….in industrial or commercial service.”

United States Code

Title 7, Chapter 31, Section 904


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§ 904. Loans by Secretary of Agriculture for electrical plants and transmission lines; preferences; consent of State authorities

(a) In general

The Secretary is authorized and empowered, from the sums hereinbefore

authorized, to make loans for rural electrification to persons,

corporations, States, Territories, and subdivisions and agencies thereof,

municipalities, peoples’ utility districts and cooperative, nonprofit, or

limited-dividend associations, organized under the laws of any State or

Territory of the United States, for the purpose of financing the

construction and operation of generating plants, electric transmission and

distribution lines or systems for the furnishing and improving of electric

service to persons in rural areas, including by assisting electric

borrowers to implement demand side management, energy efficiency and

conservation programs, and on-grid and off-grid renewable energy systems,

and loans, from funds available under section 903 of this title, to

cooperative associations and municipalities for the purpose of enabling

said cooperative associations, and municipalities to the extent that such

indebtedness was incurred with respect to electric transmission and

distribution lines or systems or portions thereof serving persons in rural

areas, to discharge or refinance long-term debts owned by them to the

Tennessee Valley Authority on account of loans made or credit extended

under the terms of the Tennessee Valley Authority Act of 1933, as amended

16 U.S.C. 831 et seq.: Provided, That the Secretary, in making such loans,

shall give preference to States, Territories, and subdivisions and agencies

thereof, municipalities, peoples’ utility districts, and cooperative,

nonprofit, or limited-dividend associations, the projects of which comply

with the requirements of this chapter.

(b) Terms and conditions

Such loans shall be on such terms and conditions relating to the

expenditure of the moneys loaned and the security therefor as the Secretary

shall determine and may be made payable in whole or in part out of the

income, except that no loan for the construction, operation, or enlargement

of any generating plant shall be made unless the consent of the State

authority having jurisdiction in the premises is first obtained.

(c) Direct loans

(1) Direct hardship loans

Direct hardship loans under this section shall be for the same purposes

and on the same terms and conditions as hardship loans made under section

935(c)(1) of this title.

(2) Other direct loans

All other direct loans under this section shall bear interest at a rate

equal to the then current cost of money to the Government of the United

States for loans of similar maturity, plus 1/8 of 1 percent.

(d) Certification

Loans under this section shall not be made unless the Secretary finds and

certifies that in his judgment the security therefor is reasonably adequate

and such loan will be repaid within the time agreed.




§ 902. General authority of Secretary of Agriculture

(a) Loans

The Secretary of Agriculture (referred to in this chapter as the

“Secretary”) is authorized and empowered to make loans in the several

States and Territories of the United States for rural electrification and

for the purpose of furnishing and improving electric and telephone service

in rural areas, as provided in this chapter, and for the purpose of

assisting electric borrowers to implement demand side management, energy

efficiency and conservation programs, and on-grid and off-grid renewable

energy systems.

(b) Investigations and reports

The Secretary may make, or cause to be made, studies, investigations, and

reports regarding matters, including financial, technological, and

regulatory matters, affecting the condition and progress of electric,

telecommunications, and economic development in rural areas, and publish

and disseminate information with respect to the matters.

11 April 2009

United States Code

Title 42, Chapter 149, Section 16157


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Subchapter VIII — HYDROGEN

§ 16157. Demonstration

(a) In general

In carrying out the programs under this section, the Secretary shall fund

a limited number of demonstration projects, consistent with this subchapter

and a determination of the maturity, cost-effectiveness, and environmental

impacts of technologies supporting each project. In selecting projects

under this subsection, the Secretary shall, to the extent practicable and

in the public interest, select projects that—

(1) involve using hydrogen and related products at existing facilities

or installations, such as existing office buildings, military bases,

vehicle fleet centers, transit bus authorities, or units of the National

Park System;

(2) depend on reliable power from hydrogen to carry out essential


(3) lead to the replication of hydrogen technologies and draw such

technologies into the marketplace;

(4) include vehicle, portable, and stationary demonstrations of fuel

cell and hydrogen-based energy technologies;

(5) address the interdependency of demand for hydrogen fuel cell

applications and hydrogen fuel infrastructure;

(6) raise awareness of hydrogen technology among the public;

(7) facilitate identification of an optimum technology among competing


(8) address distributed generation using renewable sources;

(9) carry out demonstrations of evolving hydrogen and fuel cell

technologies in national parks, remote island areas, and on Indian tribal

land, as selected by the Secretary;

(10) carry out a program to demonstrate developmental hydrogen and fuel

cell systems for mobile, portable, and stationary uses, using improved

versions of the learning demonstrations program concept of the Department

including demonstrations involving—

(A) light-duty vehicles;

(B) heavy-duty vehicles;

(C) fleet vehicles;

(D) specialty industrial and farm vehicles; and

(E) commercial and residential portable, continuous, and backup

electric power generation;

(11) in accordance with any code or standards developed in a region,

fund prototype, pilot fleet, and infrastructure regional hydrogen supply

corridors along the interstate highway system in varied climates across

the United States; and

(12) fund demonstration programs that explore the use of hydrogen

blends, hybrid hydrogen, and hydrogen reformed from renewable

agricultural fuels, including the use of hydrogen in hybrid electric,

heavier duty, and advanced internal combustion-powered vehicles.

The Secretary shall give preference to projects which address multiple

elements contained in paragraphs (1) through (12).

(b) System demonstrations

(1) 1 In general

(A) devising system design concepts that provide for the use of

advanced composite vehicles in programs under section 16122 of this

title that—

(i) have as a primary goal the reduction of drive energy


(ii) after 2010, add another research and development phase, as

defined in subsection (c), including the vehicle and infrastructure

partnerships developed under the learning demonstrations program

concept of the Department; and

(iii) are managed through an enhanced FreedomCAR program within the

Department that encourages involvement in cost-shared projects by

manufacturers and governments; and

(B) designing a local distributed energy system that—

(i) incorporates renewable hydrogen production, off- grid

electricity production, and fleet applications in industrial or

commercial service;

(ii) integrates energy or applications described in clause (i),

such as stationary, portable, micro, and mobile fuel cells, into a

high-density commercial or residential building complex or

agricultural community; and

(iii) is managed in cooperation with industry, State, tribal, and

local governments, agricultural organizations, and nonprofit

generators and distributors of electricity.

(c) Identification of new program requirements

In carrying out the demonstrations under subsection (a), the Secretary,

in consultation with the Task Force and the Technical Advisory Committee,


(1) after 2008 for stationary and portable applications, and after 2010

for vehicles, identify new requirements that refine technological

concepts, planning, and applications; and

(2) during the second phase of the learning demonstrations under

subsection (b)(1)(A)(ii), redesign subsequent program work to incorporate

those requirements.

(d) Authorization of appropriations

There are authorized to be appropriated to carry out this section—

(1) $185,000,000 for fiscal year 2006;

(2) $200,000,000 for fiscal year 2007;

(3) $250,000,000 for fiscal year 2008;

(4) $300,000,000 for fiscal year 2009;

(5) $375,000,000 for fiscal year 2010; and

(6) such sums as are necessary for each of fiscal years 2011 through


7 Responses

  1. Although we’re focusing on individual residential solar power, we should mention the
    growing phenomenon of intermediate-scale PV installations.

  2. I am looking to live off the grid due to that I am disabled and my wife is a student and we live on acreage that costs to much for utilities. We have 3 children we are raising.

  3. I sell manufactured and modular homes in Bakersfield, Ca and surrounding area just want to know if anyone knows of lenders loaning money on off the grid housing. Having a difficult time trying to get these loans approved. Help!!!

  4. I am a real estate broker in business 35 years. Recently have had customers looking for financing to purchase log homes which are off the grid and powered by generators. Is there a program or mortgage company that handles this in New York. 315-336-0433

  5. We have seen more and more people use this funding throughout the US. The majority of what I see is farmers getting funding through the USDA cost share program. This is used for solar water pumping in remote fields where running power is just too expensive. We have also installed solar on a winery in TN that received a grant as well. I have a blueberry farmer in GA that uses solar water pumping for irrigation. There are many opportuniotes for this and the money is there. I would encourage anyone in the agriculture industry to consult their local USDA.

  6. I need help to get the financing to be able to get off-grid power installed in my house I live in a rural area. I hope somebody can she some light on this issue. How do we get a loan and where do we get it from? Is it from a bank?

    I want to install wind power and solar panels.

    Thanks for your helpl;

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