New Funding Available for Clayton County Farms and Small Businesses



Clayton County Energy Planning Opportunity for Businesses & Farms!

Luther College’s Center for Sustainable Communities and the Winneshiek Energy District (WED) have received USDA funding to provide energy audits to small businesses and agricultural producers in NE Iowa and SE Minnesota. 

The Clayton County Energy District will partner with Luther & the WED to implement the program in Clayton County. 

The grant funding provided by USDA’s Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) significantly reduces the cost of a high-quality energy audit.  

“This is a great opportunity for our area businesses and farmers to receive a quality energy assessment at a much-reduced rate.”   

This grant support is especially valuable because Black Hills Energy and Alliant Energy recently discontinued their small business energy assessment programs.  In addition, the REC and many municipal utilities do not have incentives available to assist with the cost of an energy audit. 

The energy audits for farms and businesses identify cost-effective energy efficiency measures and can also include other clean energy opportunities, such as solar power.  They include detailed implementation plans developed in consultation with the participants based on their goals and priorities. 

The plans are conducted to a standard that allows businesses and farms to apply for REAP grants and will qualify farmers for EQIP (Environmental Quality Incentives Program) cost-share. They will also identify additional financial assistance opportunities such as utility rebates or solar tax incentives. 

Virtually every farm and business has real opportunities to pursue clean energy prosperity in their operation and community. The project partners will work with participants and others to share success stories and to arrange brief open houses and/or clean energy tours.  

Estimated Costs to Participants

The program serves a wide range of business types and sizes. Participant cost-share will vary based on the type and size of business or farm. The program is designed to meet high standards.  As a result, each energy audit will be as comprehensive as possible.  

Out of pocket costs for small businesses will be $250; for larger commercial customers (over 20,000 square feet in size OR $20,000 in total annual energy cost) the costs will range from $500 – $750.

The out of pocket cost to a small agricultural producer will be around $600 – $800, with a higher cost for larger farms or dairies that would take more work to assess. At the upper end, a large dairy (over 500 cows) would be approximately $1,000.

Process During COVID-19

The program is currently in the outreach and sign-up phase.  Site visits will be arranged when conditions permit.  Ideal candidates are farms and small businesses with a clear intention to implement projects and a willingness to collaborate with the project partners on outreach about their successful implementation and results. The audit process can begin remotely with the collection of farm/business information and utility data.

If you are a small business or agricultural producer that wants to get a handle on your energy expenses, lead by example, and help your peers and community, contact CCED Program Manager, Joleen Jansen, 563.880.7915. To learn more about the cost share and apply: Participant Application and Program Guide