7 CFR 4280.103 - Definitions.

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§ 4280.103 Definitions.

Terms used in this subpart are defined in either § 4279.2 of this chapter or in this section. If a term is defined in both § 4279.2 and this section, it will have, for purposes of this subpart only, the meaning given in this section. Terms used in this subpart that have the same meaning as the terms defined in this section have been capitalized in this subpart.

Administrator. The Administrator of Rural Business-Cooperative Service within the Rural Development Mission Area of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Agency. The Rural Business-Cooperative Service (RBS) or successor agency assigned by the Secretary of Agriculture to administer the Rural Energy for America Program. References to the National Office, Finance Office, State Office, or other Agency offices or officials should be read as prefaced by “Agency” or “Rural Development” as applicable.

Agricultural Producer. An individual or entity directly engaged in the production of agricultural products, including crops (including farming); livestock (including ranching); forestry products; hydroponics; nursery stock; or aquaculture, whereby 50 percent or greater of their gross income is derived from those products.

Anaerobic Digester Project. A Renewable Energy System that uses animal waste or other Renewable Biomass and may include other organic substrates, via anaerobic digestion, to produce biomethane that is used to produce thermal or electrical energy or that is converted to a compressed gaseous or liquid state.

Annual Receipts. Means receipts as calculated under 13 CFR 121.104.

Applicant.

(1) Except for EA and REDA grants, the Agricultural Producer or Rural Small Business that is seeking a grant, guaranteed loan, or a combination of a grant and loan, under this subpart.

(2) For EA and REDA grants, a unit of State, Tribal, or local government; a land-grant college or university or other Institution of Higher Education; a rural electric cooperative; a Public Power Entity; Council as defined in 16 U.S.C. 3451; or an Instrumentality of a State, Tribal, or local government that is seeking an EA or REDA grant under this subpart.

Assignment Guarantee Agreement (Form RD 4279-6, or successor form). The signed agreement among the Agency, the lender, and the holder containing the terms and conditions of an assignment of a guaranteed portion of a loan, using the single note system.

Bioenergy Project. A Renewable Energy System that produces fuel, thermal energy, or electric power from a Renewable Biomass source only.

Capacity. The maximum output rate that an apparatus or heating unit is able to attain on a sustained basis as rated by the manufacturer.

Commercially Available. A system that meets the requirements of either paragraph (1) or (2) of this definition.

(1) A domestic or foreign system that:

(i) Has, for at least one year specific to the proposed application, both a proven and reliable operating history and proven performance data;

(ii) Is based on established design and installation procedures and practices and is replicable;

(iii) Has professional service providers, trades, large construction equipment providers, and labor who are familiar with installation procedures and practices;

(iv) Has proprietary and balance of system equipment and spare parts that are readily available;

(v) Has service that is readily available to properly maintain and operate the system; and

(vi) Has an existing established warranty that is valid in the United States for major parts and labor.

(2) A domestic or foreign Renewable Energy System that has been certified by a recognized industry organization whose certification standards are acceptable to the Agency.

Complete Application. An application that contains all parts necessary for the Agency to determine Applicant and project eligibility, score the application, and, where applicable, enable the Agency to determine the technical merit of the project.

Conditional Commitment (Form RD 4279-3, or successor form). The Agency's notice to the lender that the loan guarantee it has requested is approved subject to the completion of all conditions and requirements set forth by the Agency and outlined in the Conditional Commitment.

Council. As defined in 16 U.S.C. 3451.

Departmental Regulations. The regulations of the USDA's Office of Chief Financial Officer (or successor office) as codified in 2 CFR chapter IV.

Design/Build Method. A method of project development whereby all design, engineering, procurement, construction, and other related project activities are performed under a single contract. The contractor is solely responsible and accountable for successful delivery of the project to the grantee and/or borrower as applicable.

Eligible Project Costs. The Total Project Costs that are eligible to be paid or guaranteed with REAP funds.

Energy Assessment. An Agency-approved report assessing energy use, cost, and efficiency by analyzing energy bills and surveying the target building and/or equipment sufficiently to provide an Agency-approved Energy Assessment.

(1) If the project's Total Project Cost is greater than $80,000, the Energy Assessment must be conducted by either an Energy Auditor or an Energy Assessor or an individual supervised by either an Energy Assessor or Energy Auditor. The final Energy Assessment must be validated and signed by the Energy Assessor or Energy Auditor who conducted the Energy Assessment or by the supervising Energy Assessor or Energy Auditor of the individual who conducted the assessment, as applicable.

(2) If the project's Total Project Cost is $80,000 or less, the Energy Assessment may be conducted in accordance with paragraph (1) of this definition or by an individual or entity that has at least 3 years of experience and completed at least five energy assessments or energy audits on similar type projects.

Energy Assessor. A Qualified Consultant who has at least 3 years of experience and completed at least five energy assessments or energy audits on similar type projects and who adheres to generally recognized engineering principles and practices.

Energy Audit. A comprehensive report that meets an Agency-approved standard prepared by an Energy Auditor or an individual supervised by an Energy Auditor that documents current energy usage; recommended potential improvements, typically called energy conservation measures, and their costs; energy savings from these improvements; dollars saved per year; and Simple Payback. The methodology of the Energy Audit must meet professional and industry standards. The final Energy Audit must be validated and signed off by the Energy Auditor who conducted the audit or by the supervising Energy Auditor of the individual who conducted the audit, as applicable.

Energy Auditor. A Qualified Consultant that meets one of the following criteria:

(1) A Certified Energy Auditor certified by the Association of Energy Engineers;

(2) A Certified Energy Manager certified by the Association of Energy Engineers;

(3) A Licensed Professional Engineer in the State in which the audit is conducted with at least 1 year experience and who has completed at least two similar type energy audits; or

(4) An individual with a 4 year engineering or architectural degree with at least 3 years of experience and who has completed at least five similar type energy audits.

Energy Efficiency Improvement (EEI). Improvements to or replacement of an existing building and/or equipment that reduces energy consumption on an annual basis.

Feasibility Study. An analysis conducted by a Qualified Consultant of the economic, market, technical, financial, and management feasibility of a proposed project or business operation.

Federal Fiscal Year. The 12-month period beginning October 1 of any given year and ending on September 30 of the following year.

Financial Feasibility. The ability of a project or business operation to achieve sufficient income, credit, and cash flow to financially sustain a project over the long term. The concept of financial feasibility includes assessments of the cost-accounting system, the availability of short-term credit for seasonal businesses operations, and the adequacy of raw materials and supplies.

Geothermal Direct Generation. A system that uses thermal energy directly from a geothermal source.

Geothermal Electric Generation. A system that uses thermal energy from a geothermal source to produce electricity.

Grant Agreement (Form RD 4280-2, Rural Business Cooperative Service Grant Agreement, or successor form). An agreement between the Agency and the grantee setting forth the provisions under which the grant will be administered.

Hybrid. A combination of two or more Renewable Energy technologies that are incorporated into a unified system to support a single project.

Hydroelectric Source. A Renewable Energy System producing electricity using various types of moving water including, but not limited to, diverted run-of-river water, in-stream run-of-river water, and in-conduit water. For the purposes of this subpart, only those Hydroelectric Sources with a Rated Power of 30 megawatts or less are eligible.

Hydrogen Project. A system that produces hydrogen from a Renewable Energy source or that uses hydrogen produced from a Renewable Energy source as an energy transport medium in the production of mechanical or electric power or thermal energy.

Immediate Family. Individuals who are closely related by blood, marriage, or adoption, or who live within the same household, such as a spouse, domestic partner, parent, child, brother, sister, aunt, uncle, grandparent, grandchild, niece, or nephew.

Inspector. A Qualified Consultant who has at least 3 years of experience and completed at least five inspections on similar type projects. A project might require one or more Inspectors to perform the required inspections.

Institution of Higher Education. As defined in 20 U.S.C. 1002(a).

Instrumentality. An organization recognized, established, and controlled by a State, Tribal, or local government, for a public purpose or to carry out special purposes.

Interconnection Agreement. A contract containing the terms and conditions governing the interconnection and parallel operation of the grantee's or borrower's electric generation equipment and the utility's electric power system.

Lender's Agreement (Form RD 4279-4, or Successor Form). Agreement between the Agency and the lender setting forth the lender's loan responsibilities.

Loan Note Guarantee (Form RD 4279-5, or Successor Form). A guarantee issued and executed by the Agency containing the terms and conditions of the guarantee.

Matching Funds. Those project funds required by the 7 U.S.C. 8107 to receive the grant or guaranteed loan under this program. Funds provided by the applicant in excess of matching funds are not matching funds. Unless authorized by statute, other Federal grant funds cannot be used to meet a Matching Funds requirement.

Ocean Energy. Energy created by use of various types of moving water in the ocean and other large bodies of water (e.g., Great Lakes) including, but not limited to, tidal, wave, current, and thermal changes.

Passive Investor. An equity investor that does not actively participate in management and operation decisions of the business entity as evidenced by a contractual agreement.

Power Purchase Agreement. The terms and conditions governing the sale and transportation of electricity produced by the grantee or borrower to another party.

Public Power Entity. Is defined using the definition of “State utility” as defined in section 217(A)(4) of the Federal Power Act (16 U.S.C. 824q(a)(4)). As of this writing, the definition “means a State or any political subdivision of a State, or any agency, authority, or Instrumentality of any one or more of the foregoing, or a corporation that is wholly owned, directly or indirectly, by any one or more of the foregoing, competent to carry on the business of developing, transmitting, utilizing, or distributing power.”

Qualified Consultant. An independent third-party individual or entity possessing the knowledge, expertise, and experience to perform the specific task required.

Rated Power. The maximum amount of energy that can be created at any given time.

Refurbished. Refers to a piece of equipment or Renewable Energy System that has been brought into a commercial facility, thoroughly inspected, and worn parts replaced and has a warranty that is approved by the Agency or its designee.

Renewable Biomass.

(1) Materials, pre-commercial thinnings, or invasive species from National Forest System land or public lands (as defined in section 103 of the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976 (43 U.S.C. 1702)) that:

(i) Are byproducts of preventive treatments that are removed to reduce hazardous fuels; to reduce or contain disease or insect infestation; or to restore ecosystem health;

(ii) Would not otherwise be used for higher-value products; and

(iii) Are harvested in accordance with applicable law and land management plans and the requirements for old-growth maintenance, restoration, and management direction of paragraphs (e)(2), (e)(3), and (e)(4) and large-tree retention of subsection (f) of section 102 of the Healthy Forests Restoration Act of 2003 (16 U.S.C. 6512); or

(2) Any organic matter that is available on a renewable or recurring basis from non-Federal land or land belonging to an Indian or Indian Tribe that is held in trust by the United States or subject to a restriction against alienation imposed by the United States, including:

(i) Renewable plant material, including feed grains; other agricultural commodities; other plants and trees; and algae; and

(ii) Waste material, including crop residue; other vegetative waste material (including wood waste and wood residues); animal waste and byproducts (including fats, oils, greases, and manure); and food waste, yard waste, and other biodegradable waste. (Waste material does not include unsegregated solid waste.)

Renewable Energy. Energy derived from:

(1) A wind, solar, Renewable Biomass, ocean (including tidal, wave, current, and thermal), geothermal or Hydroelectric Source; or

(2) Hydrogen derived from Renewable Biomass or water using wind, solar, ocean (including tidal, wave, current, and thermal), geothermal or Hydroelectric Sources.

Renewable Energy Development Assistance (REDA). Assistance provided by eligible grantees to Agricultural Producers and Rural Small Businesses to become more energy efficient and to use Renewable Energy technologies and resources. The Renewable Energy Development Assistance may consist of Renewable Energy Site Assessment and/or Renewable Energy Technical Assistance.

Renewable Energy Site Assessment. A report provided to an Agricultural Producer or Rural Small Business providing information regarding and recommendations for the use of Commercially Available Renewable Energy technologies in its operation. The report must be prepared by a Qualified Consultant and must contain the information specified in Sections A through C of Appendix B.

Renewable Energy System (RES). Meets the requirements of paragraph (1) and (2) of this definition:

(1) A system that:

(i) Produces usable energy from a Renewable Energy source; and

(ii) May include distribution components necessary to move energy produced by such system to initial point of sale.

(2) A system described in paragraph (1) of this definition may not include a mechanism for dispensing energy at retail.

Renewable Energy Technical Assistance. Assistance provided to Agricultural Producers and Rural Small Businesses on how to use Renewable Energy technologies and resources in their operations.

Retrofitting. A modification that incorporates a feature or features not included in the original design or for the replacement of existing components with ones that improve the original design and does not impact original warranty if the warranty is still in existence.

Rural or Rural Area. Any area of a State not in a city or town that has a population of more than 50,000 inhabitants, according to the most recent decennial Census of the United States, or in the urbanized area contiguous and adjacent to a city or town that has a population of more than 50,000 inhabitants, and any area that has been determined to be “rural in character” by the Under Secretary for Rural Development, or as otherwise identified in this definition.

(1) An area that is attached to the urbanized area of a city or town with more than 50,000 inhabitants by a contiguous area of urbanized census blocks that is not more than two census blocks wide. Applicants from such an area should work with their Rural Development State Office to request a determination of whether their project is located in a Rural Area under this provision.

(2) For the purposes of this definition, cities and towns are incorporated population centers with definite boundaries, local self-government, and legal powers set forth in a charter granted by the State.

(3) For the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the island is considered Rural and eligible except for the San Juan Census Designated Place (CDP) and any other CDP with greater than 50,000 inhabitants. CDPs with greater than 50,000 inhabitants, other than the San Juan CDP, may be determined to be eligible if they are “not urban in character.”

(4) For the State of Hawaii, all areas within the State are considered Rural and eligible except for the Honolulu CDP within the County of Honolulu.

(5) For the purpose of defining a Rural Area in the Republic of Palau, the Federated States of Micronesia, and the Republic of the Marshall Islands, the Agency shall determine what constitutes Rural and Rural Area based on available population data.

(6) The determination that an area is “rural in character” will be made by the Under Secretary of Rural Development. The process to request a determination under this provision is outlined in paragraph (6)(ii) of this definition.

(i) The determination that an area is “rural in character” under this definition will apply to areas that are within:

(A) An urbanized area that has two points on its boundary that are at least 40 miles apart, which is not contiguous or adjacent to a city or town that has a population of greater than 150,000 inhabitants or the urbanized area of such a city or town; or

(B) An urbanized area contiguous and adjacent to a city or town of greater than 50,000 inhabitants that is within 1/4 mile of a Rural Area.

(ii) Units of local government may petition the Under Secretary of Rural Development for a “rural in character” designation by submitting a petition to both the appropriate Rural Development State Director and the Administrator on behalf of the Under Secretary. The petition shall document how the area meets the requirements of paragraph (6)(i)(A) or (B) of this definition and discuss why the petitioner believes the area is “rural in character,” including, but not limited to, the area's population density, demographics, and topography and how the local economy is tied to a rural economic base. Upon receiving a petition, the Under Secretary will consult with the applicable Governor or leader in a similar position and request comments to be submitted within 5 business days, unless such comments were submitted with the petition. The Under Secretary will release to the public a notice of a petition filed by a unit of local government not later than 30 days after receipt of the petition by way of publication in a local newspaper and posting on the Agency's Web site, and the Under Secretary will make a determination not less than 15 days, but no more than 60 days, after the release of the notice. Upon a negative determination, the Under Secretary will provide to the petitioner an opportunity to appeal a determination to the Under Secretary, and the petitioner will have 10 business days to appeal the determination and provide further information for consideration.

Rural Small Business. A Small Business that is located in a Rural Area or that can demonstrate the proposed project for which assistance is being applied for under this subpart is located in a Rural Area.

Simple Payback. The estimated Simple Payback of a project funded under this subpart as calculated using paragraph (1) or (2) as applicable, of this definition.

(1) For projects that generate energy for use offsite, Simple Payback is calculated as follows:

(i) Simple Payback = (Eligible Project Costs)/(typical year) earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA) for the project only.

(ii) EBITDA will be based on:

(A) All energy-related revenue streams and all revenue from byproducts produced by the energy system for a typical year including the fair market value of byproducts produced by and used in the project or related enterprises.

(B) Income remaining after all project obligations are paid (operating and maintenance).

(C) The Agency's review and acceptance of the project's typical year income (which is after the project is operating and stabilized) projections at the time of application submittal.

(D) Does not include any tax credits, carbon credits, renewable energy credits, and construction and investment-related benefits.

(2) For projects that reduce or replace onsite energy use (e.g., EEI projects that reduce and RES projects that replace onsite energy use), Simple Payback is calculated as follows:

(i) Simple Payback = (Eligible Project Costs)/Dollar Value of Energy reduced or replaced)

(ii) Dollar Value of Energy reduced or replaced incorporates the following:

(A) Energy reduced or replaced will be calculated on the quantity of energy saved or replaced as determined by subtracting the result obtained under paragraph (2)(ii)(A)(2) from the result obtained under paragraph (2)(ii)(A)(1) of this definition, and converting to a monetary value using a constant value or price of energy (as determined under paragraph (2)(ii)(A)(3) of this definition).

(1) Actual energy used in the original building and/or equipment, as applicable, prior to the RES or EEI project, must be based on the actual average annual total energy used in British thermal units (BTU) over the most recent 12, 24, 36, 48, or 60 consecutive months of operation.

(2) Projected energy use if the proposed RES or EEI project had been in place for the original building and/or equipment, as applicable, for the same time period used to determine that actual energy use under paragraph (2)(ii)(A)(1) of this definition.

(3) Value or price of energy must be the actual average price paid over the same time period used to calculate the actual energy used under paragraph (2)(ii)(A)(1) of this definition. RES projects that will replace 100 percent of an Applicant's energy use will be required to use the actual average price paid for the energy replaced and the projected revenue received from energy sold in a typical year.

(B) Does not allow Energy Efficiency Improvements to monetize benefits other than the dollar amount of the energy savings the Agricultural Producer or Rural Small Business realizes as a result of the improvement.

(C) Does not include any tax credits, carbon credits, renewable energy credits, and construction and investment-related benefits.

Small Business. An entity or utility, as applicable, described below that meets Small Business Administration's (SBA) definition of Small Business as found in 13 CFR part 121.301(a) or (b). With the exception of the entities identified in this paragraph, all other non-profit entities are ineligible.

(1) A private for-profit entity, including a sole proprietorship, partnership, and corporation;

(2) A cooperative (including a cooperative qualified under section 501(c)(12) of the Internal Revenue Code);

(3) An electric utility (including a Tribal or governmental electric utility) that provides service to rural consumers and must operate independent of direct government control; and

(4) Tribal corporations or other Tribal business entities (as described in paragraph (4)(i) and (ii) of this definition). The Agency shall determine the Small Business status of such Tribal entity without regard to the resources of the Tribal government.

(i) Chartered under Section 17 of the Indian Reorganization Act (25 U.S.C. 477), or

(ii) Other Tribal business entities that have similar structures and relationships with their Tribal governments as determined by the Agency.

State. Any of the 50 States of the United States, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, the Republic of Palau, the Federated States of Micronesia, and the Republic of the Marshall Islands.

Total Project Costs. The sum of all costs associated with a completed project.

Used Equipment. Any equipment that has been used in any previous application and is provided in an “as is” condition.

[79 FR 78255, Dec. 29, 2014, as amended at 80 FR 9913, Feb. 24, 2015]

This is a list of United States Code sections, Statutes at Large, Public Laws, and Presidential Documents, which provide rulemaking authority for this CFR Part.

This list is taken from the Parallel Table of Authorities and Rules provided by GPO [Government Printing Office].

It is not guaranteed to be accurate or up-to-date, though we do refresh the database weekly. More limitations on accuracy are described at the GPO site.


United States Code

Title 7 published on 2015-01-01

The following are ALL rules, proposed rules, and notices (chronologically) published in the Federal Register relating to 7 CFR Part 4280 after this date.

  • 2015-03-26; vol. 80 # 58 - Thursday, March 26, 2015
    1. 80 FR 15885 - Rural Development Regulations—Update to FmHA References and to Census References
      GPO FDSys XML | Text
      DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE, Rural Business-Cooperative Service, Rural Utilities Service, Rural Housing Service, Farm Service Agency
      Correction; direct final rule.
      This document is effective April 27, 2015.
      7 CFR Parts 1709, 1714, 1735, 1737, 1738, 1739, 1740, 1774, 1775, 1776, 1777, 1778, 1779, 1780, 1781, and 1783