Energy Audit Program

The Southwest Alaska Municipal Conference (SWAMC) Energy Audit Program provides low-cost energy audits and grant assistance to small businesses, including commercial fishers. This program is funded through the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Renewable Energy Development Assistance (REDA) grant program.

More than 82 commercial fishing vessels and buildings have received or are currently working on energy audits through this program. Many of the fishers and small businesses who receive the low-cost audit also qualify for a USDA Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) grant that, if awarded, covers up to 50% of the eligible costs of upgrading a vessel or building. Our program offers support to commercial fishers and building owners with the REAP grant application process. Since 2018, the SWAMC Energy Audit Program has helped 27 Alaskan small businesses and commercial fishers in Bristol Bay, the Aleutian and Pribilof Islands, and Kodiak receive more than $330,000 in federal grants to make cost-saving energy efficiency upgrades.

USDA logoSWAMC is actively recruiting and connecting fishers and building owners with low-cost energy audits and grant application assistance. This program is now available to small businesses and commercial fishers anywhere in Alaska (outside the Municipality of Anchorage). Looking to make upgrades on a fishing vessel or building, you can register for an energy audit below or contact us at or call (907) 450-2456 with questions.

Many Alaskan business owners are already saving money by investing in energy efficiency for their businesses: You can too!

Energy Audit Tutorial

Not sure where to start? Watch our video tutorials for step-by-step instructions.

Kodiak fishing boat
KFC audity by Jim Fowler

Commercial Fishing Vessels

An energy audit of your commercial fishing vessel can target RSW upgrades, lighting, hold zoning, and more.* We will ask what your top priorities are and our energy auditor will connect you with USDA REAP Grant officials to determine your eligibility for a USDA REAP grant that covers up to 50% of the upgrade cost. Registering for an energy audit does not commit you to doing the audit or upgrade on your vessel. It allows you to discuss your vessel with the energy auditor and USDA REAP Grant staff to determine the best way forward.

*NOTE: A commercial fishing vessel energy audit can focus on the propulsion system, but the USDA REAP grant will NOT cover propulsion system upgrades. USDA REAP grants will also NOT cover new boat builds, the purchase of used equipment, or labor conducted entirely by the applicant.

Commercial Vessel Sign Up

Commercial Buildings

SWAMC’s energy audit program is available to any Alaska small business outside the Municipality of Anchorage* who wants to invest in their business to lower their energy bills. The energy auditor can target the audit to specific building upgrades if desired by the owner. Many upgrades are eligible for a USDA REAP grant to covers up to 50% of the retrofit cost, including heating and ventilation systems, heat pumps, refrigeration systems, lighting, and more.

Registering for an energy audit does not commit you to doing the energy audit or upgrade. It allows you to discuss your building with the energy auditor to determine the best way forward for you and your business.

*NOTE: Businesses located in the Municipality of Anchorage are not eligible because they are not considered rural by the USDA definition.

Commercial Building Sign Up

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I know if I’m eligible for the USDA REAP grant?

  1. You confirm you are a small business in Alaska. For building owners, this means you hold an active Alaska business license. For commercial fishers, this means you have an active limited entery commercial fishing permit or an Alaska business license.
  2. You speak with the energy auditor to determine if the upgrades you are considering are in line with historically successful USDA REAP grant applications.

Is there a cost to this program?

Yes, the energy audit costs between $500 and $750 for commercial fishing vessels and between $225 and $2,250 (depending on square footage and type of audit) for commercial buildings.

When do I have to pay?

You will be asked to pay for the energy audit after discussing your vessel or building with the energy auditor. A quote will be sent and you will be asked to pay.

Can the REAP grant cover upgrades I’ve already paid for?

No, the REAP grant will not cover any costs incurred before your REAP grant application has been submitted and you have received a Complete Application Letter from USDA. Contact us if you are in a rush to order or put down payments on equipment. We will work with you, but any money spent before your REAP application is determined to be complete by USDA are not eligible for reimbursement.

What’s the timing on getting the energy audit and REAP grant?

  • After you register for the audit, you will receive a call or email with 2 weeks to ask additional questions and connect you with the energy auditor.
  • Once you pay for the energy audit, the auditor will send info requests and/or schedule a site assessment.
  • After the information is collected on your vessel or building, it typically takes 2 weeks to a month to finish the energy audit report.
  • USDA accepts REAP grant applications year-round. After submitting your application, USDA staff will reply within 2-3 weeks. They may ask for more information if your application is incomplete, which extends the timeline. They will confirm your application is complete by sending a Complete Application Letter, at which point you can begin spending money on the projects you anticipate might be covered by a REAP grant, should it be awarded.
  • REAP Applications are now reviewed in 6 quarterly application windows.
    • Q1 April 1, 2023 – June 30, 2023

    • Q2 July 1, 2023 – September 30, 2023

    • Q3 October 1, 2023 – December 31, 2023

    • Q4 January 2, 2024 – March 31, 2024

    • Q5 April 1, 2024 – June 30, 2024

    • Q6 July 1, 2024 – September 30, 2024

  • Any application that remains unfunded at the end of the fiscal year (September 30) must be withdrawn. If you are awarded the REAP grant, you will have two years to use the funds.

If I do this process, what are the chances I will get the grant?

The USDA REAP grant is competitive and has scoring criteria based on several factors. With recent updates, there has been an increase in funding for this grant program. Your application is only valid & active through the end of the USDA fiscal year. If you are not selected before then, regardless of when you turned in your application, you have to withdraw and resubmit for the new fiscal year. The fiscal year ends on September 30th.”

Can I use REAP grant funding to pay for my upgrade up front?

No, this is a reimbursable grant. This means you must show you have funds available to pay for the equipment/installation costs when you submit the REAP grant application. If awarded, you will then be able to submit your receipts and request up to a 50% reimbursement.

More Information

Sign up or contact or (907) 450-2456
to learn more about the commercial energy audit
and grant assistance program.