The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has awarded 58 grants for projects, including solar, in 17 states and Puerto Rico to reduce energy costs for farmers, ag producers, and rural-based businesses and institutions.
USDA is providing the grants through the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP). Congress appropriated $50 million for REAP grants and loan guarantees in fiscal year 2019. Under the newest grants, USDA is investing $1 million in renewable energy projects. Recipients can use the funding for energy audits and renewable energy systems such as biomass, geothermal, hydropower and solar. They also can be used to make energy efficiency improvements.
Among the solar recipients are the University of Oregon, which will use a $100,000 grant to help rural agritourism operations and small businesses implement renewable energy systems. Working under a contract with the nonprofit Spark Northwest, the university will help install solar PV, wind, small hydro, biodigester and solar thermal systems. Overall, the project will help approximately 40 rural businesses, primarily in the ag sector, reduce their monthly utility bills.
In Pennsylvania, Zette Stable LLC will use a $19,032 grant to purchase and install a 22.8 kW solar array on a barn that houses approximately 15 horses for Zette Stables, located in the rural community of Lumberville in Bucks County. This project will replace 28,352 kWh of electricity per year (63%) and help save the stable $3,969 annually.
Mark E. Bolduc will use a $6,247 grant to purchase and install a 13.3 kW rooftop solar system. Bolduc operates a family-owned beef cattle ranch in Gooding County, Idaho. The solar project is expected to save the ranch $2,100 per year.
A $20,000 grant in Kentucky will be used to install a 29.92 kW photovoltaic system for Pleasant View Greenhouses Inc., located in Hopkins County. The array for the flower company will generate approximately 42,000 kWh annually, which is enough electricity to power about four homes.
Rabble and Roost LLC in Washington will use $7,759 to install a 11.7 kW solar array. The company, a chicken egg producer in rural Whatcom County, will save an estimated 9,813 kWh and $981 annually.
The full list of projects can be found here.