The U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development announced April 22, in honor of Earth Day, that it’s investing $487 million in critical infrastructure for communities in 45 states. There are several projects funded in Ohio and Pennsylvania.
USDA is making the investments under the Water and Environmental Program, the Rural Energy for America Program, the Electric Loan Program and the Higher Blends Infrastructure Incentive Program.
“The investments we are announcing today will not only aid agricultural producers and rural small business owners save energy and improve their bottom line, it is also helping to reduce pollution, create jobs and promote economically vibrant rural communities,” said USDA Ohio Rural Development acting state director Beth Huhn said, in a statement.
Rural Energy for America Program
The Southeast Ohio Public Energy Council, based in Athens, Ohio, will receive a $100,000 grant to provide free solar assessments to rural businesses and farmers throughout Ohio. This is an expansion of the Solar Access Pathways program the council developed for 18 counties in southeast Ohiof. At least 100 assessments are expected to be completed within a 12-month period. The council will assist 50 farmers, 101 businesses and 50 small businesses.
Northampton County Area Community College, in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, will get a $100,000 grant to help 26 agricultural producers and rural small businesses across Pennsylvania receive low cost energy assessments aimed at reducing their energy costs over time. Funds will also be used for administrative and travel expenses in addition to creating marketing materials to raise awareness of the program
A $14,639 grant will be used be used to buy and install a 33.6 kW roof mounted solar photovoltaic system on a chicken house at Shenk’s Poultry LLC, in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. This project will save $4,309 per year and will replace 28,609 kWh of electricity per year, 100% of the farm needs.
A $20,0000 grant will go to Stony Mountain Ranch, in Auburn, Pennsylvania, to buy and install a 68.8 kW roof mounted solar photovoltaic system. The solar panels will be installed on the roofs of two barns on the farm. The farm raises beef cattle, pastured pork and chicken, eggs, and hay. This project will save $7,420 per year and will replace 74,967 kWh of electricity per year or 119% of the farm needs.
A $7,743 grant will be used to buy and install LED lighting in the John Gross & Co. warehouse, in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania. This business sells wholesale foods to the local area and the LED lighting will help improve its energy efficiency.
A $7,024 grant will help install a 14.2kW solar photovoltaic system that will generate 17,848 kWh annually, replacing 87% of the electricity purchased from the grid for Miller Prosphetics & Orthotics LLC, in Belpre, Ohio.
A $10,159 grant will be used to install a 15.6 kW solar photovoltaic system that will generate 20,352 kWh annually, replacing 93% of the electricity purchased from the grid for Howard Peller, a design service business, in Roseville, Ohio.
A $17,236 Rural Development grant will be used to install a 20.52kW solar photovoltaic array that will generate 28,548 kWh annually, replacing 100% of the electricity purchased from the grid for B&J Electric of Poland, Inc., a family owned electrical contractor, in North Lima, Ohio.
A $5,982 grant will help install a 9.6kW solar photovoltaic system that will generate 10,895 kWh annually, replacing 95% of the electricity purchased from the grid for Grasshopper Property Maintenance, Inc., in Millersburg, Ohio.
Rural Development provides loans and grants to help expand economic opportunities, create jobs and improve the quality of life for millions of Americans in rural areas. Information on programs available through USDA Rural Development is available at rd.usda.gov/oh or 614-255-2400.
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