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Funding Available Under the Inflation Reduction Act to Expand Renewable Energy in Rural Southern New England Communities

Brent Wucher
Amherst, MA
Release Date

USDA Invests in Critical Infrastructure to Lower Costs, Create Jobs, and Combat Climate Change Across Rural America

AMHERST, MA, Dec. 15, 2022 – U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced USDA is investing $285 million in critical infrastructure to lower energy costs, expand access to clean energy for people across rural America, and combat climate change. USDA is also making an additional $300 million available under the Rural Energy for America Program, including $250 million through the Inflation Reduction Act, to spur further investment.

“People in rural America are on the front lines of climate change, and our communities deserve investments that will strengthen our Country’s resilience,” Vilsack said. “President Biden has created a roadmap for how we can tackle the climate crisis and expand access to renewable energy infrastructure, all while creating good-paying jobs and saving people money on their energy costs. These investments underscore the Biden-Harris administration’s commitment to providing funding and resources to rural people and communities across the country to help drive economic security and prosperity.”

USDA is making 844 investments through the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP). This program helps farmers, ag producers and entrepreneurs purchase and install renewable energy systems and make energy efficiency improvements. It reflects the many ways USDA Rural Development helps agricultural producers and rural small businesses lower energy costs.

Investments specific to the Southern New England States of Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhodes Island include over $17.6 million in grants and loans that generate nearly 28 million kilowatts or enough to power over 2,600 homes. 


  • Rhode Island Grows, LLC will use a $17 million loan to fund the installation of a state-of-the-art commercial scale greenhouse hydroponic tomato facility operation. Rhode Island Grows is a controlled environmental agriculture greenhouse operation that serves New York and the six states of New England. Management is a 4th generation Rhode Island farm family and land contributor. This project is expected to replace 25,613,890 kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity per year, which is enough energy to power 2,364 homes.


  • Lightning Ridge Farms Inc. is a family-owned farm, producing farm products and honey in Glocester, Rhode Island. A REAP grant for $177,500 will be used to purchase and install a 250-kilowatt (kW) ground-mounted photovoltaic (PV) solar system. This project is expected to generate $66,454 per year in revenue. It will generate 332,434 kilowatt hours (kWh) per year, which is enough energy to power three homes.


  • Grower Direct Farms Inc., a wholesale greenhouse operation in Somers, Connecticut, install a 1,500-kilowatt (kW) ground-mounted photovoltaic solar system. The $425,000 REAP grant project is expected to save $148,721 per year and replace 1,946,609 kilowatt hours (kWh) (90 percent of the company's energy use) per year, which is enough energy to power 179 homes.


USDA also announced today that it will make $300 million available under the Rural Energy for America Program to expand renewable energy and support energy-efficiency projects for people living in rural America. This funding includes $250 million provided by the Biden-Harris Administration’s historic legislative package known as the Inflation Reduction Act. The deadline to apply for grants is March 31, 2023. Applications for technical assistance grants are due Jan. 31, 2023. Applications for loan guarantees are accepted year-round.

“These historic investments in renewable energy are not only demonstrating the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to our environment, rural communities, businesses and people, but are also accelerating our energy independence as well as economic and employment opportunities in energy conservation and green energy generation,” said Southern New England State Director Scott J. Soares.  “As one of the leading regions for the development of renewable energy projects, we are also looking forward to significant increases in renewable energy investments across Southern New England that will result from new provisions in the Inflation Reduction Act.”

Interested applicants are encouraged to contact their local USDA Rural Development Southern New England State Energy Coordinator well in advance of the application deadlines to discuss their project and ask any questions about the REAP program or the application process. Additional information on the required materials and how to apply for the REAP program are available in the Dec 15, 2022, Federal Register.

The Rural Energy for America Program investments announced today reflect the goals of the Biden-Harris Administration’s Inflation Reduction Act.

In August, Congress passed the Biden-Harris Administration’s historic legislative package known as the Inflation Reduction Act to reduce energy costs for families and create thousands of good-paying jobs for people across rural America. The Inflation Reduction Act represents the largest single investment in rural electrification since the passage of the Rural Electrification Act in 1936.

The Act provides funding to USDA Rural Development to help eligible entities purchase renewable energy and zero-emission systems and make energy-efficiency improvements that will significantly reduce energy costs and greenhouse gas emissions. For example, it provides:

  • Up to $1 billion for RUS loans for renewable energy infrastructure; up to $2.025 billion for the RBCS Rural Energy for America Program (REAP), with $303 million set aside for underutilized technologies and technical assistance.
  • Up to $500 million in RBCS grants for infrastructure improvements to blend, store, or distribute biofuels. This includes installing, retrofitting, or upgrading dispensers for ethanol at retail stations as well as home heating oil distribution centers.
  • Up to $9.7 billion for RUS to offer loans, grants, loan modifications and other financial assistance to support the purchase of renewable energy systems, zero-emission systems, and carbon capture systems.

This commitment to cleaner energy will help USDA Rural Development provide resources to reduce climate pollution and ensure that rural people and their communities have access to a clean, secure energy supply to keep people and economies prepared for the future.

Under the Biden-Harris Administration, 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. This assistance supports infrastructure improvements; business development; housing; community facilities such as schools, public safety, and health care; and high-speed internet access in rural, Tribal, and high-poverty areas. For more information, visit www.rd.usda.gov. If you’d like to subscribe to USDA Rural Development updates, visit our GovDelivery subscriber page.

USDA touches the lives of all Americans each day in so many positive ways. Under the Biden-Harris Administration, USDA is transforming America’s food system with a greater focus on more resilient local and regional food production, ensuring access to healthy and nutritious food in all communities, building new markets and streams of income for farmers and producers using climate, smart food and forestry practices, making historic investments in infrastructure and clean energy capabilities in rural America, and committing to equity across the Department by removing systemic barriers and building a workforce more representative of America. To learn more, visit www.usda.gov.


USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer, and lender.