U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Dot gov

Official websites use .gov
A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.

Https

Secure .gov websites use HTTPS
A lock () or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Maine USDA Rural Development Invests over $82.4 Million in Critical Infrastructure to Combat Climate Change, Expand Economic Opportunities, and Rehabilitate Homes in Rural Maine

Name
Nicole Howell
Release Date
Dec 16, 2022

 Four Organizations Receive $565,019 for Projects Contributing to Equity

BANGOR, Maine, Dec. 16, 2022 – U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development Maine State Director Rhiannon Hampson announced $82,463,059 is being invested in critical infrastructure to expand access to clean energy, create economic opportunities, and expand access to housing across rural Maine.

“As we spend time celebrating this holiday season, we are incredibly mindful of the challenges faced by many of our neighbors,” said Hampson. “Rising residential heating costs and aging homes conspire to sustain inequities for our most rural community members. USDA Rural Development, under the leadership of Secretary Vilsack and the Biden-Harris administration, will not let those folks fall through the cracks. With these investments, we are stepping up to rehab homes, making them safer, easier to heat, and more energy efficient.

“Climate justice and social justice are inextricably linked – it is our most vulnerable residents who suffer the greatest from extreme weather changes and increasing costs associated with inefficient homes and businesses,” said Hampson. “Through these investments, we are partnering with wonderful service providers to reach out to those Mainers and to move us forward to a brighter future. We need to meet people where they are and support their adoption of more sustainable, renewable technologies and efficiency upgrades to ensure that we all get there together.”

USDA Rural Development is announcing an investment of $565,019 in supporting equity in Maine communities through the Housing Preservation Grant and Rural Community Development Initiative Grant:

  • Penquis, located in Bangor, will receive a Housing Preservation Grant of $87,011 to rehabilitate low- and very-low-income, owner-occupied homes in Penobscot, Piscataquis, and Knox counties. The program will focus on immediate health and safety issues and energy conservation repairs for the homeowners.
  • Western Maine Community Action, located in East Wilton, will receive a Housing Preservation Grantof $87,010 to rehabilitate low- and very-low income, owner-occupied homes in Franklin County. The program will focus on immediate health and safety issues and energy conservation repairs for the homeowners.
  • Island Institute, located in Rockland, will receive a Rural Community Development Initiative Grant of $141,038 to help its fellowship program in two low-income communities and build capacity to perform economic and community development activities. In the town of Columbia Falls, it will provide technical assistance to promote understanding and help preserve cultural, economic, and historical heritage for small farms and the sustainable growth of wild blueberries within a rare and iconic ecosystem. In the town of Vinalhaven, it will provide technical assistance to support a school-wide initiative to integrate technology in classroom learning from pre-K to 12th grade and co-leads the school's growing Lego-robotics after-school program.
  • Cooperative Development Institute, located in Northampton, Massachusetts, will receive a Rural Community Development Initiative Grant in the amount of $249,960 to fund the "Rebuilding the Rural Economy Training Program", a two-year training program for seven recipient organizations throughout Maine, Massachusetts, New York and North Carolina. The program will focus on growing community wealth through cooperative ownership by helping recipient organizations bring purpose and vision to their communities, helping them reconnect in a shared recovery effort to rebuild local economies and meet basic needs.

The investments are part of the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to ensure that people living in rural America have equitable access to the infrastructure and economic opportunities they deserve.

USDA has also announced that it is providing $82,148,000 in loan guarantees through the Rural Energy for America Program in partnership with lenders, to expand renewable energy and support energy-efficiency projects for people living in rural Maine:

  • Lincoln ME 1, LLC, located in Lincoln, will use a $10,533,000 loan to build a 6.8-megawatt, direct current, ground-mounted solar project and is expected to produce 8,369,789 kilowatt-hours of electricity in the first year of operation.
  • Gorham ME 1, LLC, located in Gorham, will use a $9,999,000 loan to provide permanent to build a 6.9-megawatt, direct current, ground-mounted solar project. The project is expected to produce 9,140,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity in the first year of operation.
  • Gateway Solar, LLC, located in Medway, will use a $9,961,000 loan to provide permanent financing to Gateway Solar LLC to build a 5.2-megawatt, direct current, ground-mounted solar project and is expected to produce 6,514,784 kilowatt-hours of electricity in the first year of operation.
  • Knight’s Pond Solar, LLC, located in South Berwick, will use a $9,930,000 loan to provide permanent financing to build a 4.98-megawatt, direct current, ground-mounted solar project and is expected to produce 7,053,032 kilowatt-hours of electricity in the first year of operation.
  • Hughes Road Solar Farm, LLC, located in Mapleton, will use a $7,700,000 loan to provide permanent financing to build a 3.37-megawatt, direct current, ground-mounted solar array and is expected to produce 5,232,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity in the first year of operation.
  • Mars Hill Road Solar Farm, LLC, located in Westfield, will use a $7,600,000 loan to provide financing to build a 3.37-megawatt, direct current, ground-mounted solar array and is expected to produce 5,102,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity in its first year of operation.
  • NRS Bethel Solar, LLC, located in Bethel, will use a $7,300,000 loan to provide permanent to build a 4-megawatt, direct current, ground-mounted solar project. The project is expected to produce 5,116,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity in the first year of operation.
  • Huggard Avenue Solar Farm, LLC, located in Limestone, will use a $6,700,000 to provide permanent financing to build a 3.24-megawatt, direct current, ground-mounted solar array and is expected to produce 4,667,800 kilowatt-hours of electricity in the first year of operation.
  • Gardiner A, LLC, located in Gorham, will use a $6,395,000 loan to provide permanent financing to build a five-megawatt, direct current, ground-mounted solar project and is expected to produce 6,388,205 kilowatt-hours of electricity in the first year of operation.
  • Union Street Solar, LLC, located in Bangor, will use a $6,030,000 loan to build a 2.4-megawatt, direct current, ground-mounted solar project. The project is expected to produce 3,618,881 kilowatt-hours of electricity in the first year of operation.

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.