The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development is awarding nearly $266,500 in grants to help approximately 70 agricultural producers and rural businesses in Oregon reduce their energy costs, announced State Director John Huffman today.
"Business owners know that energy costs can consume a large portion of their budget," said Huffman. "These grants will not only help rural entrepreneurs and farmers improve their bottom line by saving on their utility bills but also help improve the rural economy by retaining and creating jobs."
The funding is being provided through the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP). Grants awarded through the REAP Renewable Energy Systems and Energy Efficiency Improvement Program will be used to make energy efficiency improvements and to install renewable energy systems. Grants awarded through the REAP Energy Audit and Renewable Energy Development Assistance Program will be used by the recipient to conduct energy audits and provide renewable energy development assistance for rural small businesses and agricultural producers.
In western Oregon, for example, the blueberry farm Sandau Enterprises will use a $20,000 grant to purchase and install a 71-kilowatt solar array. This renewable energy system will replace 94 percent of the farm's energy use and reduce its utility bill by $6,930 per year.
The funding for these Oregon projects is part of a nationwide announcement of $1 million in grants across 17 states and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. Funding of each award announced today is contingent upon the recipient meeting the terms of the grant agreement.
Congress appropriated $50 million for REAP grants and loan guarantees in fiscal year 2019. USDA will make additional funding announcements in the coming months.
USDA Rural Development provides loans and grants to help expand economic opportunities and create jobs in rural areas. This assistance supports infrastructure improvements; business development; housing; community facilities such as schools, public safety, and healthcare facilities; and high-speed internet access in rural areas. Learn more at www.rd.usda.gov/or.