RICHMOND, Va., Nov. 8, 2023 – U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development is demonstrating its commitment to helping Virginia farmers and small businesses thrive by awarding $2.3 million in Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) grants for projects in nine communities across the commonwealth.
Director of State Operations Dr. Basil Gooden made the announcement during a visit to the Virginia Artesian Bottling Company in Mechanicsville. The Hanover County business is known for its recyclable packaging and environmentally responsible practices with 100 percent of operations and facilities running on solar power.
“We are pleased to invest in renewable energy infrastructure and zero-emission systems that are good for businesses like Virginia Artesian Bottling Company and help them operate more sustainably,” said Dr. Gooden. “The system put in place here with fiscal year 2022 funding is a great illustration of what will be possible for new grant recipients making comparable energy efficiency improvements.”
Virginia Rural Development is providing financing for eight photovoltaic systems and five grain dryers in the city of Williamsburg and the following counties: Accomack, Augusta, Culpeper, Gloucester, Powhatan, Rockingham, Southampton and Tazewell. Examples of solar projects are provided below:
- Last Hurrah LLC is receiving a grant to purchase and install a 577.15 kilowatt (kW) roof system on a poultry farm in Accomack County. Energy generated will offset almost 100 percent of electricity consumption for the houses with a simple payback of about 17 years.
- Lone Oak Poultry LLC will use a grant for a 48 kW roof system, which will offset 101 percent of the current annual consumption for two poultry houses on the 30-acre property in Augusta County.
- Ramsey Holding Company is receiving a grant for a 789.1 kW roof system to be installed on six leased buildings in Tazewell County, which are currently used for office space, a workshop, a fire training facility and a Lowe's home improvement store. The grantee is making these improvements to offer an added energy efficiency benefit for his tenants.
“These investments will help the 13 participating business owners and agricultural producers lower costs, generate new income and strengthen the resiliency of their operations while creating a brighter future for all Virginians through reduced greenhouse gas emissions,” said Perry Hickman, USDA Rural Development Virginia State Director.
The next quarterly deadline for REAP applications is Dec. 31, 2023, and includes $144.5 million for underutilized renewable energy technologies. For additional information on REAP application deadlines and submission details, see page 19239 of the March 31 Federal Register.
These awards were made possible in part by President Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act, the nation’s largest investment in combatting the climate crisis. They also advance the President’s Investing in America agenda to grow the nation’s economy from the middle-out and bottom up. The $145 million in total funding will help fuel a clean energy economy through 697 renewable energy and energy-efficiency projects in 45 states and one territory.
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.