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USDA Invests $1 Million in Energy Efficient Projects to Combat Climate Change Across Rural Pennsylvania

Name
Daniel Blottenberger
Phone
City
Harrisburg
Release Date
Dec 15, 2022

Department Makes Funding Available Under the Inflation Reduction Act to Expand Renewable Energy in Rural Communities

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development State Director Bob Morgan today announced USDA is investing $1 million in solar and energy efficient lighting projects to combat climate change and expand access to clean energy for people across rural Pennsylvania.

The Department will also be making an additional $300 million available for the Rural Energy for America Program available in the coming days, $250 of which was made possible by President Biden’s historic Inflation Reduction Act.

“USDA Rural Development is in a unique position to make climate-smart investments in rural infrastructure to help America building back better and stronger,” Morgan said.

USDA is making 17 investments through the Rural Energy for America Program. 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. 

These funds will help people living in 13 Pennsylvania counties. Some examples include:

  • Bloomsburg Carpet Industries Inc. in Columbia County received a grant of $175,000 to help them purchase and install a 1501-kilowatt (kW) solar photovoltaic (PV) system. The solar panels will be installed on the roof of its manufacturing facility located in Bloomsburg, Columbia County. Bloomsburg Carpet Industries Inc., founded in 1976, is a textile manufacturer specializing in wool and nylon carpet weaving for commercial and high-end residential applications. This project is expected to save $219,395 per year and will replace 1,853,000 kilowatt hours (kWh) per year, which is enough energy to power 170 homes annually.
  • Freysinger Pontiac GMC Buick Inc. in Cumberland County received a grant of $126,571 to purchase and install a 211-kilowatt (kW) and an 84-kilowatt (kW) solar photovoltaic (PV) system. The solar panels will be installed on two separate buildings located on the commercial car dealership. This project is expected to save the business approximately $28,000 per year and replace 344,251 kilowatt hours (kWh) per year, which is which is enough energy to power 31 homes annually.
  • Meadow Ridge Farms LLC in Berks County received a grant of $98,500 to purchase and install a 187-kilowatt (kW) ground-mount solar photovoltaic (PV) system. Meadow Ridge Farms LLC is a poultry operation. This project is expected to save the farm approximately $17,000 per year and replace 247,071 kilowatt hours (kWh) per year, which is which is enough energy to power 22 homes annually.
  • Silver Moon Properties in Franklin County received a grant of $60,600 to purchase and install a 158-kilowatt (kW) solar photovoltaic system. The solar panels will be installed on the roof of the office building. This project is expected to save approximately $13,000 per year and will replace 180,072 kilowatt hours (kWh) per year, which is enough energy to power 16 homes annually.
  • Noaker’s Autobody LLC in Perry County received a grant of $45,000 to purchase and install a 191.52-kilowatt (kW) solar photovoltaic (PV) system. The solar system will have three arrays across two buildings acting as a single array using the available roof space on the automotive repair company's property. This project is expected to save approximately $18,000 per year and will replace 187,442 kilowatt hours (kWh) per year, which is enough energy to power 17 homes annually.
  • Shirey Turkey Farm in Berks County received a grant of $49,875 to purchase and install a 128-kilowatt (kW) solar photovoltaic system. The farm has been in operation for over 20 years. The solar panels will be installed on the roof of one of the turkey barns. This project is expected to save the farm approximately $8,000 per year and will replace 156,690 kilowatt hours (kWh) per year, which is enough energy to power 14 homes annually.
  • Newhard Farms in Lehigh County received a grant of $30,000 to purchase and install a 47.39-kilowatt (kW) solar photovoltaic system. The solar panels will be installed on the roof of a pole barn on the farm which specializes in growing and selling sweet corn and other locally grown produce. This project is expected to save the farm approximately $7,900 per year and will replace 61,450 kilowatt hours (kWh) per year, which is approximately 98 percent of the farm's energy use.
  • Phillip Dutton Eventing Inc. in Chester County received a grant of $33,825 to purchase and install a 53.28-kilowatt (kW) solar photovoltaic (PV) system. The solar panels will be installed on the primary horse barn of the business which specializes in training and coaching riders and holding equestrian events. This project is expected to save the business approximately $10,600 per year and replace 66,007 kilowatt hours (kWh) per year, which is approximately 99 percent of its energy use.
  • James Eby in Lancaster County received a grant of $56,960 to purchase and install a 113.19-kilowatt (kW) solar photovoltaic (PV) system. The solar panels will be installed on the primary barn of his organic poultry farm he has owned and operated since 2012. This project is expected to save the farm approximately $21,045 per year and will replace 137,737 kilowatt hours (kWh) per year, which is which is enough energy to power 12 homes annually.
  • Neet Center Associates LLC in Lackawanna County received a grant of $35,642 to purchase and replace all the lighting throughout its entire 95,000 square foot mixed-use office building with more energy-efficient LED lighting. This project is expected to save the business $12,864 per year and will decrease its energy consumption by 66 percent.
  • Joel H. Rutt in Lancaster County received a grant of $50,000 to purchase and install a 160.65-kilowatt (kW) ground-mounted solar photovoltaic (PV) system. The solar array will be installed on the open ground space in front of two chicken houses on the poultry farm. This project is expected to save the farm approximately $16,000 per year and replace 184,536 kilowatt hours (kWh) per year, which is which is enough energy to power 17 homes annually.  
  • Jason Saylor in Perry County received a grant of $25,000 to purchase and install a 79.05-kilowatt (kW) ground-mounted solar photovoltaic (PV) system. The solar array will be installed on the open ground space in between two chicken houses on the beef and poultry farm. This project is expected to save the farm approximately $8,000 per year and will replace 95,745 kilowatt hours (kWh) per year, which is enough energy to power eight homes annually.
  • Dwayne Nolt in Perry County received a grant of $50,000 to purchase and install a 163.2-kilowatt (kW) solar photovoltaic (PV) system. The solar panels will be installed on the middle chicken house on the poultry farm he has operated for the past nine years. This project is expected to save the farm approximately $15,716 per year and will replace 195,478 kilowatt hours (kWh) per year, which is which is enough energy to power 18 homes annually.
  • Pine Cradle Lake Campground Inc. in Bradford County received a grant of $30,500 to purchase and install a 50.16-kilowatt (kW) solar photovoltaic (PV) system. The solar panels will be installed on the roof of an existing building on the campground. Pine Cradle Lake Campground, operating since 1996, is a family camping resort located in the mountains of northeast Pennsylvania. This project is expected to save the business approximately $6,400 per year and will replace 58,507 kilowatt hours (kWh) which is 105 percent of the campground's energy use.
  • Curtis S. Dietz in Snyder County received a grant of $76,686 to purchase and install a 131.67-kilowatt (kW) ground-mounted solar photovoltaic (PV) system. The system will be placed on unfarmable land located on the organic poultry farm that he has owned and operated since 1990. This project is expected to save the farm approximately $17,500 per year and will replace 169,654 kilowatt hours (kWh) per year, which is enough energy to power 15 homes annually.
  • Franklin Hill Vineyards Inc. in Northampton County received a grant of $4,338 to purchase and install a 47.73-kilowatt (kW) solar photovoltaic system. The solar panels will be installed on the roof of two distillery buildings on the property. Franklin Hill Vineyards Inc., operating since 1982, is a small rural farming business, winery and tasting room. This project is expected to save the business approximately $8,300 per year and replace 55,745 kilowatt hours (kWh) per year, which is 100 percent of its annual energy use.
  • York WallCoverings Inc. in York County received a grant of $68,503 to purchase and replace all the lighting throughout its entire facility with more energy-efficient LED lighting. York Wallcoverings Inc. was founded in 1895 and is now the largest wallpaper manufacturer in North America still operating today in the same factory location in the Susquehanna Valley of Pennsylvania. The total project includes 86,325 square feet of production area, 2,000 square feet of office space and 84,800 square feet of warehouse area. This project is expected to save the business $14,759 per year and will decrease its energy consumption by 48 percent.

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.

Interested applicants are encouraged to contact their local USDA Rural Development 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.

You can read the national news release for this announcement on the USDA Rural Development website. 

Background: 

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.

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