USDA Invests $187,000 in Renewable Energy Infrastructure to Help Rural Wisconsin Communities Build Back Better

Name
Jessica Mancel
Phone
City
Stevens Point
Release Date
Sep 09, 2021

Projects Will Support Climate-Smart Solutions to Lower Energy Costs for 15 Businesses & Ag Producers

STEVENS POINT, Wis., Sept. 9, 2021 – U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Wisconsin Rural Development Acting State Director Michelle Wallace announced the Department is investing $464 million to build or improve renewable energy infrastructure and to help rural communities, agricultural producers and businesses lower energy costs in 48 states and Puerto Rico. 

“When we invest in infrastructure to lower energy costs, we build opportunity and prosperity in our rural Wisconsin communities,” Wallace said. “These investments support the local economy by making our communities attractive, economically viable and safe places to live and work.”

USDA is financing these investments through the Rural Energy for America Program. This program provides funding to help agricultural producers and rural small businesses purchase and install renewable energy systems and make energy efficiency improvements. These climate-smart investments will conserve and generate more than 379 million kilowatt-hours (kWh) in rural America, which equates to enough electricity to power 35,677 homes per year. 

In Wisconsin:  

  • Lost Creek Adventures LLC, a full service paddling outfitter operating within the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, will use a $5,100 grant to install a 6.66 kilowatt solar electric system. This project will save $1,025 per year and replace 8,720 kilowatt hours (66 percent) of the company's energy use per year.
  • Heather Secrist (Suncrest Gardens), a pizza farm serving local foods in Cochrane, will use a $20,000 grant to install a 36-kilowatt solar array. This project will save $5,520 per year and replace 50,427 kilowatt hours (95 percent) of the farm's energy use per year, which is enough energy to power four homes.
  • Fitchburg Farms LLC, a full-scale garden center providing an array annuals, perennials and other garden materials, will use a $4,200 grant to install energy efficient greenhouse components. This project will save $6,769 per year and replace 246,495 kilowatt hours (37 percent) of the business's energy use per year, which is enough energy to power 22 homes.
  • Mechanical Research & Design Inc, a design and fabrication business in Manitowoc, will use a $10,200 grant to install LED lighting and sensors throughout their warehouse, storage and administration areas. This project will save $5,125 per year and replace 48,355 kilowatt hours (65 percent) per year, which is enough electricity to power four homes.
  • J.W. Speaker Corp, a vehicle lighting manufacturer in Germantown, will use a $20,000 grant to install energy-efficient lighting systems. This project is expected to save $12,471 per year and will replace 207,863 kilowatt hours (44 percent) of the company's energy use per year, which is enough energy to power 19 homes.
  • Uptown Motorcars Inc, a car dealership in Slinger, will use a $13,200 grant to install a 20 kilowatt solar array. This investment will save $2,296 per year and will replace 26,264 kilowatt hours (120 percent) per year, which is enough electricity to power two homes.
  • Nordik Meats Inc, a meat processor in Viroqua, will use a $20,000 grant to install a 120 kilowatt solar system. The system is estimated to generate 167,280 kilowatt hours per year, which is enough electricity to power 15 homes.
  • Thomas E. Kuchta, a grain farmer in Peshtigo, will use a $15,700 grant to install a grain dryer. This project will save the farm $8,767 per year and replace 163,058 kilowatt hours (89 percent) per year, which is enough electricity to power six homes. 
  • Jolma Electric LLC, an electrical contractor in Ashland, will use a $6,300 grant to install a 19.24 kilowatt solar array. This project will save $2,644 per year and replace 24,032 kilowatt hours (99 percent) per year which is enough electricity to power two homes.
  • Michael I. Mikrot, a beef rancher in South Range, will use a $7,400 grant to install a 10.3 kilowatt solar array. This project will save $2,111 per year and replace 14,793 kilowatt hours (106 percent) of the farm's energy use of electricity per year.
  • Joseph L. Zenz, a grain farmer in Lancaster, will use a $14,900 grant to install an energy efficient grain dryer. This project will save $7,717 per year and save 22,985 kilowatt hours (14.5 percent) of the farms energy use per year, which is enough to power two homes.
  • Friese Properties LLC, a nonresidential building lessor in Hudson, will use a $5,900 grant to install a 6 kilowatt solar electric array. This project is expected to save $519 per year and will replace 8,655 kilowatt hours of electricity per year.
  • Ronald Rundhaug, a dairy farmer in Dodgeville, will use a $6,700 grant to install a 19.2 kilowatt solar electric system. This project will save $1,930 per year and replace 25,904 kilowatt hours (155 percent) of the farm's energy use per year.
  • RNR Farms LLC, a grain farm in Glen Haven, will use a $19,100 grant to install a grain dryer. This project will save the farm $9,945 per year and replace 300,818 kilowatt hours (51 percent) per year, which is enough electricity to power 27 homes. 

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.

To learn more about investment resources for rural areas, interested parties should contact our Wisconsin USDA Rural Development office at 715-345-7600 or wi-rd-stateoffice@usda.gov and visit our website www.rd.usda.gov/wi. If you’d like to subscribe to USDA Rural Development updates, visit our GovDelivery subscriber page

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