USDA Invests $464 Million in Renewable Energy Infrastructure to Help Rural Communities, Businesses and Ag Producers Build Back Better

Name
Chris Hart
City
Champaign
Release Date
Sep 09, 2021

 

Washington, Sept. 9, 2021 – U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced that 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. 

 USDA continues to prioritize climate-smart infrastructure to help rural America build back better, stronger and more equitably than ever before,” Vilsack said. “We recognize that lowering energy costs for small businesses and agricultural producers helps to expand economic development and employment opportunities for people in America’s rural towns and communities. The investments we are announcing today demonstrate how the Biden-Harris Administration has put rural communities at the heart of climate action and climate-smart solutions.”

USDA is financing $129 million of 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. 

USDA is financing $335 million of these investments through the Electric Loan Program. The loans will help build or improve 1,432 miles of line to strengthen reliability in rural areas. The loans include $102 million for investments in smart grid technology, which uses digital communications to detect and react to local changes in electricity usage.

The department is announcing investments today in Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Maryland, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, North Carolina, North Dakota, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Vermont, Washington, Wisconsin, West Virginia, Wyoming and Puerto Rico. 


For example, in Illinois:  

  • Prairie State Solar, LLC will use a $95 million loan to construct a 99 megawatt solar photovoltaic farm on 621 acres in Perry County, Ill., about 50 miles southeast of St. Louis. Prairie State has a 27-year power purchase agreement with the Wabash Valley Power Association Inc. to sell and deliver the electricity produced. Wabash is an electric generation and transmission cooperative headquartered in Indianapolis. It provides wholesale power to 23 distribution cooperatives in Illinois, Indiana and Missouri.
  • Brenda Rohl will use a $5,353 grant to help purchase and install a 9-kilowatt solar array to help power the farm. This project will save more than $1,400 per year and replace 12,055 kilowatt hours per year, which is enough energy to power one home.
  • Smits Farms Incorporated will use a $19,453 grant to help purchase and install a waste wood boiler to help heat the greenhouses. This project will save more than $9,600 per year and replace 1,046,307 kilowatt hours per year, which is enough energy to power 96 homes.
  •  Lenard Duchnowski will use a $4,296 grant to help purchase and install an 11-kilowatt solar array to help power the business. This project will save more than $1,100 per year and replace 11,053 kilowatt hours per year, which is enough energy to power one home. 
  • Doyle Bradley Short will use a $10,000 grant to help purchase and install a grain dryer. This project will save more than $8,800 per year and replace 135,809 kilowatt hours (73 percent) per year, which is enough energy to power 12 homes.
  • Scott Lewis will use a $20,000 grant to help purchase and install a grain dryer. This project will save more than $18,500 per year and replace 444,241 kilowatt hours (75 percent) per year, which is enough energy to power 40 homes. 
  • Kol Ronald Siebring will use a $20,000 grant to help purchase and install a grain dryer. This investment will save more than $16,600 per year and replace 508,330 kilowatt hours (60 percent) per year, which is enough energy to power 46 homes.
  • Big House Investments LLC will use a $9,949 grant to help purchase and install a pond aeration system. This investment will save more than $8,100 per year and replace 109,832 kilowatt hours (36 percent) per year, which is enough energy to power 10 homes.
  • Prairie State Pork, LLC will use a $19,250 grant to help purchase and install a 37-kilowatt solar array to help power the business. This project will save more than $7,800 per year and replace 52,976 kilowatt hours per year, which is enough energy to power four homes. 
  • Mattingly Properties, LLC will use a $11,199 grant to help purchase and install a 140-kilowatt solar array to help power the business. This project will save more than $17,100 per year and replace 181,211 kilowatt hours per year, which is enough energy to power 16 homes.
  • Beard Implement Co. will use a $19,500 grant to help with the purchase and installation of an 80-kilowatt solar array to help power the business. This project will save more than $11,000 per year and replace 107,126 kilowatt hours per year, which is enough energy to power nine homes.
  • B Auto Parts LLC will use a $20,000 grant to help purchase and install a 200-kilowatt solar array to help power the business. This project will save more than $22,300 per year and replace 247,810 kilowatt hours per year, which is enough energy to power 22 homes.
  • Pignatelli & Associates P.C. will use a $20,000 grant to help purchase and install a 48-kilowatt solar array to help power the business. This project will save more than $11,500 per year and replace 67,414 kilowatt hours per year, which is enough energy to power six homes.

 

To learn more about these and other resources for rural areas, contact a USDA Rural Development state office
 

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. In the Biden-Harris Administration, USDA is transforming America’s food system with a greater focus on more resilient local and regional food production, fairer markets for all producers, ensuring access to safe, 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.