USDA recently announced an investment of $490,000 in Illinois, and more than $300 million nationwide, to help rural small businesses save money on their energy costs by adopting renewable sources or implementing more efficient energy options. The funding is through the USDA Rural Development Rural Energy for America Program (REAP).
Grant funding for the eight projects in Illinois ranged from $30,700 to $135,000, and includes the purchase and installation of solar renewable energy systems; energy efficiency improvements to insulation, and geothermal and lighting systems; purchase and installation of a fermenter for ethanol production; and energy efficiency improvements to grain dryers. One example of the Illinois improvements is a $40,000 grant to Monahan Filaments, LLC., of Arcola Illinois. The grant contributes to a nearly $190,000 project to upgrade existing lighting and chillers; it will result in more than $26,000 per year in savings and replace enough electricity to power 52 homes (568,868 kWh).
USDA Secretary Vilsack noted that the Rural Energy for America Program has helped roughly 15,000 rural small businesses, farmers and ranchers improve their bottom lines through energy savings, adding that “when businesses lower their energy costs, they are also able to expand their services and contribute to stronger local economies.”
USDA has provided more than $380 million in grants and almost $688 million in loan guarantees to agricultural producers and rural small business owners since the start of the Obama Administration. When operational, these projects will generate or save almost 9 million megawatt hours – enough to power more than 750,000 homes and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by more than 5 million metric tons in carbon dioxide each year. That is the equivalent of removing 1.5 million cars from our roads.
To read more about USDA’s investments in renewable energy, visit USDA’s entry on Medium.com, Powering America with a More Sustainable Energy Future. For more information about REAP in Illinois, visit our website at www.rd.usda.gov/IL or call the Rural Development State Office at 217.403.6202.