Bozeman, Mont., Dec. 21, 2022 – U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development in Montana State Director Kathleen Williams announced today that USDA is investing more than $165,000 in critical infrastructure to lower energy costs, expand access to clean energy, and combat climate change for people across rural and tribal areas in Montana.
USDA is also making an additional $300 million available under the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP), including $250 million through the Inflation Reduction Act, to spur further investment.
“Every step towards energy efficiency and renewables contributes to addressing the impacts and trajectory of climate change,” said Williams. “We are pleased that USDA Rural Development can assist rural and tribal entrepreneurs, ag producers, and farmers with climate-smart investments that also benefit their operations through lower energy costs. This is another example of USDA’s commitment to helping our rural communities thrive and prosper by supporting efforts to brighten our collective energy future.”
USDA is making investments through the Rural Energy for America Program to help farmers, ag producers and entrepreneurs purchase and install renewable energy systems and make energy efficiency improvements. It reflects how USDA Rural Development helps agricultural producers and rural small businesses lower energy costs. These projects add to an energy savings of more than 250,000 kilowatt hours (kWh) annually, which is enough energy to power almost 20 homes.
Montana recipients include:
Stone Temple Fitness and Spa, LLC, a full-service gym and day spa in White Sulphur Springs, Montana, received a $14,175 Rural Energy for America grant to develop a renewable energy system and make energy-efficiency improvements to their operations. Funds will be used to purchase and install a 20-kilowatt solar photovoltaic (PV) system, resulting in a projected annual energy cost savings of more than $2,600 and an annual energy savings of more than 22,000 kilowatt hours.
Cows for Cabins, LLC, a short-term rental company in Belgrade, Montana, received a $20,555 Rural Energy for America Program grant to purchase and install a 24-kilowatt solar photovoltaic (PV) system resulting in a projected annual energy cost savings of more than $3,600 and an annual energy savings of more than 33,000 kilowatt hours.
Hi-Ball Trucking, Inc., in Billings Montana, received a$48,050 Rural Energy for America Program grant to purchase and install a 24-kilowatt solar array system resulting in a projected annual energy cost savings of more than $4,400 and an annual energy savings or more than 49,000 kilowatt hours.
52 Ranch, Inc., a family-owned farming and ranching operation in Lindsey, Montana, received a $10,991 Rural Energy for America Program grant to purchase and install an 11-kilowatt solar array system with ground mount resulting in a projected annual energy cost savings of more than $1,200 and a projected annual energy savings of more than 15,000 kilowatt hours.
J Bar L Ranches, LLC, a working cattle ranch in Melville, Montana, received a $49,637 Rural Energy for America Program grant to purchase and install a 70-kilowatt solar photovoltaic (PV) system resulting in a projected annual energy cost savings of more than $13,00 and produce more than 112,000 kilowatts in electrical power.
Moss Mountain Inn, a bed and breakfast operation near Columbia Falls, Montana, received a $22,372 Rural Energy for America Program grant to install a 30-kilowatt solar array resulting in a projected annual energy cost savings of more than $10,000 and produce more than 26,000 kilowatts in electrical power – approximately 63% of its annual electrical consumption.
Deadlines to apply for funding:
- Applications for technical assistance – Jan. 31, 2023
- Applications for grants – Mar. 31, 2023
- Applications for loan guarantees – accepted year-round
Interested applicants should contact their local USDA Rural Development State Energy Coordinator in advance of application deadlines to discuss their project and ask 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.
In August, Congress passed the Biden-Harris Administration’s Inflation Reduction Act designed to reduce energy costs for families and create thousands of good-paying jobs for people across rural America. It represents the largest single investment in rural electrification since 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.
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.
USDA Rural Development has six offices in Montana – Billings, Bozeman, Great Falls, Helena, Kalispell, and Missoula. To learn more about investment resources for rural areas in Montana, call (406) 585-2540 or visit www.rd.usda.gov/mt.
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.
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