State Director for Rural Development Debbie Turbeville today announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is awarding grants for projects in South Carolina to reduce energy costs for rural-based businesses.
“Projects like these can help farmers, rural businesses and ag producers lower their energy costs which will increase their bottom line and create jobs,” Turbeville said. “When rural America prospers, all of America prospers.”
Under today’s announcement, USDA is investing $9.3 million through the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) for renewable energy and energy efficiency projects across the nation. Congress appropriated $50 million for REAP grants and loan guarantees in fiscal year 2019. USDA will make additional funding announcements in the REAP program in coming weeks.
Recipients can use REAP funding for a variety of needs, such as conducting energy audits and installing renewable energy systems such as biomass, geothermal, hydropower and solar. Funds also can be used to make energy efficiency improvements to heating, ventilation and cooling systems; insulation; and lighting and refrigeration. Listed below are a few examples of how South Carolina rural business owners are making investments in their operations through REAP.
• In Greenwood County, S.C., Coyle Insurance and Financial Services, Inc. will use a $6,750 REAP grant to purchase and install 9kW ballasted solar roof array to generate power for office and reduce electrical consumption. The project will realize $1,300 per year in savings and will save 6,032 kWh of electricity per year.
• Grand Strand Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine in Myrtle Beach, S.C., will use a $13,920 grant to purchase and install a 17.69 kWDC rooftop solar panel array for the production of energy. The project will realize approximately $3,202.08 per year in savings and will save 26,684 kilowatt-hours of electricity per year, which is on average enough to power 2.5 homes.
In April 2017, President Donald J. Trump established the Interagency Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity to identify legislative, regulatory and policy changes that could promote agriculture and prosperity in rural communities. In January 2018, Secretary Perdue presented the Task Force’s findings to President Trump. These findings included 31 recommendations to align the federal government with state, local and tribal governments to take advantage of opportunities that exist in rural America. Supporting the rural workforce was a cornerstone recommendation of the task force.
To view the report in its entirety, please view the Report to the President of the United States from the Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity (PDF, 5.4 MB). In addition, to view the categories of the recommendations, please view the Rural Prosperity infographic (PDF, 190 KB).
USDA Rural Development provides loans and grants to help expand economic opportunities and create jobs 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 areas. For more information, visit www.rd.usda.gov/sc.
USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender.