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USDA Invests Over $1.2 Million in Five Renewable Energy Projects Across Indiana

Lewis Hilburn
Release Date

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development Indiana State Director Dr. Terry Goodin announced that USDA is investing $1,260,587 in five renewable energy projects across Indiana. These projects aim to lower energy costs, generate new income, and create jobs for Hoosier agricultural producers and rural small businesses.

“Through the Rural Energy for America Program, we are demonstrating Indiana’s commitment to building energy efficient communities in rural areas,” Dr. Goodin stated. “These five projects not only reduce energy costs for farmers, small businesses, and rural residents but also creates jobs and support economic growth in our state.”

Rural Clean Energy Production

Through the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP), USDA provides grants and loans to help ag producers and rural small business owners expand their use of wind, solar and other forms of clean energy and make energy efficiency improvements. These innovations help them increase their income, grow their businesses, address climate change and lower energy costs. 

The REAP program is part of the President’s Justice40 Initiative, which set a goal to deliver 40% of the overall benefits of certain federal investments to disadvantaged communities that are marginalized by underinvestment and overburdened by pollution.

These investments will cut energy costs for farmers and ag producers that can instead be used to create jobs and new revenue streams for people in their communities. For example:

  • CE Systems Inc. in Columbus, Indiana is planning to use project funds to buy and install a 1230.66 kW solar array. Once completed, this project is expected to save the company $135,555 per year. In addition, it will replace 1,014,000 kWh (38% of the company's annual energy usage), which is enough electricity to power 78 homes.
  • Cunningham Pattern & Engineering Inc., located in Columbus, Indiana, is planning to use project funds to acquire and install an 80 kW solar panel system. This initiative will help the business save $14,613 per year and replace 104,300 kWh (65% of total consumption) of electricity annually. This amount of energy is sufficient to power eight homes.
  • Stephen Sanders' turkey farm in Dubois, Indiana plans to purchase and install a 51.84 kW solar array using project funds. This array generates 70,322 kWh annually, saving the business $7,190 per year.
  • Borkholder Buildings & Supply LLC, located in Nappanee, Indiana, intends to utilize project funds to acquire and set up two solar arrays. The first array will have a capacity of 43.2 kW, while the second will have a capacity of 27 kW. This project will produce 88,288 kWh of electricity annually, which is enough to power six homes.
  • Karl Bontrager's poultry farm located in LaGrange, Indiana is planning to purchase and install a 25 kW solar array with the funding they have received. This solar infrastructure will be connected to a battery backup energy storage system to ensure that the farm has access to power during energy loss. The project is expected to save the business $4,105 annually and replace 29,798 kWh of electricity. This amount of energy is enough to power three average-sized homes.

“Indiana is leading the way and being good stewards for renewable energy. By investing in clean energy, we are not only protecting our environment but also creating new economic opportunities for our state. It's a win-win situation for everyone,” Dr. Goodin stated.

USDA continues to accept REAP applications and will hold funding competitions quarterly through September 30, 2024. The funding includes a dedicated portion for underutilized renewable energy technologies. For additional information on application deadlines and submission details, see page 19239 of the March 31 Federal Register.

USDA 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. Visit the Rural Data Gateway to learn how and where these investments are impacting rural America. To subscribe to USDA Rural Development updates, visit the GovDelivery Subscriber Page.

USDA touches the lives of all Americans each day in so many positive ways. 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.