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USDA Makes Clean Energy Investments to Support Montana Businesses, Ag Producers

BOZEMAN, Montana
Release Date

BOZEMAN, Mont., May 23, 2024 –USDA Rural Development Montana State Director Kathleen Williams today announced the agency is investing in six clean energy projects to support rural Montana businesses and agricultural producers. These projects are funded by the Inflation Reduction Act, the nation’s largest-ever investment in combating the climate crisis.

The investments are made through the Rural Energy America Program (REAP), which helps agricultural producers and rural small business owners expand their use of wind, solar, geothermal and small hydropower energy and make energy efficiency improvements. These innovations help them increase their income, grow their businesses, address climate change and lower energy costs for American families. 

“The evidence of climate change continues to amplify in Montana, affecting our producers, economy, and health and safety. This program helps rural producers and businesses save energy and transition to reliable, renewable energy sources, while also saving operating costs that can then be invested elsewhere – a win-win,” said Williams. “Rural small businesses and agricultural producers are the backbone of Montana’s economy, and USDA is working every day to help them grow and thrive.”

Details about the awardees are as follows:

  • Heberle Ford in Forsyth will use a $10,125 grant to make energy efficiency upgrades to the business. This project is expected to save this rural car dealership $1,743 in annual energy costs.
  • Soundcolor Studios Inc. in Livingston will use a $17,200 grant to install a roof-mounted 6-kilowatt solar photovoltaic system with a 30-kilowatt hours battery. This film, music, and art studio operation is expecting to save $1,155 per year in annual energy costs and replace 100 percent of its annual energy consumption.
  • West Paw Properties LLC in Bozeman will use a $37,237 grant to make energy efficiency improvements. The business, which manufactures dog toys and other products, expects to save $2,559 in annual energy costs.
  • Highmark Properties LLC in Choteau is receiving $85,854 in grant to install a 74.205-kilowatt solar photovoltaic system at the Twin Peaks Assisted Living Facility. It’s expected this project will save $5,607 in annual energy costs and replace 82,427 kilowatts in energy use.
  • Terri Kollman, a rural agricultural producer outside Joliet will use a $20,000 grant to buy and install a 9.84-kilowatt solar photovoltaic system. The project should save this producer $2,030 in energy costs and replace 14,877 kilowatt hours of electricity per year.
  • Bart R. Bilden of Lavina will use a $49,797 grant to purchase and install a 29.1-kilowatt solar photovoltaic system. It’s expected this project will save $6,343 in annual energy costs and produce enough energy to replace 100 percent of the energy used per year to support their farm and ranch operations.

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. For more information, visit www.rd.usda.gov/mt. If you’d like to subscribe to USDA Rural Development updates, visit the GovDelivery subscriber page.