USDA Invests Nearly $250,000 in 22 Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Projects Throughout NY State
Grants for solar energy and energy efficiency will help control energy costs
SYRACUSE, June 10, 2015 – USDA Rural Development Acting New York State Director Scott Collins announced that 22 New York farms and rural small businesses will receive $249,000 in cost-share funds to install renewable energy systems and make energy efficiency improvements to their businesses. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack recently announced that USDA is investing $6.7 million in 544 projects nationwide through the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP).
“These grants will help farmers and small business owners save money on their energy bills, contract with local businesses, and reduce our dependence on fossil fuels,” Collins said. “We are pleased to assist these businesses with their investments, which will reduce and stabilize their energy costs for years to come.”
REAP was created by the 2002 Farm Bill and was recently reauthorized in the 2014 Farm Bill. REAP funding has helped farmers expand renewable energy use with grants of up to 25% of project costs. The new Census of Agriculture shows the number of farms utilizing renewable energy production has doubled in the last five years.
Since 2009, USDA has awarded $545 million to support more than 8,800 REAP projects nationwide. This includes $361 million in grants and loans for almost 2,900 renewable energy systems. For the remaining 5,900 projects, USDA provided $184 million to help rural small businesses and agricultural producers make energy efficiency improvements such as lighting; heating, ventilation and cooling; irrigation; insulation and motor replacements. When fully operational, these projects are estimated to generate and save 7.3 billion kilowatt hours of electricity annually – enough to power more than 660,000 homes for a year.
Eligible agricultural producers and rural small businesses may use REAP funds to make energy efficiency improvements or install renewable energy systems, including solar, wind, renewable biomass (including anaerobic digesters), geothermal, small hydroelectric, ocean energy, and hydrogen. The awards announced today are contingent upon the recipients meeting the terms of the grant agreement. View the list of recipients here: awards list.
President Obama’s historic investments in rural America have made our rural communities stronger. Under his leadership, these investments in housing, community facilities, businesses and infrastructure have empowered rural America to continue leading the way – strengthening America's economy, small towns and rural communities.
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