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Virginia Projects Included in $285 Million USDA Investment to Combat Climate Change Across Rural America

Barbara Bowen
Release Date

13 State Entities Receiving More than $810,000 in Funding

RICHMOND, Va., Dec. 15, 2022 – Thirteen Virginia projects funded through the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will soon help power up state clean energy initiatives as part of a nationwide effort to combat climate change and reduce energy costs for communities throughout rural America. 

“People in rural America are on the front lines of climate change, and our communities deserve investments that will strengthen our Country’s resilience,” Vilsack said. “President Biden has created a roadmap for how we can tackle the climate crisis and expand access to renewable energy infrastructure, all while creating good-paying jobs and saving people money on their energy costs. These investments underscore the Biden-Harris administration’s commitment to providing funding and resources to rural people and communities across the country to help drive economic security and prosperity.” 

The examples provided below help illustrate how the more than $810,000 in funding supports critical infrastructure improvements in a broad range of enterprises from schools in Southwest Virginia to stables in Goochland County (view full list of recipients in Virginia and across the nation):

  • Inspiratus, LLC, will use a $83,816 grant to install two ground photovoltaic arrays totaling 237.6 kilowatts at the Eupepsia Wellness Center. This Bland County health retreat offers 26 guest rooms and a greenhouse, restaurant, sports and fitness center, spa and therapy treatment rooms and movie lounge on a 250-acre parcel. The estimated solar generation of 317,181 kilowatt hours per year is equivalent to powering about 29 homes.

  • Virginia Artesian Bottling Company will use a $46,270 grant to install a 102.125-kilowatt roof-mounted photovoltaic system for the business, which was established in 2003. The company originally operated out of the owner’s home but moved the enterprise to a leased 16,172 sq. ft. building on 55.9 acres to accommodate expansive growth. The estimated solar generation of 140,432 kilowatt hours (kWh) per year would power about 13 single family homes.
  • Elite Recycling, LLC, will use a $44,275 grant to install a 106-kilowatt roof-mount solar energy system for their four warehouses and one manufacturing building in a distressed area of Campbell County. The family-owned business was established in 2011 to recycle scrap metal and has since expanded to bundling and exporting paper, plastic and cardboard. The estimated annual solar generation of 130,299 kilowatt hours is enough to power 12 single-family houses.

“These projects are representative of the many ways USDA is helping agricultural producers and rural small businesses lower energy costs,” said Perry Hickman, USDA Rural Development Virginia State Director. “These recent investments in renewable energy systems can help reduce greenhouse gas emissions while also promoting energy independence in the commonwealth and beyond.”

USDA is providing a total of $285 million for 844 investments projects through the Rural Energy for America Program, which helps farmers, ag producers and entrepreneurs purchase and install renewable energy systems and make energy efficiency improvements. An additional $300 million is now available under REAP to expand access to renewable energy and support more energy-efficiency projects. 

This funding includes $250 million provided by the Biden-Harris Administration’s historic legislative package known as the Inflation Reduction Act. Fiscal Year 2023 applications for technical assistance and REAP grants are due Jan. 31 and March 31, respectively. Applications for loan guarantees are accepted year-round.

Interested applicants are encouraged to contact State Energy Coordinator Tracey Krespach at (804) 287-1606 or tracey.krespach@usda.gov well in advance of these deadlines to discuss project specifics and ask questions about the program or 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.

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. If you’d like to subscribe to USDA Rural Development updates, visit our GovDelivery subscriber page.

USDA touches the lives of all Americans each day in so many positive ways. Under the Biden-Harris Administration, USDA is transforming America’s food system with a greater focus on more resilient local and regional food production, ensuring access to 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.