Located in rural Humboldt, Tennessee, Mr. Aaron Webb of Webb Farm Solar Systems Inc., owns and operates a minority owned solar farm. This farm has been in operation since 2012, with Photo-Voltaic (PV) Solar Systems on several farm properties.
It was in 2019, when Webb walked into his local RD Office in Union City after being directed to the office by someone who had experience with writing grants for USDA. The Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) provides funding to assist farmers, ranchers, and rural small businesses in developing energy-efficiency improvements to their operations. Mr. Webb had several other solar sites/farms that he self-funded prior to coming to Rural Development for assistance, but having the support of an experienced grant writer made the process seamless.
In May 2021, Mr. Webb's first project to purchase and install an 117.3kW solar array of panels was completed. This project generated 335,133 kWh, which is enough energy to power 31 homes. Webb returned to the Union City office in July 2022 to apply for a second REAP grant and was awarded assistance to purchase and install an 125kW solar array to add to his existing 375kW system. This new array will generate 171,000 kW in energy which is enough energy to power 16 homes.
Webb Farm Solar has made significant impacts to the community they serve. With more than 500kW of solar panels on his land, neighbors are constantly asking how they can get involved. It has reduced carbon footprint, the need for fossil fuels, and provides clean power to the grid. "The exposure of the solar panels has been great," Webb said. "My advice to anyone getting started is to start small, then build up." This assistance was provided to a distressed community...therefore helping to build back better.