USDA to invest $63 million in rural renewables


The USDA (U.S. Department of Agriculture) has announced that it will be investing $63 million in renewable energy and energy efficiency projects nationwide via its Rural Energy for America Program (REAP). The funding will aid in developing solar and other renewable energy projects with the goal to create jobs and develop energy independence.

The next deadline for REAP grants is November 2, 2015 and the USDA will announce in the following weeks how much funding is still available and how to apply.

The 264 projects are expected to generate 207.8 million kWh, enough to power 13,600 homes. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack believes that these projects will particularly aid rural families. He added, "Investing in renewable energy and energy efficiency projects supports home-grown energy sources, creates jobs, reduces greenhouse gas pollution and helps usher in a more secure energy future for the nation."

One site that will be benefitting is the Blue Sky Poultry farm in Bainbridge, Georgia with $16,094 grant to install solar panels on the roof of its poultry houses. The solar panels will generate 36,300 kWh of electricity. Another farm to benefit with an $18,000 grant is A.B. Phillips & Sons fruit farm in Berlin Heights, Ohio.

On a larger scale, South Winston Farm in North Carolina will receive a $4 million loan guarantee to develop a 7MW PV array.