Every project needs a little push..
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) recently announced that it would help fund more than 1,000 rural renewable energy and energy efficiency projects nation wide. These are aimed at helping small businesses and farmers reduce their energy footprint.
The funds of the USDA will take forms of $102 million loan guarantees and $71 million in grants, and these will be provided through the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP).
But what does REAP even do?
The REAP program was created as part of the 2002 Farm bill and since the initiative proved to be incredibly successful Congress improved the program in the 2014 bill with a $50 million in funding annually through the 5 year life of the bill.
How is this dispersed?
- $6 million is planned to go to 17 anaerobic digesters in eight states. These are estimated to produce/conserve 906 million kWh (which is equivalent to the power consumption of 83,600 homes!).
- In North Carolina, Fresh Air Energy XVI, LLC, will receive a 3.8 million dollar loan guarantee for financing a 6.5 MW solar array in Green County (source: Cleantechnica.com). This is expected to generate clean electricity to power 1,000 homes annually!
- In Tennessee, Parker Farms is expected to receive a REAP grant of $45,000 to help finance a 50 kW solar array. This solar array has helped the farm decrease its monthly electricity bill by $800.
- Pearl City's wholesale bakery located in Hawaii will be given a $256,000 loan and a $128,000 grant for installing a solar PV which is expected to produce 172,000 kW of clean electricity yearly. This helps reduce the company's offsite energy demand by 40%.What makes this program amazing is that it provides an incentive to small, local farmers to incorporate clean energy and sustainable practices into their manufacturing process. Not only had REAP helped reduce the carbon footprint and decrease the monthly bills of these farms, but it also has helped save an estimated 8.4 million MWh of energy which is the same as powering 170,000 average-sized homes for a year. It has also reduced greenhouse gas emissions by almost 5 million metric tons of CO2.
To learn more about this click HERE!