Washington DC-- Deputy Under Secretary for Rural Development Donald “DJ” LaVoy today announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is investing $237 million to help farmers, ag producers and rural-based businesses lower energy costs. The Department is providing 640 awards to applicants in all 50 states, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and the Western Pacific. USDA is providing the funding through the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP).
“Businesses grow and create more jobs when their energy costs are lower,” LaVoy said. “Under the leadership of President Trump and Agriculture Secretary Perdue, USDA is committed to being a strong partner to rural businesses, because we know that when rural America thrives, all of America thrives.”
USDA Rural Development State Director Timothy P. Hobbs said, “Investing in Maine’s rural businesses by funding renewable energy systems and energy efficiency improvements helps reduce their operating costs, and can help them to be more profitable. I am pleased USDA Rural Development can help strengthen rural economies through its business programs.”
Recipients can use REAP funding for energy audits and to install renewable energy systems such as biomass, geothermal, hydropower and solar. The funding can also be used to increase energy efficiency by making improvements to heating, ventilation and cooling systems; insulation; and lighting and refrigeration.
In Maine, 13 Maine businesses have been selected to receive a total of $606,696. The Three businesses from Aroostook County include:
• Edwin Pelletier and Sons, Inc., in Frenchville, has been selected to receive a REAP Grant in the amount of $37,710. This Rural Development investment will be used to purchase and install a 61.6 kW solar PV ground-mounted system. This project will replace 74,237 kWh (95%) and save $10,393 per year.
• Leavitt Farms, LLC., in Limestone, has been selected to receive a REAP Grant in the amount of $89,615. This Rural Development investment will be used to purchase and install a 153 kW solar PV ground-mounted system. This project will save $35,900 per year and generate 274,963 kWh annually, replacing all of the business’ energy needs.
• Pol, Inc., located in Millinocket, has been selected to receive a REAP Grant in the amount of $92,839. This Rural Development investment will be used to purchase and install a 171 kW Solar PV ground-mounted system. This project will save $18,515 per year and generate 205,420 kWh annually, replacing all of the business’ energy needs.