The Agriculture Department has invested more than $300 million in projects and grants for a strategy promote the adoption of renewable energy and efficient energy sources among the nation’s small businesses.
USDA said Tuesday it provided $237 million in grants to 423 businesses as part of the Rural Energy for America Program to help them implement renewable energy systems, such as biomass, geothermal, hydropower and solar.
The selected small businesses may also utilize the funds to update their heating, ventilation and cooling systems, insulation and lighting and refrigeration units.
The agency has also invested close to $80 million for several energy initiatives in Texas that aim to assist farmers and ranchers, create jobs for rural-based citizens and support the availability of affordable housing.
REAP will award nine Texas-based firms to help in the development of programs that include the construction of a roof-mounted solar array, the replacement of four wood-fired boiler systems and the update of an evaporator at an ethanol refinery.
The Pedernales Electric Cooperative of Johnson City will receive a $68 million grant under the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Loan Program to implement a system-wide overhaul for a rural portion of the co-op’s service area.
“Cutting our energy waste is one of the fastest, easiest and cheapest ways to help families save money on their energy bills while reducing harmful carbon pollution,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.
He added that the country has provided new jobs, helped citizens to save on energy bills and cut carbon emissions through new upgrades and private sector partnerships.
REAP has helped fund more than 11,600 renewable energy initiatives that worked to mitigate costs of 15,000 businesses.