HONOLULU (KHON2) — The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced on Thursday, it is investing $129 million in 48 states, and Puerto Rico, to build or help improve renewable energy infrastructures.
The state of Hawai’i will receive $46,552, and USDA said the funds are to help agricultural producers and rural businesses lower their energy costs.
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According to the USDA, these climate-smart investments will conserve and generate more than 379 million kilowatt-hours (kWh) in rural America, which equates to enough electricity to power 35,677 homes per year.
Deputy Under Secretary for Rural Development Justin Maxson said the USDA continues to prioritize climate-smart infrastructure to help rural America build back better, stronger and more equitably than ever before.
“We recognize that lowering energy costs for small businesses and agricultural producers helps to expand economic development and employment opportunities for people in America’s rural towns and communities,” Maxson said. “The investments we are announcing today demonstrate how the Biden-Harris Administration has put rural communities at the heart of climate action and climate-smart solutions.”
Hawai’i/Western Pacific Acting State Director Denise Salmeron said their REAP program, provides critical funding for Hawai’i’s rural businesses and agricultural producers to develop renewable energy systems and/or to implement energy efficiency improvements to improve their bottom line.
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Some of Hawai’i businesses receiving the funds include:
Maui Tea Ventures, LLC, $6,635 will be used to replace non-functioning batteries in an off-grid photovoltaic system with new batteries and components.
Fleming & Associates, $19,620 will be used to help purchase and install a 14.76 DC Kilowatt photovoltaic energy system for an architectural firm.
Puna Flower Power, $9,955 will be used to purchase and install a 11.7kW solar energy system.
Sugar Hill, $10,342 will be used to purchase and install a 7.6kW solar energy system to power an off-grid farm cold storage unit the business will use for meat cutting, wrapping and product storage.
USDA is financing the projects through the Rural Energy for America Program.