Both loans and grants are part of the packages, aimed to boost rural development.
USDA Rural Development Under Secretary Lisa Mensah and Congresswoman Chellie Pingree announced that 13 Maine businesses and farms have been selected to receive a total of $108,001 to help them lower their energy costs and implement renewable energy systems.The news comes at a good time for Pingree, who has earned the ire of state Democrats for her role as a Hillary Clinton Superdelegate, and her early announcement that she would be supporting Clinton, despite an overwhelming primary win for Bernie Sanders.
“Today’s announcement of Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) grants will have a tremendous impact on these 13 rural Maine businesses,” Mensah said during a visit to McDougal Orchards in Springvale with Rep. Pingree. “It will help them lower their carbon emissions significantly and reduce overall operating costs. Helping rural businesses thrive and become self-sustaining is a critical role for USDA Rural Development in rural communities across the country. I am especially grateful to be joined by such a strong advocate for the REAP program in Rep. Pingree.”
During her visit, Mensah, Pingree and USDA Rural Development Maine State Director Virginia Manuel toured the diversified, seventh generation family farm that grows high-quality apples for pick-your-own customers, their farm stand, the Sanford Farmers’ Market, and local wholesalers. McDougal Orchards is located on 284 acres. Hanson Farm, Inc., which operates McDougal Orchards, has been selected to receive a $14,837 REAP grant to purchase and install a 20.14 kW solar photovoltaic (PV) roof-mounted system at the orchard. The solar system will supply all of the orchard’s energy demands.
Other Maine businesses and agricultural producers that are being selected to receive REAP grants are:
- Richard Jones, d/b/a Pine Tree LLC, in Poland, $7,624 grant to purchase and install a 10.34 kW solar PV roof-mounted system to benefit this real estate holding company. This system is projected to produce 11,903 kWh annually, replacing 93 percent of the company’s energy demands, or enough electricity to power one home.
- Erna Smith, d/b/a Smith Farms, in Lisbon Falls, $3,379 grant to purchase and install an 8.32 kW solar PV roof-mounted system to benefit this hay farmer. This system is projected to produce 5,555 kWh annually to meet 100 percent of the business’s energy demands.
- Birch Haven Campground, LLC, in Fort Kent, $18,750 grant to install a 23.4 kW solar PV tracker system array at this campground and replace 100 percent of its annual usage. The project proposes to generate 35,983 kWh of electricity per year, or enough electricity to power the equivalent of three homes.
- Fat & Happy, Inc., in North Berwick, $15,159 grant to install a 15.39 kW ground-mounted solar array. This project will save $3,119 and replace 90 percent of the business electrical usage annually; each year 17,345 kWh will be produced, which is more than enough electricity to power an average home.
- Christopher Hahn, LLC, in South China, $6,895 grant to install a 14.04 kW roof-mounted solar array. This project will save $1,518 and replace 100 percent of the business’s electrical usage annually; 10,961 kWh will be produced each year, which is more than enough electricity to power an average home.
- Rollins & Sons Auto Body, Inc., in West Rockport, $6,224 grant to purchase and install an 8.75 kW solar roof-mounted array. This project will realize $1,432 in savings and will replace 10,474 kWh (60 percent) of the business’s electrical usage annually.
- Robert Johanson, d/b/a Goranson Farm, in Dresden, $2,939 grant to purchase and install a reverse osmosis system to decrease the volume of sap that needs to be boiled down to make syrup. This will save this maple syrup producer 66,216 kWh annually, or enough energy to power six homes.
- Moir Farms, LLC, in Woodland, $3,966 grant to install variable speed drives on fans and LED lighting at a potato storage facility. This project will save $2,727 and decrease energy consumption by 52 percent annually; each year 19,535 kWh will be saved, which is more than enough electricity to power an average home.
- Harvest Gold Jewelry Company, in Lovell, $4,043 grant to purchase and install a 9.12 kW solar PV ground-mounted system to benefit this fine-crafted gold jewelry maker and gallery of fine arts. This system is projected to produce 7,931 kWh annually and meet 100 percent of the company’s energy demands.
- Waugh’s Mountain View Electric, Inc., in Rumford, $4,572 grant to install a 7.50 kW ground-mounted solar PV system. The proposed system projects to generate 10,466 kWh annually and will displace 68 percent of its energy usage.
- Little River Veterinary Hospital, P.A., in Northport, $15,856 grant to install a 27.56 kW solar PV system that is projected to produce 35,730 kWh annually and supply more than 98 percent of the company’s energy demands, or enough energy to power three homes.
- Frederick S. Whited, in Bridgewater, $3,757 grant to install variable-speed drives on fans at a potato storage facility. This project will save $1,807 and decrease energy consumption by 49 percent annually; each year 12,710 kWh will be saved, which is more than enough electricity to power an average home.Funding of each award announced today is contingent upon the recipient meeting the terms of the grant agreement. Since 2009, USDA Rural Development has invested more than $5.2 million in 93 Maine businesses through REAP.USDA Rural Development has area offices in Presque Isle, Bangor, Lewiston, and Scarborough, as well as a State Office in Bangor. Further information on rural programs is available at a local USDA Rural Development office or by visiting the Maine office’s website at www.rd.usda.gov/me.Since 2009, USDA’s Rural Development agency (#USDARD) has invested $11 billion to start or expand 103,000 rural businesses; helped 1.1 million rural residents buy homes; funded nearly 7,000 community facilities such as schools, public safety and health care facilities; financed 185,000 miles of electric transmission and distribution lines; and helped bring high-speed Internet access to nearly 6 million rural residents and businesses. For more information, visit www.usda.gov/results.