U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack announced Thursday (Dec. 15) the agency is investing $285 million in critical infrastructure to lower energy costs, expand access to clean energy for people across rural America, and combat climate change.
USDA is also making an additional $300 million available under the Rural Energy for America Program, including $250 million through the Inflation Reduction Act to spur further investment.
Arkansas is slated to get a little more than $1 million for 18 already-approved projects across the state.
“People in rural America are on the front lines of climate change, and our communities deserve investments that will strengthen our Country’s resilience,” Vilsack said. “President Biden has created a roadmap for how we can tackle the climate crisis and expand access to renewable energy infrastructure, all while creating good-paying jobs and saving people money on their energy costs. These investments underscore the Biden-Harris administration’s commitment to providing funding and resources to rural people and communities across the country to help drive economic security and prosperity.”
USDA is making 844 investments through the Rural Energy for America Program. This program helps farmers, ag producers and entrepreneurs purchase and install renewable energy systems and make energy efficiency improvements to lower energy costs.
Teeoan LLC, an agricultural producer in Craighead County, received a $160,000 grant through the program, the largest in the state. It will reinstall a 482.8 kilowatt (kW) solar array. This project is expected to save $60,000 per year and replace 752,878 kilowatt hours (kWh) (100% of operation’s usage) annually, which is enough energy to power 69 homes.
The second largest grant was awarded to Dixie Acres Inc., an agricultural producer specializing in poultry. It will install a 289 kilowatt (kW) solar array in Summers. This renewable energy project is expected to save $37,507 and generate 419,400 kilowatt hours (kWh), 100% of the operation’s historic usage, annually, which is enough energy to power 38 homes.
USDA will make $300 million available under the Rural Energy for America Program to expand renewable energy and support energy-efficiency projects for people living in rural America. This funding includes $250 million provided by the Biden-Harris administration’s historic legislative package known as the Inflation Reduction Act.
The deadline to apply for grants is March 31, 2023. Applications for technical assistance grants are due Jan. 31, 2023. Applications for loan guarantees are accepted year-round.