The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) will make grants available to agriculture producers in Maryland state for renewable energy and energy efficiency projects.
Maryland Rural Development state director Jack Tarburton has announced a total of $747,994 grants for 13 projects in the state, including wind, solar, geothermal and energy-efficient grain dryer projects.
Chicken and egg production facility, Sunnyside Farms, in Carroll County, has been awarded a $220,500 grant from the department, to develop the state’s largest farm-based grid-connected solar power system.
This funding is provided through the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) which was authorised in the Food, Conservation and Energy Act of 2008, also known as the Farm Bill. MidAtlantic Farm Credit Administration is also participating in the funding.
REAP funding is awarded to renewable energy and energy efficiency projects, as well as feasibility studies, energy audits and development assistance.
The grant represents around a quarter of the cost of the new solar project, which incorporates 936 solar panels in a grid-tied array over a one-acre land area.
Tarburton, said, ‘This project is promoting the Obama Administration’s efforts to transition to a renewable energy economy.
‘It is good for business, good for the economy, creates jobs and it promises a reduction in energy consumption. Most importantly, it is helping to keep farmers on the farm, and offers opportunities for the next generation of farmers.’
As the solar system will power a quarter of the farm’s energy demand, it also qualifies for a $50,000 grant from the Maryland Energy Administration, as well as a 30 per cent Federal Investment Tax Credit and additional Renewable Energy Credits.
The USDA Rural Development division offers more than 40 loan, grant and loan guarantee programmes.
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