WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Angus King (I-Maine) announced today that nine rural Maine businesses will receive a total of $431,725 in funding through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) to purchase, construct and install solar panels or mechanisms to convert wood into pellets. REAP’s grant program, entitled Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Loans and Grants, provides financial assistance to agricultural producers and small businesses to upgrade renewable energy systems in rural areas.
“By installing technologies that increase energy efficiency, these local businesses can save more annually, increase competitiveness and reduce their environmental footprint,” said Senators Collins and King in a joint statement. “These USDA investments are important boosts for our rural communities, and will have a positive impact on the regional economy and environment for years to come.”
The funding will be allocated to the following projects:
· Buck’s Naked BBQ, a restaurant in Freeport, will receive $19,496 to purchase and install roof-mounted solar panels.
· Mook Sea Farms, an oyster farm in Walpole, will receive $49,597 to purchase and install roof-mounted solar panels.
· Split Rock Distillery, a locally sourced producer of gin, vodka, whiskey and bourbon in Newcastle, will receive $6,465 to purchase and install roof-mounted solar panels.
· Rainbow Valley Farm, an organic dairy farm in Sidney, will receive $34,433 to purchase and install a ground-mounted solar panels.
· Gagnon’s Auto and RV Sales and Gagnon’s Rental Properties, a car dealership and a property management in Connor, will receive $66,000 to purchase and install ground-mounted solar panels.
· Maple Crest Farm, a start-up farm that raises livestock and sells wool, eggs and honey in Hermon, will receive $21,506 to purchase and install roof-mounted solar panels.
· Labrie Farms, a local potato supplier and source for large-scale frozen food manufacturer in St. Agatha, will receive $30,000 to purchase and install ground-mounted solar panels.
· Porchside Veterinary Care, a clinic for small animals to receive regular treatment and spay/neuter services in Dresden, will receive $4,228 to purchase and install roof-mounted solar panels.
· T&D Wood Energy, a wood pellet manufacturing facility in Sanford, will receive $200,000 to construct a mid-sized wood pellet mill which will convert residue and waste from wood into pellets.