Rural small businesses plan switch to solar energy with federal grants – Yahoo! Voices

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Utah rural businesses including an RV park, a ranch, an auto shop and a hardware store are switching to solar energy systems. (Photo by Xuanyu Han/Getty Images)

Small businesses in rural communities in Utah could lower energy costs and create small, new jobs by propelling 17 projects in eight counties with federal investments.

The plans have a $1.8 price tag, part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture funding, and are mostly focused on installing solar arrays in rural communities and will be based at Cache, Iron, Millard, Rich, San Juan, Summit, Wasatch and Wayne counties, according to a news release.

“These investments directed by President Biden are reducing the burden on our rural businesses and farming operations by lowering their energy costs,” Michele Weaver, USDA Utah Director said in the release. “We can expect Utahns to save an average of more than 78% a year on their energy costs that they can then invest back into their businesses and communities.”

The programs are part of the Rural Energy for America Program, which offers loans and grants to agricultural producers and rural small businesses in an effort to benefit communities that have been “marginalized by underinvestment and overburdened by pollution,” according to the release. 

Some of the grant projects highlighted include an over $245,000 investment in Coral Sands RV Park, located in San Juan County, to buy and install solar panels. With the money, the RV park would completely switch to solar energy and save over $17,600 a year, according to the release.

Monticello Merc Inc, a hardware store in San Juan County, received over $71,700 in funding to switch its energy sources to solar and save about $4,400 a year in utility bills. Double Dollar Livestock, a ranch located in Millard County, also hopes to replace its current energy use with solar by 100% and would save over $3,400 a year with an over $56,300 grant.

USDA also granted almost $84,000 to M&D Auto Parts and Repair, a trucking company and shop in Wayne County for a solar array installation. The business is also expecting to switch to 100% solar energy and save over $5,200 annually. 


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