Albuquerque, NM, Jan 18, 2011 -- USDA Rural Development State Director Terry Brunner traveled to Raton, New Mexico today to help dedicate a solar power system which has improved the energy efficiency of a Raton physical therapy business.
Rocky Mountain Therapy of Raton received a Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) grant in the amount of $49,854 last year. The grant will offset the cost of installing a solar/thermal energy system to reduce their energy consumption. The solar system is designed to use warm water produced by the solar panels to heat the therapy pools and spas used for physical therapy treatments. The other part of the system is made up by 96 solar voltaic panels which creates electricity. As a result, the business will save approximately 70% of its annual electric consumption.
During the dedication ceremony, Brunner said, "This project is a good example of the Obama administration’s commitment to helping rural businesses become more energy efficient.” Brunner added, “In the long run the funding that we spent for this project is good for both the environment and Rocky Mountain Therapy’s bottom line.”
Financial support provided by USDA Rural Development to the Rocky Mountain Therapy solar project paid for 25% of the cost to install this solar system. Small businesses, ranches and farms in rural areas of less than 50,000 people qualify for funding to install alternative energy systems including solar, wind, biomass, geothermal and other renewable energy systems to offset energy costs. The program will also pay for any energy efficiency projects such as adding insulation, changing out motors, replacing old heaters or air conditioners or outdated lighting at a business, farm or ranch. USDA Rural Development financing (grants and loan guarantees) can pay up to 75% of the cost to install an alternative energy system.
Currently, USDA Rural Development is taking applications for this type of alternative or energy efficiency project. The minimum grant for an alternative energy project is $2,500 and the minimum grant for an efficiency project is $1,500. Application for these types of projects can be made at any USDA Rural Development area office or by calling 505-761-4953 for more information on the REAP.
USDA Rural Development’s mission is to increase economic opportunity and improve the quality of life for rural residents. Rural Development fosters growth in homeownership, finances business development, and supports the creation of critical community and technology infrastructure. Further information on rural programs is available at any local USDA Rural Development office or by visiting USDA Rural Development’s web site at http://www.rurdev.usda.gov