MILAN, Tenn., Apr 28, 2011 -- Milan Compress Company, Inc. has taken a big step into the future, using energy from the sun to transform itself from an energy consumer into an energy producer.
The cotton processing company was awarded a renewable energy production grant through USDA's Renewable Energy for America Program (REAP) and staff were on hand today to celebrate Earth Day with the newly energy-independent company.
"Milan Compress is a great partner for USDA’s renewable energy program," said RD State Director Bobby Goode. "Solar installations like this help create good jobs in the renewable energy sector and contribute to the promotion, development and utilization of renewable, domestically produced energy alternatives in Tennessee."
According to Milan Compress Vice President Vance Shoaf, his company invested $187,500 in the project. The grants of $46,875 from RD and $56,400 through the Tennessee Solar Institute made it economically feasible for the project to be much larger than it otherwise could have been.
The 28.2 kilowatt system is expected to produce more than 34,000 Kilowatt hours of clean electricity per month. That is enough electricity on average to meet all the needs of the company as well as send unused energy back into the community electric grid. Most solar panels are currently warranted for 20 years of electricity production. Connecting solar arrays to the local electric grid instead of on-site batteries means the cost of care and maintenance is minimal.
REAP loan guarantees and grants can be used for renewable energy systems, energy efficiency improvements, feasibility studies and energy audits. Grants and low interest energy loans are available to most farms and rural businesses. More information on the REAP program is at www.rurdev.usda.gov/TN-Business.html.
Others who participated in the event included Sen. Lamar Alexander's Representative Matt Varino, Rep. Stephen Fincher's Representative Scott Golden, Milan Mayor Chris Crider, Solar Renewable Power Systems Project Manager Eddie Parimore, Milan chamber Executive Director Julie Burks, Jackson State Vice President for Institutional Advancement Dee Henderson and RD Community Programs Director Keith Head, Business programs Director Dan Beasley, Energy Coordinator Will Dodson, Area Director Harriett Cannon and staff Van Wylie, Mary Hickman and Joel Howard.
USDA Rural Development invests in jobs, businesses, community infrastructure, homeownership and affordable rental housing in rural communities. Last year Rural Development assisted more than 1.5 million rural Tennessee families and businesses with more than $1.06 billion in financial assistance through affordable loans, loan-guarantees and grants.
For more information on Rural Development programs available in Gibson County contact the Rural Development Area Office in Union City at 731-885-6480 Ext. 4, toll free at 800-342-3149 ext. 1497 or visit us online at www.rurdev.usda.gov/tn.
USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender. To file a complaint of discrimination, write USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue, S.W., Washington, D.C. 20250-9410, or call (800) 795 -3272 TDD (615) 783-1397.