Albuquerque, NM, Jan 27, 2012 -- USDA Rural Development State Director Terry Brunner visited the Bar VK Ranch south of Silvery City today to present a certificate of congratulations to Gerald “Billy” Billings Jr, the owner of the Bar VK Ranch and to tour the newest solar power project built in New Mexico funded by USDA RD.
During his visit, Brunner said, “In the last year we’ve seen more businesses access the REAP because the financing helps build competitive and sustainable rural communities by allowing the rural business owner take advantage of using alternative energy as a way to cut costs.” Brunner added, “This investment made by USDA will not only allow the Bar VK Ranch operation save on its electricity bill it will see earnings by harvesting the sun’s energy and making it available on the electric grid.”
The funding was made under the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) which helps farmers, ranchers and small businesses in rural America with loan and grant financial support to install renewable energy systems and to make energy efficiency improvements.
Bar VK received a $15,130 REAP grant to offset the cost of the installation of the $60,522 solar power system. The new solar energy system will allow the ranch to be more energy efficient and more profitable because the power grid-tied system will sell any extra power produced to PNM under the terms of a 12 year agreement.
The solar power array is producing enough electricity to run a submersible pump used to pump water through a system of underground pipelines. The water system then provides drinking water to domestic livestock and numerous species of wildlife at multiple locations. The water system will also be used for the irrigation of trees on the ranch.
The Bar VK Ranch solar power system is one of over 900 projects across the nation that has recently been funded by USDA to help reduce energy costs and develop new sources of renewable energy.
For those rural businesses, ranching and farming operations interested in accessing information on the REAP program visit USDA’s new energy website at: www.usda.gov/energy or call the Rural Development State Office in Albuquerque at 505-761-4952.