MT.AIRY,MD, Mar 20, 2012 -- Sunshine Brings Dual Benefit to Maryland Winery: USDA Renewable Energy Grant, Eco-Friendly Marketing
MT. AIRY, MD, March 20, 2012 – The owners of Berrywine Plantations/Linganore Winecellars in scenic Frederick County, MD, know ample sunshine is essential for producing premium wine. Thanks to a grant from USDA Rural Development, they are finding that the sunshine has other benefits, too.
Jack Tarburton, USDA Rural Development State Director, joined the owners here today to highlight ways the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) helps rural businesses in Maryland and Delaware adopt renewable energy solutions and become more energy efficient.
Berrywine Plantations received REAP funds from USDA Rural Development to offset the costs to buy and install a 5 kW ground mount solar array to power two electric vehicle charging stations for visitors at the winery.
“The addition of these charging stations shows how incredibly creative and effective REAP is as a program,” Tarburton said. “Not only is this project eco-friendly, it also is a good marketing tool for drawing customers to the winery.”
Berrywine’s electric vehicle charging stations are expected to save 6,000 kWh per year while promoting clean energy. Since 2009, thirty projects in Maryland have benefited from $1.3 million in REAP grants to support renewable energy and energy efficiency improvements.
During his visit to the winery, Tarburton also noted that Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today released a report highlighting the ways in which the REAP program contributes to U.S. energy independence and helps rural small businesses and farmers. To coincide with the report’s release, Rural Development state offices across the nation are holding events today to demonstrate how REAP helps reduce energy use and supports the development of renewable energy sources.
Vilsack noted that since President Obama took office three years ago, the REAP program has:
• Supported 5,733 renewable energy and energy efficiency projects nationwide;
• Generated or saved an estimated 6,500 megawatt hours of power;
• Provided $192 million in grants and $165 million in loan guarantees to agricultural producers and rural small business owners for renewable energy systems and energy efficiency improvements; and
• Fostered partnerships that have leveraged an estimated $800 million from other sources.
REAP was authorized under the 2002 Farm Bill and is administered by USDA Rural Development. Since the first REAP awards were made in 2003, the program has helped more than 13,000 rural small businesses and agricultural producers, saved enough energy to power nearly 600,000 American homes for a year, and funded more than1,000 solar projects and more than 560 wind projects.
REAP is Rural Development’s most successful and competitive renewable energy and energy efficiency program. In 2011, grants and loan guarantees funded projects in all 50 States and territories. In Dover, DE, for example, Gambler’s Choice Equestrian Center received a $34,271 REAP grant in 2011 to purchase and install a photovoltaic system. The center’s owners expect the new 28.52 kW solar array will produce enough energy to power the center as well as produce a surplus that will be sold back to Delaware Electric Cooperative.
The REAP program provides grants, loan guarantees, and a combination of grants and loan guarantees to rural small businesses and agricultural producers. While applications for REAP guaranteed loans for renewable energy systems and energy efficiency improvements are being accepted through June 29, 2012, applications for REAP grants and loan/grant combinations must be submitted no later than March 30. Funds may be used to purchase renewable energy systems and to make energy efficiency improvements. REAP also provides grants for feasibility studies for renewable systems, energy audits, and assistance to develop renewable energy.
For additional information on how to apply for REAP funding, see Page 2948 of the January 20 Federal Register, http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/SupportDocuments/MN-RBS-REAP-AuditNOFA.pdf, or contact your USDA Rural Development state office. A list of these offices is available at http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/StateOfficeAddresses.html.
Since taking office, President Obama’s Administration has taken historic steps to improve the lives of rural Americans, put people back to work and build thriving economies in rural communities. From proposing the American Jobs Act to establishing the first-ever White House Rural Council – chaired by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack – the President wants the federal government to be the best possible partner for rural businesses and entrepreneurs and for people who want to live, work and raise their families in rural communities.
USDA, through its Rural Development mission area, administers and manages housing, business and community infrastructure and facility programs through a national network of state and local offices. Rural Development has an active portfolio of more than $165 billion in affordable loans and loan guarantees. These programs are designed to improve the economic stability of rural communities, businesses, residents, farmers and ranchers and improve the quality of life in rural America.
USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer. To file a complaint of discrimination, write: USDA, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, Office of Adjudication, 1400 Independence Ave., SW, Washington, DC 20250-9410 or call (866) 632-9992 (Toll-free Customer Service), (800) 877-8339 (Local or Federal relay), (866) 377-8642 (Relay voice users).