DICKSON, Tenn., Feb 16, 2012 -- Reducing costs and increasing income are cornerstones for any solid business plan. Three small companies in Middle Tennessee are taking steps to do just that while also reducing their carbon footprint and helping the environment.
USDA Rural Development (RD) Business Programs Administrator Judy Canales on Thursday joined State Director Bobby Goode and local recipients to announce federal funding of more than $77,000 for three renewable energy projects in the mid-state.
"These small renewable energy investments add up," said Canales. "In Tennessee USDA REAP grants are already helping 115 small businesses and farmers across the state to generate the equivalent of more than 18.2 million kWh a year in renewable energy and energy efficiency improvements."
For family-run businesses GroWild in Fairview and Adventureworks in Kingston Springs, solar panels are already producing more electricity than they use. The Tennessee Valley Authority pays a premium for green energy generated in this way, resulting in money back to these businesses.
For Dickson Medical Associates, solar panels on the roof of one clinic are making a big dent in their monthly electric bill. The project installer, Sundog Solar, also hired workers and interns from the state's first free-standing solar installer certification and diploma program at the Tennessee Technology Center at Dickson (TTCD) Green Campus.
"Helping rural small businesses take advantage of money-saving, environmentally responsible systems helps them compete," said Goode. "Equally important, these investments help create good jobs in the renewable energy sector and promote the development and use of renewable, American-made energy alternatives."
GroWild received a $46,000 Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) grant to help purchase and install a 25.38kW Solar Photovoltaic System at the wholesale nursery in Fairview. GroWild specializes in plants and trees native to Tennessee. www.growildinc.com.
Participants in the announcement at GroWild included owner Terri Barns; partner Mike Berkley, Fairview Mayor Beverly Totty; project installer, Lightwave Solar Electric representative Grace Robertson; and Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development Energy program representative Katie Southworth.
Adventureworks was awarded an $11,025 REAP grant to purchase and install a 5.88 kW solar photovoltaic system on its 40 acre outdoor facility. Adventureworks is a recreation and corporate team building business located in an old growth forest in a bend of the Harpeth River near Kingston Springs. http://adventureworks.com. Owner Jennifer Halverson said that the use of solar panels at the remote site helps the business grow while minimizing the impact on the environment.
Dickson Medical Associates was awarded a $20,000 REAP grant that made it possible for the practice to purchase and install a 13.3 kW solar photovoltaic system on the roof of one of the group's clinics in Dickson. The healthcare practice provides a variety of medical services for families and workers Dickson County and the surrounding region with more than 200 healthcare staff at multiple locations. www.dicksonmd.com.
Participants in the announcement at Dickson Medical included Doctors Rolland Luplow, Van Mills and Robert Orgain; Rep. Stephen Fincher's local representative Mary Littleton, Dickson Electric representative Helen Petty, TVA Renewable Energy project manager Matthew Brown, Sundog Solar owner Gary Wolf, TTCD Director Mark Powers, TTCD Solar Program Instructor Bryan Johnson and RD State Energy Coordinator Will Dodson, RD Area Director Christopher Westbrook and staff Pamela Crozier.
REAP grants and low interest energy loans are available to most farms and rural businesses for up to 25 percent of the cost of purchasing and installing energy producing systems and for making energy-saving efficiency improvements. More information on the REAP program is at www.rurdev.usda.gov/TN-Energy.html.
USDA Rural Development invests in jobs, infrastructure, education, training, healthcare, first-responders, homeownership and affordable rental housing for families in rural communities. Last year the agency helped businesses, non-profits and homebuyers in 267 Tennessee communities with affordable loans, loan-guarantees and grants totaling more than $737 million. Water, sewer, electric, broadband and telephone infrastructure projects underway will extend or improve services to more than 1.5 million Tennesseans. Loans and loan-guarantees account for more than 92 percent of these investments.
For more information on Rural Development programs contact the Rural Development Area Office in Nashville at 615-783-1359, toll free at 1-800-342-3149 ext. 1359 or visit us online at ㋰§Ⓦ〣" 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.